The I Will Make You Suffer Workshop portraits, including yours truly.
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta believe.
They say it’s windows or mirrors. You’re taking pictures to explore the world, or you’re taking them to figure yourself out. Maybe, a little of both. But whatever it might be, the one thing that’s certain is nothing beats heart. Nothing beats committing your mind, body, and soul to a path and letting it course through your veins.
When I created this workshop, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was the wedding photography workshop that wasn’t about wedding photography. Sure, weddings gave me context in the discussions. It was a common bond. It was out there. But it was a lot more about photography. I’ve always felt we are photographers first, and photographers of weddings second. Or to put it another way, we are all communicators, no matter what the reason, what the subject. And if I could just find a way to make it about photography as communication, the rest would work itself out. If you can make your pictures talk, I figure, you can chart your own course. What can’t you handle?
At its core, this was really about the people. Because each participant was staring down three and a half long days of hard shooting, intense reviews, and excessive pizza. There had to be a light at the end of the tunnel. As Becca said, it was as billed. I said I would make everyone suffer. Everyone suffered. But, damn, did they do it in style. When I look back, I don’t think there was another way. Not in that time frame. Not for what we had to do. I needed everyone to go somewhere they hadn’t been. I needed everyone to walk away with more than just pictures, more than technique. It needed to be about change, growth, and ideas. It needed not to be about the industry and not about me, but about each person there. It was about uncovering our roles in the theater of our own lives.
The process was dead simple. Each person had to find and pursue a project that was purely their own. They got up early. They went to sleep late. We met day and night for reviews. We talked throughout. And every second in between people shot. Nothing was handed down. Everything produced was original work. Everyone came from a different place with their own way of seeing. Some were new to it all. Some had been well around the block. I figured if I could gather the right people, push and prod just enough to keep everyone in free fall, and create the right connections, it would crystallize. I think it did.
I am proud. I am proud for creating this space for growth. I am proud of each person for being who they were, doing what they did, and giving themselves to one another. Each meeting, the dynamic evolved. Each day, the shooting changed. I’m tempted to say it was like jazz. That it all came together in the moment. But in my mind, it was really more like magic.
As frequent readers of Ground Glass might know, my mind is sometimes restless. My thermostat tends to hover just south of satisfied. I always think there’s room for better. Especially for myself and from myself. But on that final day after I went home, as I was lying in bed drifting to sleep, I couldn’t stop thinking about the week. The inspiration everyone gave me. The growth I saw. The heart each person displayed. I hope each person found their window or mirror. I know I’m better for having spent the time with each one of them. On that night, I slept in peace with a grin on my face and a smile in my heart.
Thank you to Amber, Becca, Beth, Casey, Gary, Iqral, Leslie, and Pete for taking this journey and for giving me something I’ll never forget.
THE IWMYS WORKSHOP RESULTS:
IWMYS Cycle 2 will be held on October 22-25. Application details coming soon. Or, if you really want in, get in touch at email@example.com, and I’ll give you the details.