Each year at the Eddie Adams Workshop, students of diverse backgrounds and skill sets descend on Jeffersonville, New York, only to come away with different, yet intense experiences. Here are four alumni of the XXIV Barnstormers.

Heading to the Barn at sunrise. Photo by Andrew Dickinson.

Andrew Dickinson, 20, grew up in Overland Park, Kan., and attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has interned for the Northeast Nebraska News Company, ZUMA Press and traveled to Kazakhstan during the summer of 2010 for a university-funded photo project.

Team Pink
Leader: Michael Williamson
Editor: Tim Rasmussen
Producer, Lisa Krantz
Tech: Bob Houlihan
Story: Jeffersonville Adult Home
Theme: Last Resort

What were your expectations going into EAW?
Most of what I expected going into the workshop was to gain inspiration, make contacts and get a chance to learn from people I wouldn’t otherwise get an opportunity to meet. What I gained from the workshop was far more than those simple three things, though. The combination of the speakers, the 11:30 club critiques, the edits on our shoots, the camaraderie, the atmosphere, the lack of sleep and many more weekend events made for an incredible few days where I learned more than I could have imagined.

What was most difficult about the workshop?
The most difficult part of the workshop for me was the lack of sleep. But even that wasn’t a huge issue – here wasn’t a single dull presentation and the story I worked on was great. After getting an hour of sleep the night before, I still found myself still wanting to stay up until 4 a.m. getting to know the incredible people I was surrounded by all weekend.

What was your favorite experience?
The bonfire was one of the best experiences of the weekend. Being able to step back for a second and see that I was on Eddie’s land, surrounded by 99 other students who all care about photojournalism and professionals who volunteered their time in order for us to learn, was profound to me. I can’t thank everyone who put anything into the workshop enough.

What would you tell to someone applying to the workshop next year?
I would tell a prospective Barnstorm student to think about an edit that shows work that they care about. Forget the standard newspaper portfolio. And, once you get accepted, prepare to have the time of your life.

The Mojica family poses for a group picture with Enrico Fabian.

 

Enrico Fabian, 29, is a freelance photographer in New Delhi, India, but is originally from a small town called Kamenz, near Dresden, in Germany. He has done internships with Reuters and the Hindustan Times in New Delhi, and has put out several books on documentary projects. Enrico won a grant from the Chris Hondros fund at the end of the workshop.

Team: Green
Leader: Kwaku Alston
Editor: Pancho Bernasconi
Producer: Elizabeth Griffin
Theme: Cash is King, which focused on the economic situation of people living in the city of Liberty.

What were your expectations going into EAW?
To be honest I didn’t have many expectations. I think mostly for the reason of not being pre-influenced about the things ahead. I wanted to experience the workshop with an objective, with a free, with a tension-free mind. The only thing that I really expected was to meet some really great people, doing their work because they are driven by something that is within all of us, compassion and responsibility for the small and big problems, we and others face in life. This expectation was fulfilled to the max.

What was most difficult about the workshop?
To leave the farm on the last day and say “See you soon” to everyone whom I shared such honest and intense moments with.

What was your favorite experience?
That’s I guess the hardest of all questions since so many experiences had been very special throughout the last days. But if I would have to name one, it would be the moments I shared with the family I photographed. For me it was very overwhelming not only to see how their life looked like (which I guess is also because it was my first visit to the US at all) but also the level of acceptance and understanding I was given from the first moment onwards. Without knowing me, I was accepted and allowed to photograph their life unfolded in front of my camera without any hesitation or facade. They took me for rides through the town and introduced me to their neighbours; they shared their cigarettes and offered me food. We had short but intense conversations about their and mine everyday life; its constant ups and downs and all the things that go hand with it. Unfortunately these things, even if they sound very normal, have become quite uncommon and even if we humans get closer and closer in the digital world, the real, offline, life is mostly very much different from Facebook friendships.

Moments with the Family were the most special ones throughout the workshop and even throughout my 12 day visit to the states.

What would you tell to someone applying to the workshop next year?
First of all don’t be scared that the workshop could be too “high level” for you or anything like it. Just send in whatever YOU think is important and give it a try. You have nothing to lose and can only win. One way or the other.

Approach the workshop and especially the people with an open heart and without any thought of pressure, competition or challenge. Just soak in everything that comes your way and be the way you are. Do not hesitate talking to anyone you feel like talking to and make the best of the days. The gaining of experience, in terms of a personal development as well as professional development cannot be described in any words us humans, or at least I, know.

Enrico, can you tell us about the experience of winning the grant from the Chris Hondros Fund?

The experience of receiving this grant was one of full of mixed emotions. Seeing Mrs. Piaia (Hondros’ fiance) standing on the stage trying to express what hardly can be put in words was something that moved me deeply and I felt very sorry for her loss. After my name was announced everything became even more surreal for me. Accepting a grant of this magnitude is something I am not used to, neither standing in front of so many people.
Of course, I was very proud to receive this honor, but with the knowledge of why this grant exists, it was not something to take lightly.
Everything happened so fast, that even now I really struggle with recalling any memories from the last minutes of the award ceremony. Even if I didn’t know how much the grant was that had been entrusted to me, I immediately knew what I would utilize it for. I have been looking for a long time for somebody who was willing to support me in an ongoing project about pharmaceutical drug abuse in India. I am very sure that if Mr. Hondros would have seen the story and experienced what I have experienced, he would support my decision to use the grant to pursue this project.

 

'Family' -- Photo by Maddie McGarvey

Maddie McGarvey, 21, is from Columbus, Ohio, and is a senior at Ohio University. This past summer, she completed an internship at The San Francisco Chronicle and is the recipient of the 2011 Luceo Student Project Award for her work on grandparents raising their grandchildren. McGarvey received a gold award for portrait in the 65th College Photographer of the Year contest. She is also President of the National Press Photographer’s Association Ohio University Chapter and is the National Student Representative for the National Press Photographers Association. She was awarded an assignment from AARP at the end of the workshop.

Team: Orange
Leader: Carolyn Cole
Editor: Elizabeth Krist, Nancy Andrews
Producer: Melissa Lyttle
IT: Amanda Lucidon
Theme: Family

Our theme was “family” and Melissa did an amazing job coming up with 10 incredible families for us to photograph over the weekend. My story was about a working, 8 1/2 month pregnant mother working at Dick’s Sporting Goods and a stay-at-home dad looking after their 2 1/2 year old. It was a little challenging to shoot at times because I followed around the mother at work for 4 1/2 hours and only had a couple of hours with the dad and daughter but it all came together in the end. All of the stories were amazing though, ranging from a lesbian couple trying to gain the right to adopt their two children that they’ve been fostering for years, to a mother and her children living out of a motel. My entire team bonded really well and hung out together the entire weekend.

What were your expectations going into EAW?
I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into EAW. I had heard about how amazing it was from so many different people but it’s incredible to experience it first hand. You’re surrounded by the absolute best in the industry and they are all there to help you. There was such a feeling of camaraderie the entire weekend. The first night we were told to stand up and hug our neighbors and tell them we love them, no matter who they were or if you didn’t even know them.  It was that kind of support that kept us going through the weekend.

What was most difficult about the workshop?
The most difficult part about the workshop was running on about 2 hours of sleep a night. When they say you don’t get any sleep, they mean it. You have 22-hour days, starting with breakfast, speakers, shooting, editing, more speakers, dinner, speakers, portfolio reviews and then sleep if you’re lucky. But it’s so worth it. Just load up on caffeine and don’t make the mistake I did by pulling a couple of all-nighters before coming. Be VERY well rested before you come to the workshop.

What was your favorite experience?
It’s hard to pick only one favorite experience. Being inspired by amazing speakers, being pushed by your team leaders and meeting so many of your other talented peers was my favorite. You leave the Eddie Adams Workshop as part of a family.

What would you tell to someone applying to the workshop next year?
I would tell you to include pictures in your portfolio that you like and that highlight what kind of work you want to be shooting in the long run. I think this is different than applying for an internship where they want to see X amount of sports and spot news. This is your chance to show pictures that matter to you and that you want to be shooting. The judges will be able to see what you’re passionate about. Good luck, be real and if you’re accepted be prepared for a mind-blowing weekend.

Students get feedback on their portfolios late into the night at the 11:30 club. Photo by Kent Nishimura.

Kent Nishimura, 26, is from Honolulu, Hawaii and is a student at the University of Hawaii. He has done freelance and internship work with Ka Leo O Hawaii, Getty Images, The Honolulu Advertiser, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, and Agence France-Presse.

Team: Lilac
Leader: Stacy Pearsall
Editor: Jamie Wellford
Tech: Allison Lucas
Theme: Talent

Living in the middle of the Pacific doesn’t afford me the opportunity to attend a lot of workshops regularly, but when I had found out that I had indeed been accepted to Barnstorm XXIV, the Eddie Adams workshop, I immediately booked my plane tickets. While I can’t compare Barnstorm to other photo workshops like the Missouri or Mountain Workshops, it’s been perhaps the most unique, amazing experience of my life so far.
Many friends told me that Barnstorm this magical workshop where they met amazing people and lasting friendships were forged, but as I found out this past weekend, that was just the tip of the ice berg.  My good friend Cory Lum was the first to introduce me to the idea of applying to the workshop.  He’s an 1993 alumni of the workshop, from the blue team with Chris Hondros, Alex Garcia, and Ami Vitale.  One day over beers, he suggested I apply for the workshop. “It’s an amazing experience. It’ll blow your mind” he said.
After two years of getting rejection letters, I finally got it.  I received word during lunch with my girlfriend via a text message from my friend Patrick Fallon.
“You got in to Eddie Adams!” he wrote.
In the middle of the crowded restaurant, I jumped up from my seat and started cheering at the top of my lungs; people stopped eating and awkwardly stared at me, but I didn’t care.
For those of you who don’t know who Eddie Adams is, or what the Barnstorm Workshop is, Eddie Adams (1933-2004) was a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist who covered 13 wars and was recognized with over 500 awards during his lifetime. He founded the Workshop along with his wife Alyssa, who still allows students into her home and continues the tradition of Eddie’s vision.  Every year, the workshop selects 50 students, and 50 just starting-out professionals for an intensive four day workshop in Jeffersonville, NY.
Fast forward to October 7, 2011.  From across the world, 100 students from all walks of photography — photojournalism, portraiture, sports photography, commercial studio work, and more — descended upon Jeffersonville, NY for the workshop.  On the ride up to the Catskills, we talked about what type of photography each of us pursued, and where we were from.  We shared out expectations of the workshop, and whom we hoped to get a chance to meet.  But nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing could have prepared me for the walk up the hill; being cheered on by hundreds of faculty, staff, and volunteers — all of whose goal was giving each and every student the experience of a lifetime.  Each day after the first was better and better.
In what seemed like an extremely short four days, we were able to listen and learn about the the latest work and ideas coming out of Sports Illustrated from Jimmy Colton and Steve Fine; soon after we were listening to Eugene Richards speak about his experiences during work on long term projects, Doug Menuez speak about photographing Steve Jobs, post-Apple in the mid 80s and listening to Bill Eppridge tell his story about his time following Robert F. Kennedy on the campaign trail.
My favorite speech, was from Red Team Leader and New York Times Staff Photographer Todd Heisler.  Todd spoke mainly about two bodies of work, first was his famous Pulitzer-Prize winning essay, “Final Salute” from his time at the Rocky Mountain News, he spent a year documenting the work of Major Steve Beck and the Marine Honor Guard who handle family notifications and the funerals of Marines killed during the Iraq War.  The second was a project that the New York Times conducted in 2009 called “One in 8 Million” where Todd and other staff from the Times profiled 54 New Yorkers every week for a little over year.  The series won a News and Documentary Emmy Award in 2010.  Todd spoke about the impact the projects had upon him, and how they shaped the way he grew as a photographer.
Probably the most difficult thing about the workshop was that there were so many things to do and experience, but just not enough time in the day for what we were trying to accomplish. Aside from the speakers, for a good majority of the weekend students worked on completing a documentary essay structured around their teams theme.  It was a good opportunity for students to work on deadline, and with extremely skilled editors.
It was normal for students to finish for the day and get back to the hotel around 2 o’clock in the morning, only having to wake up four hours later.
“You will sleep when you are dead, or at the end of this workshop.” said Stacy Pearsall, my team leader during our first team meeting at Eddie’s farm.
We all laughed nervously because deep down, we all knew she was right.
My team, the Lilac Team, had the theme of “Talent” – between the Ten of us, we each photographed a person in the town of Sullivan and did our best to find and tell a story about who they are and what their talents are.  Each story was thoroughly researched by our team’s producer, New York based Leah Latella.
I got to spend my time photographing Ramona Jan of Damascus, Pennsylvania who lived along the Delaware river.  Ramona owns a store called “Vintage Bling” and aside from selling vintage clothes and jewelry, she made lamps from recycled antiques and ceramic doll heads.
I spent a nice chunk of my first shooting day getting Ramona accustomed to me being there, I wanted her to eventually think of me as just another item in her studio where she made her lamps.  A fly on the wall if you will.  Being a fly on the wall would allow her to open up and not act any certain type of way, allowing me to capture who she really is.  It was very cool being able to watch the physical manifestation of her creative process at work while she assembled, disassembled and re-assembled the lamp she was working on, only to disassemble it again.
After shooting, editing, and listening to speakers, students were able to get their work reviewed by editors and photographers from many different newspapers, magazines, and agencies at the 1130 club.  I got to meet and show my work to Patrick Witty of TIME, Sandy Ciric, Pierce Wright, Michael Heiman and Mario Tama of Getty Images, and Diana Suryakusuma of Bloomberg Business week to name a few.
Todd Heisler, Jimmy Colton, Leah Latella, Jamie Wellford and my teammates gave me the support I needed throughout the weekend, and really put a lot of things into perspective for me.  Where my work needed improvement, and helped me realize that I don’t need to move from Hawaii to pursue stories…just yet.  But, beyond my work, and what i needed to do to improve, I realized that I had become a part of something bigger than all of us, I made friendships and connections with people from across the world — all of whom I am proud to know, and call them ohana (Hawaiian for family.)