Roots student portfolio: Earl Christie


A month before Roots Workshop, I sent an email to all the students asking one simple question: Why did you sign up for this workshop?

Boston wedding photographer Earl Christie's reply?
I need my ass kicked in regards to my photography. I feel that I'm not finding the shots the environment is presenting me, and I need to sharpen my thought process and hone my eye.

Like most of the workshop students, Earl is an already-established wedding photographer with a loyal clientele and solid portfolio. He enthusiastically signed on for this self-pushing process and learned a lot about his shooting style and his people skills, too. Earl was assigned to the Cape Cod Baseball League, easily one of the favorite assignments of the week. Unfortunately, it was also the only assignment arranged that had the potential to be canceled should it rain. See where this is headed?

So when the afternoon skies opened up on Tuesday and the scheduled evening ball game was postponed, I worked quickly to line up another assignment for Earl. Cool and calm, he actually returned to the fair which the group had attended together earlier in the week to focus on the demolition derby. Uncharacteristic of the typical Cape Cod prep reputation permeating the island, this event was raw- and muddy! On the first day of shooting he recalls being a bit stand-offish and feeling a little out of place. Day two? He went early to hang with the drivers, asked questions (genuine curiosity = earned trust!) and was in there with his hat backwards shooting close.

Post-workshop verdict?
For me, the best part of the the Roots Workshop was getting repeated one-on-one feedback, critique and support from experienced photographers whose work I greatly admire. In other workshops I've had the ability to get feedback on my existing work, but Roots was unique in that it gave me the chance to implement my mentor's and team leader's suggestions while shooting the next day, and get immediate feedback both in the field and when I returned.

Also, I really got the sense that the Roots mentors, team leaders, and staff felt tremendously invested in the student's growth. It almost seemed that they were conspiring to give each student the specific experience and tools they'd need to go out and shoot more compelling stories in their wedding work.

And Earl's opinion of the workshop house?
The workshop site couldn't be better. It felt like going to summer camp. The main house and outlying buildings all had classic Cape Cod character, and nearly every room breathed a warm nostalgia for the generations of summertime enjoyment it had witnessed.

I couldn't say it better myself. Thanks, Earl! It was so great spending time with you, and watching you SOAR!

Earl's slideshow, with music courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Roots Workshop: Earl Christie at the Barnstable County Fair from emilie sommer on Vimeo.

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