The Foundry Photojournalism workshop, Istanbul 2010
By : Nasser Kalaji
I just came back from attending this workshop, in short, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. ( the combination of this opening statement and the above picture is not the smartest way start a blog entry, when you have a girlfriend that is, unless she is super cool and supportive like mine is ) that was smooth was not it?
Not only did I learn a lot from a techinical point of view, for me, the personal experience was just immense, moments that will stay with me forever , like meeting Hatem Moussa, the Associated Press photographer in Gaza, a man who is largely resposible for most of the images that relats to the tragedies that occur in Gaza, the images that make us Arabs cringe, protest, cry, sad , feel helpless and agnry, a man who puts his own life on the line in order to capture the truth .For me to be present on his first trip out of Gaza in ten years and see first hand , the sort of respect and reverence he is held in the photographers community was truly special.
My instructor at the workshop was the legendary Ron Haviv , I don’t need to spend much time writing about the man’s work, he is, after all ,one of the all time greats , but from a personal point of view , for a man who has achieved so much, to take the time and put in the sort of effort he has, going over our portfolios and offering us advice , direction and know how ,was very humbling and inspirational . I believe that a photographer’s work is largely shaped by his or her personality and character, after spending a week with Ron, I now understand why he has had that sort of success and career . Thank you sir.
The diversity of photographers present at class was yet another amazing dimesnion to the workshop , with students from India, U.S, Bosnia, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt , Indonesia, Spain and Slovenia all offering us a very diverse , rich and different approaches to photography, I would like to thank all my class mates for just being really cool people and for teaching me so much about photography.
You walk away from such experiences with lessons, and the more I work I do in photography, music and film the more I am convicned of what one of my idols and friends B + once taught me, art is about contribution rather than competition.This was ever so evident in this workshop. Being awarded a scholarship to this workshop means so much more to me now .( p.s That kernel of wisdom was gleaned from Horace Tappscott, a Jazz pianist from LA who stopped working for the music Industry and went to work for the community)
I now leave you with some pictures I took during my short stay in Turkey.