This was a packed week for the team in Lima, Peru. We were getting up around 7 am and going to bed around midnight or later every day.
We had a big group of 18 people. Jeff Raymond organized all of us. We had three instructors, four administrative staff [one of those a translator] and 10 workshop participants working on 9 stories. Two of the team worked together on one story.
Eight of the nine stories were done in Spanish with subtitles in English.
One of the first thing that the first timers noticed was how long it took to do an interview when you must work with a translator.
We taught what a storyline includes and how to do a better job interviewing people to improve the quality of that story.
Every story we did was about a person impacted by a ministry.
Life Before & After
What was the difference this ministry made in your life? Due to the ministry what is it now that is different than before?
The Inciting Moment
What was the moment that you realized you needed some help and how did you find this ministry to help you?
Call to Action
Unlike going to a movie where the primary purpose of the movie is only to entertain, all of our stories had a call to action. After hearing this story would you like to support this ministry in some way?
There are basically two parts to the finished projects. There is the interview and then there is all the B-roll which is shown while they are talking that compliments what they are saying.
The students learned how to shoot a series of photos from a scene and then would put these in an order to help move the story along visually.
Josh Hart shot a lot of video of the subjects getting in and out of a cab, walking to the church, opening the door and walking in. He shot this from their front, their back and from the side. That was just one scene. He had scenes of the pastor walking from the back of the church to the pulpit and then another series on him preaching.
After doing many more scenes he had enough b-roll to help compliment the interview so that you felt like you saw and well as heard the story.
Our next trip is June 18th to July 4th to Romania. If you are interested and want to learn more then go here and learn more StorytellersAbroad.com.
I apologize for the rambling below. It is a stream of consciousness of some of what I experienced this past weekend at the conference.
Jim & Carol Veneman are having facetime with their grand children
Twenty five years ago we didn’t have the ability to FaceTime with each other. We also didn’t have the ability back in 1992 to shoot photos and share them instantaneously with each other.
I want to talk here about my journey through the years. When we started the SWPJC I had not really come to terms with my Autism. When I was in third grade I was tested and fell on the spectrum, but back then they didn’t give me the label.
I would slowly understand through many different events that I fit the Aspergers Syndrome perspective on the Autism Spectrum. Through the years I have been taking steps like speech therapy and studying social work which all helped me greatly improve in my deficiencies.
This past weekend when I was teaching I was reminded of my Autism.
I asked everyone in the class I was leading to take a picture. When asked what they took a picture of I had people talk about taking a picture of me with a scowl on my face. Then a couple minutes later someone talked again about my body language as being negative.
This is me with my dad and sister.
I could have just crawled up into a ball and just cried. I realized that while I had done a great deal through the years to pay attention to others I had not done much to work on my face expressions.
Autism is a developmental disorder involving qualitative impairments in social interaction. One source of those impairments are difficulties creating facial expressions of emotion. Difficulties with facial expressions may arise from deficits in a motivation to express positive emotions with others. The difficulties may also stem from physiological problems in physically creating expressions that are due to damage to areas of the brain that control the facial nerve (which produces those expressions).
I know my family has really given me a hard time through the years when they take photos of me. I just don’t look happy. I guess there are moments when a glimpse of my enthusiasm does come through, but I cannot consciously bring the emotions I feel to my face.
I can tell you that I am always thinking and observing others. I do not take lightly those around me. I am always trying to figure out how to be of service. Can I help them or what is their problem they might need help with. I am often trying to connect people with a need with a person I know that could be the solution. So my face expressions are I guess some what accurate. I am thinking which can produce a scowl or tense brow.
I want to be Helpful and Not Hurtful …
So that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. – Hebrews 6:12
I can tell you that God isn’t finished with me yet. I have a lot of work to do with my face expressions. The good news is I kind of know what I need to work on going forward.
… LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. – Psalm 4:6
Morris Abernathy my good friend for more than 30 years
The Southwestern Photojournalism Conference all started because Morris Abernathy called Jim Veneman and mentioned we had an opportunity to take over a photo workshop that Don Rutledge had held at the Seminary for years.
Morris’ vision was to expand the conference and make it an event that more people would feel welcomed. Morris has one of the biggest hearts for people that I know. He is also the one person who has had me doubled over in laughter where tears are flowing so many times. My wife and I think of the times we both have enjoyed his humor.
What a joy Morris has been not just to me, but to all who come into contact with him. We were blessed that he invested so much of his life into the conference.
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. – Proverbs 27:17
Morris is the person who was leading all the rest of us to include everyone. This photo of Jim Veneman putting his arm around Akili Ramsess just after he met her is indicative of the purpose of the conference. We were about welcoming everyone to the table.
While this was the purpose of the original group I can tell you that through the years it hasn’t gone well every time. You see I know from personal experience that there are many other people out their like me. Their face expressions and body language doesn’t always match their hearts.
I believe those who started the conference want to return to our core values and put into place some changes that will make this conference more like Morris Abernathy had envisioned.
An amateur (French amateur “lover of”, from Old French and ultimately from Latin amatorem nom. amator, “lover”) is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science in a non-professional or unpaid manner. Amateurs often have little or no formal training in their pursuits, and many are autodidacts (self-taught).
“The most powerful words ever said to you are your own,” said Garrett Hubbard. The self talk we do can be the most damaging or up lifting. We are in charge of which that will be.
Garrett also talked about how we often limit our identity to what our job title is and encouraged us to see our whole selves.
While I am thinking and really looking for ways to serve even more than I do now, Pat is buzzing by me like a Energizer Bunny in the commercial. He is beating his drum and pulling as many as he can behind him in his parade. Pat is the pied piper of photojournalism.
Before you know it Pat has a group of students and teaching them all about lighting.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35
The cornerstone of the conference is Jesus Christ. The thing that we try to do each year is very similar to what a mason call the “Holding Bond” – maintaining a plumb-aligned bond or brick pattern. To do this a mason creates the “Hanging the line” – attaching a mason’s line to the leads at opposite ends of a wall.
The committee that produces the conference each year is taking the time to meet soon to retool the conference. We will be “Hanging the Line” so that we can be “Holding Bond” so that when people look at our conference they will see the love we have for one another.
We are planning on getting our committee together to do a planning retreat for the conference. We have not done this before and believe this is what is needed to go forward for the conference to be successful.Ron London reminded us at the conference to never stop being an amateur photographer. He went on to explain what the word amateur came from and means.Akili Ramsess, NPPA executive director, spent her presentation and every other opportunity to talk about our success is all about relationships. She also helped us to see that is what NPPA is trying to do for photographers is help them have relationships throughout the industry.Patrick Murphy-Racey thinks more like me than most any of my other friends when it comes to photography. The biggest difference between us is Pat’s enthusiasm and excitement is written all over his face.
If there is one photographer I am extremely jealous of it would be Pat. I am jealous of how he exudes excitement to others.
We just wrapped up our 25th Anniversary for the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference and this is the original crew. When we started I am not sure how long we thought this would go on, but all of us feel like it was just yesterday when we started this adventure.The student workshop that we added many years ago has turned into a huge success. One of the main reasons is the ability of the students to shoot and show the instructors their work immediately for some feedback and the ability to go and reshoot if necessary.
This is the 25th annual meeting of the conference. The conference has changed through the years to reflect the industry as best we can.
In 2007 and 2008 the economy was hard hit and our numbers were suffering because everyone’s personal budgets were hurting.
We added a Student Workshop to the front end of the conference for students to get some one-on-one time with our speakers. This has proven to be very helpful for students to get their work reviewed and talk to the industry leaders.
The industry has been hit hard. Last year Canon and Nikon Sales were down close to 50%. All this doom and gloom doesn’t mean there is no longer a need for photographers.
At the same time the industry is changing the amount of pictures taken last year was up. That adds up to more than 14 trillion photos annually (14,600,000,000,000). Much more conservatively, if only one billion people have cameras or phones, and take less than 3 photos per day/1,000 pictures per year, that’s still 1 trillion photos captured every year.
The need for those who know more than just how to push the button are in great demand. People know that with all these photos being created every moment for their “Brand” to be seen it must break through with images that “Capture the Audience.”
This year’s keynote speaker Garrett Hubbard [left] at a previous SWPJC.
I know I go to the conference to meet people that I can hire through the year as projects pop up for my clients. Last year I hired many photographers for projects and continue to look for more photographers. This is where I go to find not just great shooters, but those who see this as a calling.
Esther Havens past speaker
Don’t wait for next year anymore. Commit to meeting with other photographers who see this as a calling. Come to Fort Worth this year and connect. Listen to some of the best in the industry tell you where they see things going for the professional photographer.
Go to the website to learn more SWPJC.orgThen go and book your transportation and hotel. I hope to see you there.
Gary Fong with the Chick-fil-A Cow.
Don’t put off to Next Year when there might not be a Next Year conference. Signup and come while we are still doing SWPJC.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/100
Storytellers Abroad participant Brian Funderburke listens to instructor Pat Davison as he works with Brian and the team in advising how to handle the story.
Sharon Sedzro was born 3 months premature, and weighed less than 4lb (2kg). The doctors told her mother that she would only live if they relied on God. She lived and was later the catalyst that brought about a children’s camp ministry that missionaries from the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism had tried to start over ten years earlier. Storyteller Brian Funderburke shares the story of Madame Sedzro, Sharon Sedzro, and Judy Bowen, and how God worked in their lives to restart a children’s camp ministry that is impacting hundreds of Togolese children.
We still have openings for the Honduras Multimedia Workshop taking place this October 29th to November 5th. Deadline to apply is August 30, 2016.
Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 100, ƒ/1.8, 1/800
Hannah Saxe, one of the Storytellers Abroadparticipant, has her fan club walking through the village of Adeti-Kope,Togo, West Africa. Hannah did her story on HIV in Togo.
Brenda Mastin is a nurse at the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism hospital in Tsiko, Togo. Over the last few years she and other Togolese colleagues have formed the organization ALMA which is french for “friend indeed”. They are an HIV/AIDS ministry of education, compassion and support. Their main operation is to educate the local churches to show compassion to HIV/AIDS patients as well as giving them support through counseling and medication. They hope to open their own center for chronic disease care near the hospital. In this video Storyteller Hannah Saxe tells the story of ALMA and their work in Togo.
Here is Hannah having prayer with an HIV patient and the subject Brenda before they did the interview.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2000, ƒ/8, 1/100
Teramura tells the story of Martouka. After years of growing up in fetish worship, Martouka Anani fell deathly sick and remembered the gospel he had heard as a child. Even though his parents disowned him from walking away from the fetish religion, he pursued Jesus and devoted his life to sharing the good news with others.
Now he is a pastor of a thriving church and a teacher at the Bible Institute, training up other pastors to step into teaching roles to transform Togo for Jesus. This is his story – please watch and consider support the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism’s mission to impact more lives and expand the multiplication of churches in Togo, West Africa.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 640, ƒ/9, 1/100
This is our Storytellers Abroad Nicaragua team from this past week. This was the third workshop. In previous years we have been to Lisbon, Portugal and Bucharest, Romania.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1250, ƒ/4, 1/100
Bruce Edgar led us one morning for our devotional. This not only helps us get to know the missionaries of the Nicaraguan team, but also helps us focus each day and ask God for guidance. With so much packed into our day with new things to learn and practice we need to a lot of help and rely on God to direct us each day.
Each day we had a different missionary lead us.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 4000, ƒ/8, 1/100
I wanted to give you some idea of what students are doing on these workshops as well as the Honduras Multimedia workshop I have going on this fall and still have openings.
We take some time the first few days where we spend time in the classroom helping you with that days assignment. Now this is a photo from the classroom we were using in Managua, Nicaragua.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 20000, ƒ/8, 1/100
We first go over all the settings for your camera, microphones and Adobe Premier. We practice recording each other. We spend the Sunday shooting around in some of the churches where many of our subjects attend and then on that Monday we are interviewing like here. The leaders try to get out with everyone at some point during the week to help observe you working and to give you tips.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/640
While some of the students were jumping right into the shooting up and personal with the subjects we would help those who were more shy and reserved to learn how to take control of the story and get the content they needed to tell the story more effectively.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2000, ƒ/4, 1/100
The class is designed pretty much around starting in the class and then quickly getting you out with your subject shooting for 3 to 5 hours for three days. At the end of your time with the subject you come back and ingest all your cards and make notes. After this you are sitting down with one of the instructors reviewing your work.
We are asking you to identify each of the elements of the storyline in your story. Your outline will look something like this:
Subject/Character – A little information about the person you are covering
Their volunteer work
Conflict/Problem – What is the problem that they cannot solve on their own
Guide/Resource – who is helping them and what resources are available or lacking?
Assignment – What does the guide/mentor recommend to help solve the problem for the subject?
Actions – What actions has the subject taken
Outcome – Is it a Tragedy or Comedy?
CALL TO ACTION – We add one more step in the story process of basically asking a very direct question to the audience and direction on how to get involved. We are not teaching you to just entertain with a story, but rather to engage the audience until they are taking action and getting involved in some way.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1600, ƒ/4, 1/100
Many of our students have been shooting for many years and been doing videos or photos to help missions or NGOs tell their stories. We spend a lot of time helping them break some of those bad habits and giving them the tools to help them do a better job as a storyteller.
Stages of Learning
There are stages of learning. Here are the six basic stages, listed from the most rudimentary to the highest levels of comprehension:
Knowledge (memorizing, recalling)
Comprehension (expressing ideas in new forms)
Application (transfer of learning to a new situation)
Analysis (breaking a communication down into its parts)
Synthesis (creating something new by putting parts together)
Evaluation (judging value based on standards)
Stages of Learning (from LeRoy Ford’s book “Design for Teaching and Training)
We understand how one learns so the course is designed to move you to the final stage where you are functioning at the highest level of evaluation.
We are training you to identify a story and how to produce this story so that it connects with the audience and elicits a response, which we call the CALL TO ACTION.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 1100, ƒ/4, 1/100
Here I am giving some examples to the class. We then explain how we use a visual to communicate and direct the audience to understanding.
Each thing you learn you will see an example, then you will also learn why we do it a certain way and then you get to practice those skills yourself. The good thing is each day you are evaluated on how well you performed. If you fell short we send you back for it to be done again.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2200, ƒ/4, 1/100
The past couple of trips we had some storytellers along capturing the story of the workshop. Rob Llewellyn who works also with ESPN came along and also jumped in to help one of the students while we were busy with the other students.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 14400, ƒ/11, 1/100
The last thing we are doing while in country before taking off for the airport is a screening of all the videos with the subjects and all those who helped us in the process. This helps us realize there is a real deadline to get this project done.
Photo by Rob Llewellyn
Here is photo of Jeff Raymond, Team Leader; James Dockery, teacher; and Stanley Leary, teacher in downtown Managua, Nicaragua.
Please consider joining Stanley Leary and Gary S. Chapman in Honduras for a similar workshop on October 29 – November 5, 2016. Honduras Workshop information.
We haven’t chosen location or dates for 2017 Storytellers Abroad workshops, but be sure and bookmark this in your browser and check back every so often to see about our future workshops.
This is a video we made while in Lisbon, Portugal to explain the workshop.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 2800, ƒ/4, 1/100
We spent time in the small village of San Benito, Nicaragua helping the students in our Storytelling workshop how to get access to take those photos that help you show how the people in another culture live.
Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 1000, ƒ/1.8, 1/100
Now we did piggyback with a team that did a puppet show for the children in the village. They had already built relationships with the community. This gave us a huge advantage because all the good relationships that had been done let us say while walking down the dirt streets we were with the puppet team.
We also were able to take photos of the meals that Servants with a Heart had prepared back in Matthews, NC with two little boys holding those meals. Again this was helping us establish we are there to help them.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 110, ƒ/4, 1/100
After pulling up and walking down the street with cameras it didn’t take long for many people to come out to see all the Gringos with cameras walking down their street.
I was showing the students that I started with some small chit-chat with an interpreter and taking portraits of the people and showing them the results on the back of the screen.
I asked the lady how many people she cooks for and if she would show us her kitchen.
Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 7200, ƒ/4, 1/100
So to get good photos you must do it in stages. You are building a relationship. If you try and jump to the photo you want right away rather than doing it in stages you may shut down the relationship. Take you time and get to know the subject.
Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 500, ƒ/16, 1/100
I am hoping that if you read my blog with any regularity that I may be able to get you excited about having more time with me in a workshop, where you can ask questions and have me clarify even more than you get through this blog.
I am getting really excited about teaching storytelling workshops over the next few months.
I a couple weeks I am flying to Nicaragua to help teach a storytellers abroad workshop with my friends James Dockery and Jeff Raymond. Right after that workshop I will be in Kona, Hawaii with my good friend Dennis Fahringer teaching the same skills to his students who will be going to Brazil to cover stories around the Olympics.
Nikon D750, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 720, ƒ/1.8, 1/100
While seeing sites like the sunset above in Kona are part of the trips, we spend a lot of time like James is doing here with student Jon Franz. We enjoy working with people and watching stories come together over just one week.
Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/16, 1/50
Unfortunately both the Nicaragua and Hawaii classes are full, but you can join Gary S. Chapman and I in Honduras this fall.
Come with us to the remote area Agalta Valley in Central Honduras. We will be staying at Rancho el Paraiso, a 1,400-acre working ranch. You can learn to milk a cow if you like and watch the heard of cattle being taken out to the fields each day and brought in to be milked.
When Honduras Outreach was started 25 years ago they bought the ranch and created dorms and cafeteria to house the volunteers who come year around to do projects in the valley. Their 60 local Honduran staff members work year-round with communities in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, education, faith building, and commerce.
Honduras Outreach has had the president of Honduras to visit not only the ranch but come to the US to give them an award for such outstanding work.
Enjoy your days taking pictures in the beautiful Agalta Valley and showing your work to world traveling seasoned professional photographers [Gary Chapman and Stanley Leary] for feedback each day.
We will also be teaching how to capture a story for a nonprofit. We will give you tips that you can use in your future travels.
Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 280, ƒ/5.6, 1/250
“The reason I do workshops is so I can learn, and I am fortunate that I’ve probably gained more from the whole experience of teaching than any one participant has. It is all about asking.” – John Sexton
There are a couple things that the workshops I am teaching all have in common. See if this appeals to you.
ACCESS – One of the hardest thing about having great images and stories is access to those people that are interesting. All the workshops I am working with have already lined up stories for the workshop participants.
MORE THAN – This is a deeper dive than that as a tourist. You get a chance to meet someone and hang out with them and get to know more about them. This is what tourists seldom get to do on a vacation.
SEASONED PROS – Getting feedback each day from professionals whose life has been traveling the world and doing stories on people of every walk of life. Having them review your work and give you tips each day.
LOGISTICS – All the logistics of the traveling has been taken care for you. You just have to pack and get to the first location and we plan the rest for you.
TRAINING – We will teach you how to use software, how to get a story and how to put it together in a package.
Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/1000
While there is education and things to learn the lure of the travel to a new location is seeing the wonderful sites of the location.
Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/1600