Why You Should Go to the Eddie Adams Workshop – by Keith Bedford

Keith BedfordKeith Bedford is a freelance photojournalist based in New York City. A native of Baltimore, MD, who as a regular contributor to Reuters and the New York Times has been published in Time, Newsweek, MSNBC, Stern and Paris Match among others. He spent nearly two years following the campaign of Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. Presidential election and co-founded The Stumping Grounds, a photo blog dedicated to documenting that election. After which he spent two years covering India and South East Asia, and another year and a half covering China.  Having returned to New York, he is now facing the challenge of talking about himself in the third person and covering a place called home.
Barnstorm XXI

Participants of Barnstorm XXI.

Why should you go to the Eddie Adams Workshop? Twelve years ago I made a decision that was probably one of my best. I blew off an angry editor, packed my gear, and hopped a bus to spend a sleepless week with the people who would become my second family. That was the first of eight years that I spent at the Eddie Adams workshop. First as a student and then seven more as a producer. After a four year hiatus living in India and China, I’ve decided to go back to the place that is my second home. Below are some of my reasons why I am and why I think any one eligible should too.

Eddie Adams Workshop

Denny Culbert arrives with all students in 2008.

In my time there I have had the pleasure to meet and befriend some of my heroes. They are some of the most talented and giving photographers in the world and they are all at your disposal. When half the faculty had the words “Pulitzer Prize Winning photographer” before their name it doesn’t take a genius to realize that these folks might have something to teach you. In past years the faculty and speakers has included Bill Frakes, John Moore, Mary F. Calvert, Ron Haviv, Joe McNally, Joe Rosenthal, Platon, Howard Shatz, Carolyn Cole, Al Bello, Bill Eppridge, and Michael Williamson just to name a few.

Eddie Adams Workshop

Teams gather on the lawn of the farm.

Combined these people have been witness to some of the greatest milestones in history from the Vietnam War, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the death of Bobby Kennedy, to the impeachment of Nixon, to the invasion of Iraq (both times), to the last 20 years of Olympics, to the election of Barack Obama. These are just some of the people that have been given their time to the Workshop.

It’s summer camp for photographers and these are your camp counselors. For this week they are your history books and they are more than willing to share their knowledge with you.

Eddie Adams Workshop

Team producer Keith Bedford

You are never going to meet this many editors at one time in one place. Every year some of the best photo editors from the world come to this workshop to see new talent. Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Washington Post. Yeah. They are all here. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Again, you will never see this many editors in one place at the same time. Jimmy Colton, Michelle McNally, Tim Rasmussen, Jamie Welflord, Mary Ann Golan, Pancho Bernasconi, Brad Smith, and David Griffin are just some of the editors that want to see your book. If you don’t know who I am talking about look them up before you come and plan accordingly. They want to see your best work. Bring your A game or it will be bloody.

Eddie Adams Workshop

Black Team members pose on the roof of the barn.

At heart we are all just a bunch of nerds. Charming, creative, intelligent, witty, and talented, but nerds nonetheless. If any photographer tells you he is not into his gear he is lying. Nikon cameras, Profoto lights, Manfrotto tripods, and Pocket Wizards are all there for you to play with. By play with I mean make photos right then and there. Want to mount a camera onto a hang glider with a 6 millimeter lens? Bam!! Done! Need a 400 Millimeter? Team Nikon will give you one. Done! Want to light a barn? Hell, how about an entire football field? Cliff Hausner with Profoto will help make your dreams come true. Never use any of this stuff? The good folks at these companies will help you learn it and even be your personal assistant. They are all there for you. They want you to succeed.

Eddie Adams Workshop

Student Gray Hamner on an assignment using gear provided by Nikon and Profoto.

I always say that I work with a community of the like minded. This workshop is base on that principal. No one is getting paid to be here. The tuition is free. They just want to pass on what they know. They want our community to grow. They want to help make photographers better story tellers, better journalists, and often better people. I have made some of my best friends at this workshop. I went as a student and came back year after year because someone believed in me. Someone pointed the way for me to turn a corner when I was lost. They can do the same for you. These people are part of the community that has edited my stories and made them better, given me help, advise, a tip, a ride, dinner, drinks, a good book, a place to crash, money for poker, a lens when mine was broken, a recommendation when they couldn’t shoot something, an assignment when they thought I was right for it, an editor’s phone number who may really like my work, a reason to smile, and introduced me to my wife. They are your new best friends who have opened the door and set a place at the table for you.

Eddie Adams Workshop

August Adams places his father's signature black hat on a memorial Eddie had built for his fallen photography friends who died in Vietnam.

If you’re eligible, apply. Go on. What are you waiting for? Do you need a better invitation than that? Registration for Barnstorm 25 is open until May 25, and registration is online at http://www.eddieadamsworkshop.com/apply

Orange Team 2004

Orange Team 2004

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