Roots Workshop student work


I have uploaded all of the students' final edits to the portfolios of the Roots Workshop website here.
And please check out the amazing slideshows of work by each student from the workshop below. I am so impressed with each and every one of them! Sit back, and turn your volume up (the YouTube quality isn't the best, but it will give you a good taste!)! Each video starts with a portrait of the photographer (either taken by another workshop student or a self-portrait) and ends with the newspaper mock-up of their finished story.

I have to brag about my sweet J first. J was assigned to photograph the Race Point Lighthouse, accessible only by a 3-mile ATV road. The original lighthouse keeper's house is available to rent for summer vacationers (an assignment I actually covered with the original lighthouse keeper's great-grandchildren when I was an intern at the Cape Cod Times 10 years ago!). J spent many long hours covering the goings-on at this house, even staying over one of the evening's so that he could properly capture both sunset and sunrise. I was speechless when his images were shown during the Thursday night presentation, and without notice, I had huge tears dropping down my cheeks. So proud of you, J! These images are gorgeous!

Stephen Bobb from the DC area is an associate photographer for Love Life Images (and the second shooter to Jennifer Domenick at my dear friend Erica's wedding two years ago!), was assigned to photograph a traditional Cape Cod lobsterman Ben Bergquist. Despite rough seas and stinky smells, he produced a beautiful story of Ben and his brother in this family business. You can read more of his personal account here.

Stunning and equally sweet Shyla Dalirifar was assigned to photograph one of the oldest golf links in America. She wowed the group when she was able to find a killer sub-story of an adorable little boy who plays golf there every day and is heralded as the next Tiger Woods, beating all of the adult men he is paired with. Read more of Shyla's personal account here.

Another DC photographer, Evan Bishop, and his feature of a very talented artistic Cape Cod family. I got an SOS phone call from Evan on the first day at 10a, saying that nothing was going on. When students first arrived on Sunday night, they were asked to share their perceived strengths and weaknesses. Evan shared that he is not patient and has trouble interacting intimately with people. Bingo. This was the perfect assignment for Evan, and just took a little time for him to get comfortable with waiting for the moment.

I met Neysa Ruhl two years ago when she was a student at the Foundation Workshop in Texas and I was a mentor. She has one of the most infectiously positive personalities. Neysa was assigned to cover the infamous Cape Cod Baseball League and an up-and-coming player everyone is watching from Notre Dame. Unfortunately, that player is a relief pitcher and it was uncertain whether he would play! Thanks to Neysa's sticktuitiveness she came up with a Plan B (photographed a bit of the shortstop, too) and stayed until the end of each game. Eventually, he played on the last night! Thank you for adding such a great spirit to the week, Neysa! Read Neys'a personal account here.

Even a broken arm did not stop Georgia's Ty Miller from making the overnight drive to Cape Cod for the workshop and producing a great picture story of a funky pottery shop in Cape Cod owned and operated by four sisters. If you're ever visiting the Cape, Scargo Pottery is a must-see! I met Ty in Las Vegas at WPPI last year after accidentally pouring red wine on his white shirt when someone bumped me at a very crowded party. Still feel badly about that, Ty!

Linda Crayton is a very hard worker and one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She worked every angle possible at the landmark Four Seas ice cream shop in Cape Cod, starting her day photographing the 5a ice cream making, and ending with the long lines of customers at sunset. Congratulations, Linda!

One student came all the way from Canada to attend Roots! Scott McQuarrie was originally assigned to cover a notorious drag queen club/inn complex in Provincetown, but on the last day made the decision to follow one of our mentors, Tyler Wirken, instead. Thanks so much for making the huge effort to come to Cape Cod, Scott! It was a pleasure getting to know you better and I am so proud of your growth! Read Scott's account on his blog here.

Meredith Purdue is a very brave woman! Just months after graduating from college in North Carolina, a few weeks after moving to Maine, and days after buying a 5D, Meredith jumped head-first into the deep end at Roots. She was assigned to cover a traditional YMCA summer camp and, initially, decided to cover her story from the angle of the camp dog. Proving a challenge to chase this active pup at dog's eye level, Meredith then followed a group of small girls instead, and witnessed a water rescue (which provided a little legal drama lesson for us all!). Meredith will be working with emilie inc.- something I will be properly announcing soon!

Dan Williams was another student who traveled a great distance to join us- from Arizona! A former health club owner, Dan has now embraced photography and has a growing business in Tucson. "Underwhelmed" by his first assignment (covering a sea life rehab non-profit which, fortunately and unfortunately, only had a few sea turtles to tend to), spent most of his time with a youth academy boot camp run by the sheriff's department. With a background in the military, this was the perfect assignment for Dan and he certainly excelled.

Mellissa DeMille met instructor Greg Gibson at a photo convention last January and signed up for Roots immediately because she wanted to learn more! In addition to being a great cook, singer songwriter and all-around social person, Mellissa dug deep with her challenging assignment to cover the daily life of noted author Anne D. LeClaire. In the process of such an intimate assignment, Mellissa learned a lot about herself and how to approach people that I know she will be able to use in her new wedding photography business.

The first person to sign up for the workshop was Samantha DePoy Warren, but she actually didn't even know it! Her parents and husband Kyle sent Sam as a surprise Christmas gift! Sam is a local Maine wedding photographer and very dear friend. I've known Sam for what seems like an eternity but is truly only a year or so, and started as J and I consulted her with business advice. It's been an awesome process watching I Do Click, now Samantha Warren Weddings, take off! When Sam received her assignment to photograph the Monomoy Theatre and was disappointed, my heart broke. Personally, it was one of my favorite assignments and I knew would be challenging for Sam given the low light situations. Sam pushed through and produced a fantastic peek into this busy actors community.

James Bass and I had been corresponding for a long time over email, so I was excited to finally meet him in person at the workshop. I've told him this already, but if we were to hand out superlatives for everyone from the workshop, James Bass would receive kindest heart. What a great guy! James was completely open to the experience and might also get the award for most improved. He was assigned to photograph the Cape Cod AmeriCorps group as they picked up trash, cleaned waterways and cleared brush. It wasn't a pretty assignment, and by the second day James was down in the dirt alongside them. And never once did I hear him complain. Read his personal account here.

As you can imagine, it took months of preparation to research all of these assignments. I had one assignment that was very different than the others and was not sure how it would go over with the other instructors. We huddled together on Sunday night to determine if it was something we should actually assign, or perhaps ask for a volunteer. We decided with the latter and approached Eric Laurits to see if he might be interested in documenting a nudist camp. The hitch? He would have to participate. Eric agreed, and produced a beautifully respectable, peaceful account of the camp owners' daily life. Bravo for pushing yourself, Eric, and going beyond the norm to challenge how you see things. I knew, of anyone, you would be the perfect photographer to do this assignment justice and you definitely did not disappoint (and thanks to team leader Arn for paying Eric a mentor visit on site!). Read Eric's entertaining and thoughtful personal account here.


  1. Very impressive. I watched every slide show. I know pretty much nothing about photography but I found this amazing-you certainly had a hard working, talented group on the Cape. It is fun to see what in the world you were all doing till the early morning hours! Way to go everyone-your hard work shines through!

  2. Anonymous9:32 PM

    We could not have done it without you (and your love slave) and definitely not without all of the great mentors and team leaders.

    Thanks Em!!!!

    You can expect a big hug the next time we meet.


  3. Emilie!!!
    You are SO awesome!! I was so excited to see these up when I came to your blog today!

    I had so much fun. I'm kind of going through Roots withdrawal. I miss you guys already.

    Thank you thank you thank you for all of the kind words.
    Miss you.

  4. Emilie, you deserve a tremendous amount of credit for putting on such a well run workshop. There is no doubt in my mind that without your foresight, and tenacity our growth as students wouldn't have been nearly as significant. Our assignments were fantastic, thanks for all your hard work.

    Thanks to the mentors and team leaders as well, your insight and professionalism will stick with me for the rest of my career.

    thanks to everyone, I am hoping this isn't the last time our paths cross.


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