While driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I heard the e-mail ping on my phone and glanced at the new inbox message. It displayed the sender and the subject: Eddie Adams Workshop and Congratulations.
Luckily, other vehicles were at least half a mile away from me because I just started screaming and flaring about. The first thing I did was open the e-mail to make sure it wasn’t like “Congratulations on giving it another try, maybe next year!” The second thing I did was call my first photography mentor, Mikayla. After the third try, I left a horribly loud, half coherent voicemail for her, but she called back in the middle of my spastic diatribe and I just blurted it out. There was a pause, a laugh, and then I probably screamed again before actually using full sentences.
This was my 5th application to EAW, and Mik knows how each of those previous rejections impacted me. She attended Barnstorm XVIII in 2005. So, I’m elated to be able to share this with her as well.
A few people have inquired about wanting to see the portfolio I submitted for the application. The process also includes writing a short explanation on why one wants to attend the workshop. I’ve included both below. To my English degree friends, I apologize for the poor sentence structure and lack of polishing. When I wrote this essay, it was a little last minute but also it was exactly what I was feeling and fearing at the end of a significant 2yr period of my life.
I am lost. I always have been. But it was not until the last two years that I came to realize being lost doesn’t entail being alone. And that perhaps lost is truly a perpetual state of exploration.
These epiphanies have come through shared experiences and shared photographs between myself and the nineteen other graduate students in this masters program. There is something about a collective of creative persons uniting in the same place and journeying together to foster creative exchange and growth that is as precious and rare as the perfect photograph. Perspectives may differ, but collaboration cultivates an evolution of thought and skill.
To be a part of this sacred space of visually artistic minds has undoubtedly challenged me, but has also helped me refine my craft and discover my voice, my intention, that drives my narratives through images.
This type of space is similar to the Eddie Adams Workshop. It unites photographic artisans to provide mentorship and stretch photographers’ seeing and their thinking. As of June, I will no longer be in this lost state with nineteen others, and I fear that the lack of this environment will cause my creativity and skill set to become stagnant.
The Eddie Adams Workshop will place me in a community that will challenge my creative eye and push me to become a better visual narrator of others’ stories. I must continue to be vulnerable, to be challenged, to be audacious or else I will fail to become a worthy visual storyteller.