Roots Workshop 2016 update


Since starting Roots Workshop 8 years ago it has mostly followed the same format: strangers descend on a property to spend a week living and learning together. The days are spent shooting assignments (ie: a day in the life of a lobster man, or a teacher, or a summer theatre, etc) and in the evenings, there are group-style critique sessions to go over the day's haul and offer suggestions for improving when photographing the next day. By week's end, a slideshow of all of the best work is assembled, there's a presentation, a celebratory New England clam bake, and an epic party before we bid one another adieu like summer camp besties.

It's nothing short of extraordinary, but it's always bothered me that perhaps some people aren't as excited about their assignment as others (staff distribute the assignments). Personal projects are all the rage right now, and it felt like tweaking our structure a touch to allow students to seek out their own assignments would be more gratifying for everyone.

Throwback to 1998 when I was a junior at Syracuse University and studied for a semester in London with VII Photo Agency and National Geographic photographer Ed Kashi. If you aren't familiar with his work, my oh my, go here right now. He is the KING of personal projects and a longtime inspiration for his gritty and change-provoking photojournalism. I've always described his work as heart-centered at the core; the way he's able to really see people and places is unsurpassed. He's the perfect person to help lead us at Roots in this transition.

Yes, YES!! You just read that right! ED KASHI IS COMING TO ROOTS!!!

Ed will kick things off for us on the first evening of the workshop, setting the tone for the week's theme of personal projects when we'll descend on nearby Belfast, Maine, to document this working waterfront's downtown for three days. Ed will be on hand for a bit on Monday, too, to assist as students, paired with staff, research and find a photographic story to tell. Group review sessions will happen as usual, as will the festivities on the final evening (possibly with the addition of a pop-up gallery in Belfast with the townspeople who our cameras were trained on all week- this bit is still in the works).

Curious about personal projects but unsure how to begin? Wishing you were more confident approaching strangers to photograph? Want to learn how to photograph from a place of purpose? Would you like to be part of a group effort to tell the story of a town? We're thrilled to show you and would love to have you join us!

May 1-6, 2016 at French's Point in Stockton Springs, Maine. Register here!!!

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