Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Workshops with Documentary Photographer Maggie Steber

Photograph by Maggie Steber, Haiti
By Al Diaz
When Maggie was Director of Photography at The Miami Herald for several years she motivated the staff and elevated the quality of our work and respect in the newsroom.

Maggie whipped us into shape and raised a few eyebrows when she brought a riding crop into the office and prodded us. “Get out there little dogies and make some great pictures and we’ll get ‘em in the paper!”

Under her tenure the staff won numerous international, national and state awards including the newsrooms Pulitzer Prize for the plight of Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez. Pulitzer finalists twice, with local photo stories by Nuri Vallbona and Candace Barbot for their photographs of Liberty City, a neighborhood crippled by drugs and violence, which detail the community’s effort to reclaim the area. Lure of the Burbs by J. Albert Diaz for his diverse images portraying American life in the sprawl of south Florida's Broward County. World Press award for Raul Rubiera’s photograph’s of Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as they search a bus passing through territory they control.

An outstanding documentary photographer and leader, Maggie Steber is also a great teacher and motivator. Here are two opportunities to attend her workshops.

• FORM AND CONTENT: Visual storytelling for the new photographic landscape. 
Maggie Steber and Jeff Jacobson are joining together to offer a unique photo workshop in Miami, Florida, March  25-31, 2012.  Steber, a contributing photographer to National Geographic, and formerly Director of Photography of the Miami Herald, is a master of the narrative in photography.  Jacobson, author of three monographs and contributor to magazines around the world, is known for his idiosyncratic and formally beautiful documentary photographs.  Together they will offer students an intensive immersion in making graphically powerful photographs and applying them to a serious narrative.  The workshop is limited to 10 students.

In his Where Do You Stand workshops, Jacobson asks two questions of students:  where do you stand and when do you press the shutter?  How photographers answer these questions determines the formal structure of their photographs.   Do you stand close or far away, raise the camera to your eye or shoot from the hip, stand up or sink to your knees?  How do you know when to move, where to move to, and how to move so as not to disturb the scene you are photographing?  This issue of movement is one of the most important and under-examined questions photographers face.  Jacobson also discusses with students emotional, economic and political questions about where they stand in relation to photography in their lives.  In Steber’s workshops, Maggie helps students formulate and execute cohesive stories told through photographs. She looks for visual and storytelling themes and ideas in the work of the student during the workshop. She helps them shape the story they want to tell to avoid the obvious, and she teaches how to focus on an idea, edit it and sequence the narrative to produce something fresh and unique.

We will explore various issues pertaining to each student through
daily shooting assignments.  Each workshop day will begin in the morning with editing of the previous day’s shooting. Each student will edit their own work. Maggie and Jeff will then re-edit the pictures to determine what they
are overlooking or missing, along with discussion of the work.  They will help students see ideas emerging from their photographs that they may not have anticipated. Every participant will one on one sessions with Maggie or Jeff. The last day of the workshop will be devoted to putting together the entire week’s work and extensive discussions about any issues that have come up during the week for each student.

WORKSHOP FEE:  $1500….50% deposit required at registration.

Here is a video to fellow instructor Jeff Jacobson.

Maggie will also be joining Ami Vitale and Andrea Bruce for an epic journey into the Himalayas  with of the world's top photojournalists. The workshop in India is limited to 30 participants.
• Traveling Lens Master Class - Ladakh, 2012