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Looking for a hands-on workshop that will connect you with the roots of landscape photography? Join award-winning photographer Craig Varjabedian as he takes you to the California Coast, the place where landscape photography as we know it was born.

Pfeiffer-Beach Pt-Lobos-Sunset-copy Pfeiffer-Waterfall

This is not just any workshop. You’ll explore and make photographs along the California Coast from Monterey to Big Sur, where Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock, Morley Baer and many other important photographers made their homes, honed their craft, and created their most significant work.

In addition to making photographs, you will visit with the families of Edward Weston and Wynn Bullock to learn more about their photography. These are the artists and places that inspired Craig most when he was just starting out, and he will take you to where Morely Baer and other esteemed photographers took him.

For Craig, spending time with these artists at these beautiful locations was a turning point for him. It’s where photography began to make sense. The light came on. He hopes that by recreating some of the most significant experiences he had early on in his career, it will influence your work and improve your image-making abilities.

This workshop takes place October 4-9, 2015. For more information or to request an invitation to this one-of-a kind photography workshop visit

Craig’s bio:

Craig Varjabedian’s photographs of the American West illuminate his profound connection with the region and its people. His finely detailed images shine with an authenticity that reveals the inseparable ties between identity, place, and the act of perceiving. Visit Craig’s website to see more of his work and learn more about his workshops.

Ron Haviv is an award-winning photojournalist that has produced images of conflict and humanitarian crises that have made headlines from around the world since the end of the Cold War. Haviv is also the co-founder of the photo agency VII which is dedicated to documenting conflict, both violent and non-violent, to produce an unflinching record of the injustices created and experienced by people caught up in the events they describe.

Ron is teaching a workshop about what it takes to work as a photojournalist. It will take place from June 17-23 at the Maine Media Workshops. You can register here.


Photo courtesy of Ron Haviv

Melissa Dubasik: Would you tell us about your upcoming workshop?

Ron Haviv: The workshop is an intense 5 day course designed to help develop a personal style of photography. By combining a shooting assignment, class edits and one on one time, the photographer’s vision will rise to the next level. In addition we will discuss the business of photography – how to get to places and how to get your work published and seen among many other things.

MD: Why and/or how you have come to focus on documentary work?

RH: To be able to tell stories with images whether it’s in your own back yard or across the ocean is an amazing way to spend your life. Understanding the work that photographers do can have an affect on the world is something that keeps one motivated to working every day.

MD: Is this workshop geared more towards being creative or improving one’s technical skills? Or both?

RH: The workshop emphasizes the visual voice above all else but having the technical skills is something that everyone needs.

MD: What differentiates this workshop from others?

RH: This workshop is designed to get the photographer to the next level by learning from my experiences in the field.


Photo courtesy of Ron Haviv

MD: I’d love to get a little background on why you host workshops and what you hope others will get out of them?

RH: I’ve always seen the world of photojournalists as always being concerned with the next generation. You see it in the field all the time with the more experienced people helping the newer ones. This workshop is in the same spirit but benefits from being together in an intense environment where we are all focused on becoming better.

MD: What are some of the unexpected benefits one might get from attending this workshop?

RH: Many people thinking about being or starting out as a photojournalist feel it’s an impossible task. We will demystify the world and show a path that will allow you to make photography a part of your life.

MD: What are the most important things for the attendees to realize when they participate in a workshop, to help them get the most out of the experience?

RH: To come open and ready to learn. All else will follow.

MD: Was attending workshops instrumental to help you become the photographer that you are now? If so, how did they do that?

RH: I never took a workshop and had I taken one like this a lot of wasted time and mistakes that I’ve made would have been avoided.


Photo courtesy of Ron Haviv

Photographer and writer Jay Goodrich’s work focuses on architecture, nature and adventure. In addition to writing and creating imagery he leads workshops and photo tours. Those who attend the workshop come away with a better understanding of photography and mastery of images, and they have a greater appreciation for the locations and peoples they have visited. His upcoming workshop takes place in Hilo, Hawaii November 5-12. Jay tells us about his workshops and his experience teaching them as well as attending them.


Melissa Dubasik: I’d love to get a little background on why you host workshops and what you hope others will get out of them?

Jay Goodrich: Teaching workshops just grew out of my love for photography. I wanted to share my experiences, my passion for this creative medium with others. In addition to that I think what is most important about my workshops is the communal experience. Everyone who is there is completely into photography and learning about photography, so it becomes not only a learning experience for the participants, but for myself as well.

I truly hope that all the people who attend walk away with a better knowledge about how to create a stronger image. I am somewhat of a gear head, but I really want people to understand that you only need your iPhone to be a creative photographer. Idea, concept, and composition first, how you record it to show the rest of the world is secondary. I do teach a lot of equipment and software based techniques as well because the era of the digital capture has opened up the boundaries…actually removed them completely.

MD: Is this workshop geared more towards being creative or improving one’s technical skills? Or both?

JG: I would say more emphasis on creating, but there is a lot of technology that gets talked about. I even teach software specific workshops on programs like Lightroom.

MD: What are some of the unexpected benefits one might get from attending one of your workshops?

JG: Traveling to amazing destinations and at times getting access to special places and locations. In our up-coming Hawaii trip, I have a friend who owns property there and he suggested that we stop by to photograph the stars over the lake of lava in his back yard one evening. I also try to focus on including luxury accommodations when possible. One of our previous trips to the Altiplano of Chile had us staying at an all inclusive five star spa. I try to give my clients a little something extra whenever I can. Even if it’s just a ride to the airport or a private critique of what they created after the workshop. I want to build relationships with my clients and I get really excited to watch them progress as photographers during the course of a workshop.


MD: What are the most important things for the attendees to realize when they participate in a workshop, to help them get the most of of the experience?

JG: I think they really need to understand, that it isn’t amazing everyday. There are days when sunrises don’t materialize. Weather changes. Miscommunications happen. Cars break down. People have gear troubles. We do our best to help everyone and fix all of the issues, but sometimes, it will just rain for a week straight. We will make the best out of it though. This leads to: they should also come with an open mind. Be open to a new experience and new people because everyone has a different perspective to offer.

MD: What differentiates this workshop from others?

JG: With this Hawaii workshop we are taking a little bit of a different approach. We are showing participants how we look for everything and anything while traveling. How our eyes are focused on multiple disciplines, multiple subjects, and ever changing light. This allows us to create a large portfolio of images, which in turn gives us a stronger market base, better coverage for a location, and makes us better photographers overall. If I just focused on photographing birds, I think I would have given up on photography a long time ago. It is the experience of what resides around the bend that keeps me going day in and day out. Focus on a great composition and it doesn’t matter what your subject is, you will walk away with a great image.


MD: Was attending workshops instrumental to help you become the photographer that you are now? If so, how did they do that?

JG: I have only attended two workshops in my life. One was taught by John Shaw about selling your work and the other was taught by my really close friend Art Wolfe. One sent me off in the professional direction and the other sent me off in the creative direction. Although, as I have grown my business over the years, I have been lucky to work with some of the top level pros in the industry and this has helped me realize what works and what doesn’t along the lines of instructing. I also have a wife who is a teacher, so she beats the knowledge of two masters degrees in education into me on a regular basis.

This has made me focus on smaller group sizes and on more client one-on-one time in the field. Typically, I never teach more than six individuals by myself and never more than ten when there are two of us. I also want to spend less time lecturing to participants and more time in the field showing them what works and what doesn’t work.

As sponsors of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop for the third year, liveBooks recently got an update about the lineup of instructors for this year’s workshop happening from June 20-26 in Istanbul, Turkey.

We have to admit, it’s an impressive list: Maggie Steber, Ron Haviv, Andrea Bruce, Stephanie Sinclair, Ami Vitale, Guy Calaf, Kate Brooks, Tyler Hicks, Kael Alford, Adriana Zehbruaskas, Jared Moossy, David Guttendfelder, Rena Effendi, Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Jon Vidar, David Bathgate, Tewfic el Sawy, Henrik Kastenskov/Bombay Flying Club.

You can read all about the Foundry Workshop in our interview with founder Eric Beecroft from last year’s edition in India (year one was in Mexico). The workshop began in 2008 as a more affordable workshop option that international and emerging photographers could afford.

With such a prestigious list of instructors this year, we thought it would be good to hear from a few of them about the Foundry experience and their advice for workshops in general.

Miki Johnson: What is your favorite thing about being involved in the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop? Do you have a favorite moment from past years?

Ron Haviv: Watching the growth of the students in such a short period of time. The realization from many that this is a great way to spend your life. Seeing that moment on students’ faces is inspirational to me.

Ami Vitale: The collaboration and working with fine photographers and fun people. It’s always a great experience and I’m always inspired by my students and colleagues. Last time I left feeling  full of inspiration and ideas. Watching students grow in the short span of the workshop is incredible.

Tewic el Sawy: My favorite take-home sentiment from participating in the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop is the mutual camaraderie and unfettered sharing of knowledge, information, and support between instructors and students/attendees. As for my favorite moment: during the final screening of the students work at the Manali workshop, learning that Dhiraj Singh (one of my class attendees) had deservedly won the top photography spot/prize of the workshop.

MJ: What is the most important things for students to realize when they participate in a workshop, to help them get the most out of the experience?

Ron: To open their minds to the knowledge that all the photographers, both students and teachers alike, are sharing with them.

Ami: To have fun and not to be too hard on themselves. I think some people come into this and put so much pressure on themselves to succeed.  This should be an environment of exploration and learning — and making mistakes is part of the learning process.

Tewic: The most important lessons that students will learn is to leave their ego at home, to help each other, to collaborate, and to be optimistic. Speaking for my class, they will realize that the more they know of multimedia, the more they’ll progress in their careers.

MJ: Was there a class or instructor that helped you become the photographer that you are now? How did they do that?

Ami: Rich Beckman. I’m back in grad school with him again! He’s always been ahead of the curve when it comes to finding new paths for storytelling. I’m studying Multimedia and Film with him now.

Tewic: I took a class in Havana with Magnum photographer Costa Manos and he told me that my photographs were “too simple.” He was right, and I’ve been trying to complicate them ever since.


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