Boot camp. Hell week. These are phrases that come to mind when talking about the Foundation Workshop. Ya know, deprive you of sleep and nourishment, and break you down to your very core in order to build you back up again… the right way.
The slogan for FW4 was to think differently and see differently.
It was a super intense week of shooting, editing and learning what works and what doesn’t. Thick skin is definitely a requirement as the team leaders took their job of critiquing very seriously. The quality and amount of information that I walked away with is invaluable.
My assignment was to document the daily lives of a family with young children. I spent two days with Chuck, Jen, Samantha (3) and Ben (1). They were the most gracious family, and were happy to volunteer and open up their home to a complete stranger. This wasn’t about pretty portraits, or people sitting still and smiling for the camera, this was about real lives.
The first day I shot as I would normally shoot… using flash, different lenses, worrying about the technical aspects of my images, etc. When I returned to my “editor” (Huy), I was not surprised to hear that he wasn’t impressed. This workshop was not about technically perfect images, it was about art, composition and moments. The second day I truly challenged myself to think differently. I left my flash at the hotel, and only used one camera and one lens the entire day. I didn’t worry about the lighting, if it was dark, I just increased the ISO and moved on. I focused completely on the art of the image, and managed to shut off the side of my brain that had previously been so hung up on technicalities. I felt an amazing sense of freedom.
The results were unbelievable. When I was saying good-bye to my family on the second day, I had an amazing sense of accomplishment. I wasn’t sure yet what my editor would think, but I felt that I had truly changed my approach to photography. I was told by a few of my colleagues that the difference between my day one and day two images were like night and day. Mission accomplished, my editor was pleased as well.
Video of my family: day two.
In addition to everything mentioned above, I met a ton of fabulous people. It is the coolest thing to hang out with photographers that you really respect and admire. I also made lots of new friends and learned some cool tricks; I miss you guys already!!
I don’t think this is the end of me talking about FW4, I always have a lot to say…