This is the first Q&A in a series looking back at the experiences of Alumni of the Eddie Adams Workshop, a gathering of 100 students held annually in Jeffersonville, NY. Applications are due May 27, 2011.

Tim Rasmussen was part of first Eddie Adams Workshop in 1988 and has since been a long time supporter of the workshop as part of the volunteer Black Team and faculty. He is now The Denver Post Assistant Managing Editor of Photography.

Visual Student: What did you do to prepare your portfolio before you were accepted?
Tim Rasmussen: I didn’t – I was putting it together on the plane. Slides in slide sheets, I really had no idea what I was doing…

Rick Hunter, left, and Tim Rasmussen raising the first Black Team flag in 1993. Photo Courtesy Tim Rasmussen

Rick Hunter, left, and Tim Rasmussen raising the first Black Team flag in 1993. Photo courtesy Tim Rasmussen

 

 

VS: What were you thinking when you first arrived at the workshop?
TR: It was a lot different, the Barn was not finished, there was no history, so you really did not know what to expect. But there was this amazing feeling that you were part of something special. Eddie always had a plan, and his was to make each student feel as if they were one of the best young photographers in the country, and that was a great feeling.

VS: When you were a student, what was the biggest lesson you learned about photography?
TR: That there was a photojournalism community out there much bigger than I ever knew existed. At the workshop David Alan Harvey said to me that “We are a family (photography) and you are now a member of it.

VS: About yourself?
TR:That I was more driven than I knew, and others saw potential in me, and I took their support to heart.

VS: Many alumni feel the experience is about more than just pictures – but being a part of a very unique family. What has that been like for you?
TR: It was life and career changing, in the sense that the workshop weekend has defined my career ever since tuesday morning after the workshop. Things have never been the same for me. I went back to Utah and started making plans to leave and head East, which I did.

VS: What is it like to be one of the teachers now?
TR: I love working on a team and seeing which students get it and which ones don’t… Things have changed immensely in our business, some for good – the Nikon D3s, and some bad: students not learning and mastering the art and craft of photography. They can make images but often don’t know how or why they do.

Tim Rasmussen talks with an Eddie Adams Workshop participant during the 11:30 club, a nightly portfolio critique session that often runs late into the morning with insight and discussion about student's work and goals as a photographer. Photo courtesy Tim Rasmussen.

Tim Rasmussen talks with an Eddie Adams Workshop participant Chris Langer during the 11:30 club, a nightly portfolio critique session that often runs late into the morning with insight and discussion about student's work and goals as a photographer. Photo courtesy Tim Rasmussen.

 

 

VS: Do you still learn something from the students?

TR: Yep, I always love the passion and enthusiasm that student bring as well as seeing their pictures.

VS: Why do you volunteer your time to make the trip?
TR: I want to feel once a year like I did the day I walked up the driveway.

VS: Have you been involved with portfolio selections over the years? What do you think the judges are looking for in the work that makes one body of work stand out over another?
TR: One Thing: Great Pictures. Thats not a cop out thats the way it is. Once a young woman got in with a portfolio of 20 flower pictures, but they were great flower pictures…

VS: What makes a portfolio edit really work together – the flow of the images? Visual style? Content? All of it? It seems that each year their is a wide variety of photographers with different experiences and areas of expertise, it not just for news photographers or portrait photographers.
TR: Remember that the jury is made up from every type of photojournalism, sports, news, features, entertainment, documentary and so on. So again your best pictures, if that means 8 pictures from a single story then 8 great pictures works. Do not think you have to be varied and show lots of different work, just show your best work, work that comes from your heart. Not picture that you think they will want to see, because there is no way for you to guess what the jury will want to see.

VS: Any advice for someone who has been accepted? Things to remember? Do? Avoid?
TR: Open Mind, open heart. Come to have fun and learn.

TR: One thing, do not think about what Eddie’s can do for you (contacts, awards etc.) Come to grow and learn and all that other shit takes care of itself.

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The application deadline for Barnstorm XXIV is May 27, 2011. The application can be found at http://www.eddieadamsworkshop.com/

“The Eddie Adams Workshop is an intense four-day gathering of the top photography professionals, along with 100 carefully selected students. The photography workshop is tuition-free, and the 100 students are chosen based on the merit of their portfolios.”