What happens when photographers cannot sell images anymore ? What do they do if magazines do not pay for their coverage? Well, they turn around and start selling to other photographers. Not images, but workshops.
There seem to be a craze of photogrpahy workshops going around. Established or completely unknown photographers are launching into what seems to be a lucrative market : Teaching others how to take pictures. The irony is that, by helping others mastering their cameras, they add to the already very saturated market. There has been nature workshops, documentary workshops, studio, lighting, macro, micro, flowers, shoes, you name it workshops. Now, in what seems a desperate move, here comes the real reality workshops.
First is the Covering Conflict workshop . Handled by some of the top war photographers around, this photogrpahy workshop will put you in a real war situation with people shooting at each other ( no, not real bullets) so you can feel comfortable next time you are parachuted in a war zone. Eric Bouvet, Philip Horvat, Jason Howe, Wade Goodard will meet you in Bosnia to help you cover the city of Dubrovnik and what is left of the battle field. Then, “You will be asked to photograph a simulated conflict of two opposing armed groups. Approximately 20 men, many former soldiers and defenders of the region, dressed in uniform, armed with Air Soft weapons (these weapons look like really firearms – M16s and AK 47s but fire small plastic pallets). Though they cannot cause you any harm, they do hurt a little if hit at close range. This will give you the sense danger that exists in a real theatre of war.”
For 990 Euros, including food and lodging, you get as close to a conflict than anyone might ever come. Will it be useful, doubtful. However, you get to spend a few days with some of the best conflict photographers in the world, and that alone, is worth it. More info here : Covering Conflict
On another side, is photographer Zoriah workshop : “I have decided to offer a special small group workshop in Haiti focused on photographing the aftermath of the earthquake. Subjects covered will be working in disaster zones and other difficult and dangerous situations, survival and logistics in difficult environments, photograph people, working with NGO’s (Non Governmental Organizations) and aid organizations, editing and digital darkroom technique and marketing and making your stories available for the world to see.
For $4000.00 you get to cover the aftermath of Haiti . Like a Safari. Learn how to shoot real people fighting for food and survival. Photograph NGO’s as they try to save the most lives as possible with minimum help . Finally, learn how to distance yourself from the whole thing and pretend this is just a classroom exercise.You will certainly come out with a clean portfolio that will amaze your friends and neighbors.
To Zoriah’s credit : ” 50% of the money raised from this workshop will go to my friends at Hospice Saint Joseph, which was completely destroyed in the quake”
But still, is this appropriate ? Use the devastation and suffering of the Haitian people as a backdrop for a photogrpahy workshop? Isn’t this a tad cynical and tasteless ? It is understandable that a photo journalist has to distance himself from his subjects, but isn’t this too far ? Finally, why teach a job that you have just left because there was no money in it ?