Category Archives: Portraits

Reflections: Barnstorm XXVII

It’s been nearly two weeks since my time in the Catskills of New York, where I spent four days surrounded by close friends and people who would quickly become “family”. Getting into the Eddie Adams Workshop is not something easily attainable and making it through the grueling gauntlet of long days, lack of sleep, and late night portfolio critiques is even harder. You see, if you are unaware, the intensive photojournalism workshop only invites 100 students and early professionals to the Adams’ farm each year. It is a privilege that only around 2700 photojournalists around the world have had the opportunity to be a part of. This October, it celebrated 27 years.

This year was it for me. It was my last try. If I didn’t get in, I would have to accept that and move on with my career. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, and I am all the more grateful for those editors and photographers who took a look at my work before I hit the “submit” button on the application form.

Students began piling off of the bus onto the hallowed ground, walking the same steps of many that had come before them. It takes a minute to settle in. The colors of fall in rural New York, the golden light coming from the top of the hill as the sun begins its descent, the cheers of staff and faculty of the workshop, and the look on the faces of other the other students. We had made it, it was time to storm the barn. That sounds silly, but it all is kind of magical.

I’m not going to go into the details of the entire weekend, but I want to take a moment to reflect on some things that I learned while there and will never forget:

“Uncle” Jimmy Colton saying “You belong here. You deserve to be here.” In a profession where it is easy to think that you’re only as valuable as the work you put out, it was nice to hear that we deserved to be here because we were worth the investment of the faculty, staff, and sponsors. Granted, he did follow this up by saying “You’re not entitled by being here”.

Hearing photojournalism greats, John White and James Nachtwey, among others, speak was inspiring. John White’s quotes of “Have an affair with life”, “Be ambassadors of love”, and “Faith, Focus, Flight”, still ring through my mind and I dwell on those everyday. You don’t get a better first night line up than White and Nachtwey.

John White- “I Love to Love.”

– “Be willing to fail amazingly!” The quote really says it all. Take chances. Be willing to try something and fail at it. If it works, awesome. If not, oh well, you tried. In this business, you have to be willing to be different and fail astonishingly from time to time.

Never give up. Never give in. Be willing to give your time, love, and care to those around you. This was some personal enlightenment for the week.

Focus is not the absence of distractions, but it is the ability to push past them. Another personal enlightenment from the week. The workshop will always fall on a “bad” weekend for someone. If you are that person, work through it. Use the stress to push you to another level. It won’t be easy, but you can do it.

Always be willing to grow. Do not EVER resist the need to be better than you are or imagined you could be. Personally speaking, I couldn’t imagine how much I would grow from this weekend. Constantly being inspired and encouraged by some of the leaders in this industry will make you better than you could ever imagine. Listen to the advice and suggestions.

Take criticism as a grain of salt, although a very potent grain. Everyone there wants to help, but everyone will have a different opinion on your work. This is an incredible opportunity to hear from photographers in an unbelievably wide range of sectors of our profession. Listen to those who you look up to and those who you could never imagine you’d work with or for.

Don’t like your assignment or wish you had another? Get over it. The team producers scour the area looking for people who are willing to let you into their lives for two straight days and sometimes, you don’t always get the assignment that you “wanted”. These people put aside the awkwardness and fear of letting some young photographer into their bubble and they put their guard down. If I was honest, covering high school football was one of the last things I wanted to do because I do it all the time. BUT (and this is huge), knowing that I had the freedom not to cover one play of the game, meant that I could be different, innovative, and attempt to fail. I was incredibly surprised by my assignment and at the end of the workshop, I really believed I had one of the best ones because of my subject’s willingness to open up. THANKS MIKE!!!

My subject, Mike, and myself on the second day of me photographing him.

Never forget those who have come before you. At some point in the workshop, you will realize the cost of this job. For some, that cost is that you lose time with your friends and family. For others, it is even heavier. Take part of the weekend to reflect on the photographers who gave it all. There is a memorial on the farm’s property. My suggestion? Go and just stand in between the pines. Silently stop for a moment and let that hit you.

Get to know those who are on your team and who are not. You have the great opportunity to meet photographers from around the world. Get to know them, enjoy the company and the time with people who are like-minded. You may be on a team full people with documentary photography backgrounds, awesome. Now go hang out with the sports team. Be willing to be diverse.

HAVE FUN! This is a 4 day workshop designed to push you to  your limits and in some instances, break you. At the end of the weekend, if you did it right, you won’t wish you slept or rested more. Enjoy the time at the farm- Lay in the grass. Take a short nap by the pond. Talk about things that your passionate about with someone you’ve never met, or someone who barely speaks the same language. Go and be a part of the 11:30 club and especially the 6:00(am) club on the last night. Trust me, it will be well worth it.

My conclusion? Want to be a better photojournalist? Apply. Want to get your work in front of some of the most influential photo editors from around the country? Apply. Want to get to know a bunch of photographers? Apply. But most Importantly, if you want to be a better person, to learn what it really means to be passionate about something, and lovingly document people who are willing to let you into their personal lives. APPLY.

The Eddie Adams Workshop was one of the best experiences of my life. I am glad that I didn’t get in several years ago when I first applied because I wasn’t ready to handle the situations that arose prior, during, and after the actual workshop experience. I walk away from that time changed for good. I can only hope that I extend the dream of Eddie Adams, who the workshop was named after. I can only hope to continue the legacy of other great photojournalists who have come before me. I can’t say how appreciative I am of my editor (Brad), team leader (Al) , producer (Robert), techie (Stacy), the Black Team, the Adams family, and all the editors and photographers that had an impact on me during that weekend in the Catskills. To the Orange Team, remember, “Teamwork makes the team work (Twerk)”.

Photo by: Brandon Magnus

Also, to each and every member of the Eddie Adams Workshop XXVII, YOU ARE FAMILY. I love you.

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Week’s Work: September 8-13

It was a week of the portrait at the Gwinnett Daily Post. Especially sport portraits. Between 4 “sportraits”, setting up for the Gwinnett County Fair, football, and a concert, it was a productive week. Here’s a look back at some of my published work in the last seven days.

 

Norcross volleyball player, Sammie Baker, stands in for a portrait at Norcross High School on Tuesday. Although her siblings thrived in athletic careers at Greater Atlanta Christian, Baker decided to blaze her own trail through the public school system and has been dominating on the court. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

 

Lanier High School running back, Tario Fuller, stands in for a portrait on Tuesday at Lanier High School in Buford. Fuller, the team’s top running back, recently committed to the Purdue University football program. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Josh Imatorbhebhe (7) and his older brother Daniel (15) stand for a portrait at North Gwinnett High School in Sugar Hill on Thursday. The Imatorbhebhe brothers do everything together, on and off the field. This year, each is on target for impressive individual seasons for the Bulldogs. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Ride Supervisor Ronnie Douberly is handed a metal support for the “Ring of Fire” ride while setting up for the Gwinnett County Fair at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrencville on Wednesday. This year’s fair gates open at 5 p.m. on Thursday and the fair will be open for 11 days, ending on September 21. There are three new thrill rides opening to the public including “Zero Gravity”, “Space Roller”, and “Disko!”. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Parkview Panthers Trey Derouen (78) attempts to pump up the Panthers prior to entering the field for Friday’s high school football game against the Brookwood Broncos at Parkview High School in Lilburn on Friday. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Mason Davis, right, lines up to run against Evan Brown, right, during a delay in Friday’s high school football game between the Brookwood Broncos and Parkview Panthers at Parkview High School in Lilburn on Friday. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Country artists, Big and Rich, put on a free concert on Saturday at the Buford Community Park Lawn in Buford. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) runs up the field during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Pride Band takes plays their halftime show during Saturday’s college football game between the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Georgia Tech YellowJackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Justin Thomas (5) is sacked by Georgia Southern Eagles defensive end Lennie Richardson (54) during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Southern Eagles safety Matt Dobson (7) breaks up a pass intended for Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Deon Hill (31) during Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Jamal Golden (4) upends Georgia Southern Eagles wide receiver Zach Walker (9) during Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Southern Eagles running back Alfred Ramsby (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Tech YellowJackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Deon Hill (31) scores the go-ahead touchdown during Saturday’s college football game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Southern Eagles offensive linesman Trevor McBurnett (76) reacts after the Eagles lost to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on a late touchdown pass to put the Yellow Jackets ahead four points in Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

 

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back John Marvin (13) celebrates with fans after the Yellow Jackets defeated the Georgia Southern Eagles on a late touchdown pass in Saturday’s college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Staff Photo: David Welker)

Engagement: Ryan + Lynnsey

I can’t explain how excited I am to be able to post these photos. I have known Ryan and Lynnsey since my Sophomore year in college and I had the pleasure of seeing them date for the past few years. When they asked me if I would be willing to photograph their engagement photos, I couldn’t refuse. We traveled down to Eureka Springs, Arkansas yesterday and shot around town. Having only been to Eureka Springs once or twice in the past 10 years, we had to take a quick tour of the area for me to get my bearings and some ideas for some photos. Luckily, all of the trees were in their full color change providing some really great backdrops for photos. I am really glad that Ryan and Lynnsey asked me to photograph their engagement photos and I look forward to having the opportunity to see them spend the rest of their lives together.

Senior Session: Anna P.

I have known Anna for several years now and it has been awesome to get to know her and her brother throughout the years. She is one of those people that you love to be around. She has such an awesome personality. It was a beautiful day in Springfield and we made our way to a local park to create some photos for Anna’s senior photos. A huge thanks goes out to Anna and her mom for being troopers during today’s session. Below is just a small selection of the photos from the day.

Ozark Wrestling Portrait

One of my main goals for 2013 was to shoot more portraits. It is one of those areas that I find can be incredibly difficult to create a rapport with the subject quickly and get the photo you had been hoping for the few days prior to the shoot. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to achieve, and because I was a wrestler myself, I found it fairly easy to connect with John. We did two main portraits. One on the mat, and one off to show contemplation. Overall, I was pretty happy with the portraits and John was a super nice guy to let me joke around with him and bother him during practice.

 

Portrait of Ozark’s John Oss at Ozark High School on February 12, 2013 in Ozark, Missouri. Oss is 47-0 this season. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

Portrait of Ozark’s John Oss at Ozark High School on February 12, 2013 in Ozark, Missouri. Oss is 47-0 this season. (David Welker/For the News-Leader).

 

Senior Session: Andrew C.

While I am mostly known for being a sports photographer, every now and again I get asked to photograph portrait sessions for clients of all ages. In this case, Andrew is a student that I have known for several years, and it has been awesome to get to know him. When his parents asked if I would photograph his senior photos, I just couldn’t resist. Here are just a few photos from the session.

Todd Akin Portraits

Missouri House Representative and Senator candidate, Todd Akin, made a quick stop in Springfield for a small rally. I had heard about the rally earlier in the day and decided to go photograph the event. I do not usually photograph this type of event without being on an assignment, but I have been wanting to improve how I work through events like this. When I got there, I was able to make portraits for 5 minutes or so with the Congressman. Here are a few of the results.