workshop show and fiesta

from a work in progress photo essay being shot this week by Carolyn Beller titled Sweltering Summer

from a photo essay being shot this week on the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters. Photographed by Tracie Williams

from a photo essay being shot this week by Milli Apelgren titled Bedford Avenue

275 Responses to “workshop show and fiesta”

  • lovely lovely night. thank you DAH for the open hearted kindnesses of welcoming everyone in to see the work produced over the past week and for the chance to make new friends and see old ones. I have to say that the mi casa es su casa thing has taken on a new depth of meaning as the years have passed and now when I walk into a fiesta it is a bit like ‘old home week’ – okay, no nostalgia! looking forward to next week’s wonders and please do let me know when (if) you still want me to present work so I can arrange my schedule.

    I met frostfrog!

  • and I scribbled in the dark, so I’ll write it up when I can.

  • JARED IORIO’s 2 , two Prints arrived from beautiful Hermosa and Venice beach CA

    Hermosa print:(tease)

  • A big week, big party full of photographers, umm, didn’t anyone make any photographs?…waiting

    meanwhile I’m home nursing my poor sick wife (food poisoning)

  • jared iorio Venice print:

    thank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (going to gallery, start hanging today, to be ready for end of next week /Kibbutz workshop grand finale and Texas exhibition grande premiere!!!!

  • Damnit! I missed Erica? My apologies… big crowd! (unless I DID meet you and can’t remember! Haha In which case even BIGGER apology!)

  • Gordon – get her some deactivated charcoal pills – they work wonders. Miracles really.

    Michael, I was thinking the same! I need a visual of you. Photo anywhere?

  • activated that is…

  • Haha… OK, that probably wasn’t what you meant. Try this:

    A little clearer.

  • So this whole thing didn’t disintegrate from a Dioynisian photographic bacchanal to a wild drunken orgy that only ended when the cops raided the place and sent everyone to the slammer for the evening to sleep it off? That’s a bit of a disappointment, isn’t it? I thought you people were Democrats.

  • One other thought:

    I found it interesting that Bruce Gilden at the end questioned the point of photography workshops which I found amusing since he was presenting work at a colleague’s workshop. But, it is true that at the end of the day one does need to go off and do long-term projects on one’s own. The only issue is that most photographers are not at the Magnum level innately and so doing a workshop or two can help along the way to get you or keep you on course. Some young photographers even shell out $70,000 for a two year MFA. What you are paying for with a graduate degree is not just weekly critique sessions but a passport to the NYC art world, gallery representation and connections. The simple fact is that not everyone can be a Bruce Gilden or Christopher Anderson. Sometimes the ironclad shell of the photo world can be tough to crack on one’s own. I have always heard great things about Harvey’s workshops.

  • Thankyou Davin! Guuureat photos!

  • Better Bacchus than Bachmann ….

  • Gordon… click on my name for more pics.

  • Michael – no pic of you comes up for me w those links… nice loft shots though on the other link :)

  • thanks michael,
    I’m starting to feel like I was there, in spirit anyway.

  • Regarding Bruce Gilden questioning the purpose of workshops it would be interesting to learn from him what he thinks they can be good for, since, if I’m not completely wrong, he teaches them too? Would be disappointing to hear it’s not just a money making job.. but since I was not there and have only read dellicson’s comment perhaps I don’t understand what Mr. Gilden meant with it.

    Seems obvious that a workshop will not make you a Magnum photographer, nor that it should, nor that the students want this.. but it seems also obvious, that a high level workshop (like the one we’re talking about) can give you the needed push to go forward, forward on the path of whatever your reason is for being a photographer..

    I don’t know how hard it is to knack the shell.. frankly I think if you have IT, and if you work hard, day after day, there’s not much knacking needed, doors will open.. but you gotta have a point of view, and, as said so many times by DAH, you gotta have something to say.

  • Argh.. take that ‘not’ out.. would ne disappointing if it WAS just a money making job..


    i am behind in all comments, but i did see recent ones by each of you referring to Gilden critique of workshops…

    just to set the record totally straight, Gilden, firing from the hip as usual, criticized people who take “too many workshops”… not workshops straight up…as you point out , Bruce teaches workshops himself…i did a Magnum workshop with him in Toronto earlier this year…i think there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the right catalyst at the right time just might spark a photographer into great action..i have seen it many many times..i have also seen some take a workshop and it did no good whatsoever…it is of course silly to criticize any kind of education program in and of itself just because some get something out of it and some do not…

    Bruce’s point was i am sure , and i would agree with him totally, is that photographers just need to go to work…the digital age has brought so so many new ideas, incredible ways of working, and allowed for unprecedented distribution of new works on the internet for example, and yet has also brought us dozens of photographers uneducated in the techniques of basic photography, no knowledge of the history, etc etc and yet somehow, oddly, presume themselves to be “ready” to publish a book or take a magazine assignment..

    those of us who teach, always scratch our heads on that one…but honestly , it is not anybody’s fault..many come into photography these days sort of “sideways”…new camera out of the box, works just fine right away, pics clear , sharp and properly exposed, and then straight to a flickr group or something and bypassing totally any basic camera knowledge or sense of who has done what and who is doing what and well just a basic education…so mentors and teachers today must just deal with this…while my primary goal is to get photographers thinking about authorship , i must also now realize that along with getting them on to the right project, i must also give them the right reading they may know something of the world they are in, so they may best prepare themselves to be in it…

    for Bruce this is frustrating…for me too, yet i have learned how to deal with it and understand that it is not just a whole generation of “lazy photographers” as some elders may suspect, but just a byproduct of how young people get into photography in the first is no longer a straight line of knowledge as in years past where anyone who wanted to be a photographer had no choice but to learn the basics of tech and history from the ground up so to speak.. ..

    the downside of education from Bruce’ perspective is now dozens or hundreds of photographers who somehow are looking for “shortcuts to success” and a workshop cannot be a “shortcut” matter how good the workshop , it does not absolve one from just simply doing it…which is of course my main “lesson”

    Bruce sees, and we all see, some photographers who feel that if they rub up against enough mojo, that they too will automatically “have it” and of course we all know this to not be the case…

    workshops , at their best, should be simply a key or touchstone…nothing more than this…and nothing less than this either…

    and on this point, wouldn’t it be way wiser to talk or listen to someone who actually took the class? or, see the work actually produced?

    focusing on a Gilden fire a volley for effect comment may not be the best way to pass judgement….

    cheers, david

  • Eva…

    CONFORT ZONES, it’s probably down to working to a very, very tough brief, if one was back at home one would probably find a good excuse to put the camera down and try our usual images. I bet the workshop participants suffered just as much as they enjoyed the whole experience. The homework probably forces one to be exposed and of course go further than one would usually and that opens your eyes and shows where your real strength and talent stands. So once a workshop is finished, if one doesn’t keep on in the same tough and extremely selective process and you relax and return to your old usual rhythm and happy comfort zone the workshop will be utterly useless.
    Maybe this was what Gilden was trying to point out…

  • David.. Paul..

    I didn’t question the value of workshops, it only struck me as kinda weird that someone who teaches them would make such a statement.. good to hear how it was meant, and agree with the statement put in this context.. always dangerous to just take one sentence without the whole bit..

    Paul.. yes.. but there to me comes a difference between a photographer beibg serious about her/himself or just wanting to be called photographer.. if you’re serious, as in all profesdions, you gotta be critical eith what you do and how you do it.. for the world there is no change if you just sit and dwell, the only change of working at oneself is YOURSELF!

    David, quite frankly, I don’t know how and where you even find the time and energy to be here right now!

  • Workshop lead to a loss of innocence

  • Imants.. or can give you back the pure joy of expressing yourself.. depends on who leads the workshop, crucial I think..

  • A workshop may bring about a loss in the romanticism which draws many to the world of photography. So yes maybe a loss of innocence. But I also agree with Eva the joy of expression and seeing once again the world like children.

  • I’m also convinced you don’t realize how much you’ve learnt in one of these workshops till way after it’s finished. Maybe six months later your subconscious and the concious side of your brain go click and AHA!!

  • EVA…

    well, again, the “such a statement” was not properly reported..what was written that Bruce said is not exactly what Bruce pretty hard to have a discussion on an erroneous comment..we are all saying “what Bruce probably meant”…again what he actually said was only about “taking too many workshops”…referring to students who jump from one to another to another to another hoping that this will somehow make them better..

    i have today off…so i will have no problem gearing up for meeting a new group tomorrow evening….teaching back to back classes is the best way to save my energy and to capitalize on me in the right frame of mind…i am in intense teaching mind only on this…


    loss of innocence could lead to a workshop

    cheers, david

  • Sorry I’m a bit late to the after party. The show and the party were both excellent and David was a wonderful ringmaster and host. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to get a spot where I would actually be able to see Chris Andersen’s slideshow, and I was melting, so I missed much of that and almost all of Guilden’s. I’d seen much of what Chris showed before, but it seemed that he showed a lot more of his new family work so I was sorry to miss that. He gives a wonderful presentation. I just caught the end of Guilden’s show. By that time the crowd had thinned a bit (or maybe they had become puddles) and I could see the screen and got some idea of what I had missed. Unfortunate, but not the end of the world. I had a few interesting conversations in the hall and on the roof where a fantastic rain was just beginning. And I wouldn’t say no matter, but not so much since much of their work is available elsewhere and it was the student work I was most interested in seeing. I always marvel at the quality of work David manages to get out of them. Yes, I know, they are good going in or they wouldn’t get by the portfolio review, but having witnessed a few days of a workshop last year, I see that they take it to another level during that week.

    They were all good, but there were a couple I really enjoyed. Frostfrog’s was like one of his roundabout comments or blog entries, only told in photographs with a voiceover, both funny and somehow meaningful at the same time. The last was a positive story about African American fathers who are there for their children. It was powerful stuff that entirely changed the mood of the room and ended in an emotional round of hugs between David and the other participants, something which I’m told had never happened before. That’s a bit surprising because I think the workshops participants always form a bond amongst themselves and that kind of acknowledgment of the bond and release seems perfectly natural. I hate to pick out just two, but those did standout. The others I liked in the way I like walking around photos. It’s always interesting to see what people come up with when they go walking around New York, much more so when they are guided by David.

    I enjoyed the party very much as well. I’ve been to several of these things now and there is something like a family vibe with the burnians, some of whom I’ve met before, others meeting for the first time. It was great to chat with Bill and Michael Kircher and Preston and Kerri and Ruckus and others and David and I met lots of new people as well, many who were just there either for the famous photographers or just for the party. That’s the nature of these things.

    Maybe it was because of the rain, but I was only in a half social mood and spent much of the time sitting up on the roof in the rain looking at the shiny lights to the west. It was a glorious feeling. The rain was perfect. Not cold, not hard, falling straight down. Altogether a sensation I love but don’t get to experience too often, especially not in that kind of head space. And occasionally strangers would come and join me under my umbrella for little chats. It was a very nice evening all around.

    I missed Guilden’s quip about workshops, but can understand how, as David amplifies, that one could take too many and for the wrong reasons. But from what I’ve seen, I don’t see how just about anyone couldn’t get great benefit from one of David’s. Being subjected to the great expectations of a top professional and excellent teacher and then having him give you the tools to succeed is a rare gift. And then all that goes with it — the city, the loft scene, the camaraderie, the special visitors, the party — what’s not to love? Of course (to paraphrase Roy Scheider in All that Jazz), it probably won’t make you a great photographer, it may not even make you a good photographer, but it will definitely make you a better photographer. A workshop can give us some fine tools, but to make fine stuff, one will always have to work with them.

  • Sorry Erica. I just checked. Apparently you need to be on “instagram” or “Inkstagram” to see them. Kind of dumb, really. Oh well.

    The first I linked to was David’s twitter instagram photo of me hanging off the roof (you can see it in his twitter feed above.)

    Here’s the second, on the roof of the Kibbutz, by Kurt Lengfield.

    Now, how about you?

  • MW, Frostfrog, Kurt and young Sarah, Michelle and Kerry (Carey? Kari? apologies)…

    Very cool meeting all of you. Sorry I missed Erica and Davin and any other Burnians. Next time perhaps? Maybe in OBX? Shall we crash David’s place someday? ;^}

    Also, Zun, Andy and Edite… very nice work and good meeting you! Ruckus was very cool. And I chatted with a number of others who’s names escape me but were also quite groovy! As Panos would say, Big hug to you all!


  • Oh yeah… Peter! Forget your last name. Way cool!

  • “I’m also convinced you don’t realize how much you’ve learnt in one of these workshops till way after it’s finished. Maybe six months later your subconscious and the concious side of your brain go click and AHA!!”

    Paul… very true.

  • David,

    again, Thank You for a great time!
    Cool to be a part of it once again, meet new faces, and see ‘old’ friends!

  • Hahaha, I also met ‘the man from Alaska’… thanks to my girlfriend who ‘recognized’ frostfrog ;)
    …sorry I missed Michael and MW (didn’t know the faces…)

    …and Davin, how the hell did we miss each other?!?

  • Michael – nice photo of you – no, didn’t see you. I was in a black dress, boots, brown hair…me, more or less:

  • “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”
    Jimmy Dugan, A League of their own.

    I suppose that’s true about a lot of things, from baseball to photography to doing your own income taxes.

  • Workshops: never taken one. When I was starting out a good one (by say a Magnum level photog) probably would have done me a lot of good, but I could barely afford film as it was. So I just found my thing and did it. Now, of course I could afford any workshop I want but kind of don’t see the point – for myself that is.

    I think there’s a few different tiers of workshops going on – DAH and his ilk, and then there’s the affluent gear fondlers type. A bit like the difference between a week being pampered at a spa resort and a week getting your butt kicked with ayahuasca in a remote yurt! :) I think your choice helps define your path in life – do you want the easy route that is really only a surface fix or do you want to do the down and dirty (and sometimes scary) inner work.

  • DAH..

    gotcha.. wrong premise for any discussion.. pointless really.. glad you set it straight!

  • Never took a guitar workshop or needed it thanks to my mother and her manic depressions…
    Home from school quickly lock myself in my room, must hide away from her she is in her usual aggressive bad mood. Pull out a Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Queen, SRV, Satriani, Malmsteen, etc LP and transcribe and transcribe a whole song until it was “mine” note for note, took me weeks but at the age of 8 or 9 time usually was on my side. Then I would spend another hour playing an entire Lep Zep, Deep Purple or any other group on my guitar with the stereo system at full belt…
    month after month, year after year…
    You don’t go to lessons you end up giving lessons

  • Michael Kircher…
    Thanks for your kind words, I just wish I could always summon the inspiration to write in that style! But I struggle terribly to write just a single comment, no doubt this is because I spend most of my day speaking in Spanish. What seems to save me a little is I’m an avid reader and I only read in English so that seems to keep my vocabulary in check :)
    I must admit an online thesaurus did wonders the other night :)!!

  • I believe David has it right in regard to Gilden’s intended, if not accurately said – or reported – words. Gilden stated most clearly on Day One at the Toronto workshop, taking more than one workshop is pretty much useless. He was most adamant that we not bother to take any more, and equally steadfast that he wouldn’t be too impressed had we come from another. It wasn’t a case of ego, it was just that a workshop is meant to point out weaknesses and hone areas in which to improve. That’s it. It does help in making better photographs, not necessarily incredible photographs.

    That leads into David’s other point: Hard work is the only way to improve one’s work, and this is something Gilden constantly hit me over the head with during our workshop. If any of you think fantastic photographs can be made one after another, and that this is the hallmark of the best of photographers, you have another think coming. I’m sure this will be evident once the Magnum Contact Sheet book becomes available later this year. The truth is Gilden’s “success” rate may be 1.5% whereas the rest of us may hit 1%. It is not that the better photographers take better photographs, it is that they have achieved a certain way of editing, and judging perhaps in a more objective manner, their work.

    Which leads to another benefit of these workshops, which as Paul has accurately surmised, is something that didn’t become evident to many of my fellow workshop students at the time, but seems to have percolated into their work in the interim. Much, if not most of our class time was spent dissecting photographs taken the day before. This was of course led with surgical precision by Gilden, with all of us adding our own thoughts. Gradually, over the week, it became evident that this excercise and its outcome, was the primary goal of a workshop, be it Gilden’s, or David’s, or any serious workshop around. For me, it was the enhancing of the critical eye, with the hope and expectation for a higher perception of objectivity to one’s own work. On the final day of the workshop, Gilden spent some of the class time tearing apart the weaknesses of his own work, as well as the imperfections of his favourite photographs, taken by his favourite photographers. That he was always dissatisfied with certain elements of form and composition was very inspirational, and worthy of consideration.

    Finally, I will confirm David’s insistence on the need for the understanding of the history of photography in particular, and the need to understand art history in general. Gilden had a very deep and broad understanding of both, and was to some extent quite modest about it. There is always something to learn on that score in a workshop, but it would really pay anyone considering taking one to do their homework in that area, and come prepared.

  • Elmore Leonard’s 10 tricks for good writing:

    1. Never open a book with weather.
    2. Avoid prologues.
    3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
    4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
    5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
    6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
    7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
    8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
    9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
    10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
    My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.

    If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

    * Excerpted from the New York Times article, “Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle”

    Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Rules to good writing:

    1.Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
    2.Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
    3.Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
    4.Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
    5.Start as close to the end as possible.
    6.Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
    7.Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
    8.Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

    The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that

    Apply as many of these rules to photography as you can. Enjoy the rest of your day.

  • Oh, well, while I’m here.


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