In 2008 I gathered a few of my favorite people in the industry, rented a rambling farmhouse on the water, opened up registration to 14 photographers, and together we ate, slept & breathed photojournalism for a week on Cape Cod. Roots Workshop was born.
Turn the clock back 10 years prior to that in 1998 (gulp!) when I was an intern at the nearby Cape Cod Times, digging in my heels and learning the ropes of newsroom life covering monumental news events like the death of JFK Jr., making portraits of A-list celebs and also small town life. Every day was different and I was h-o-o-k-e-d! So a decade later as a seasoned professional, it only made sense to host my first intensive workshop in the area responsible for inspiring my career.
In recent years we moved the location to Maine to document (perhaps Maine’s best kept secret) the coastal town of Belfast. The number of photographers and structure of the week has been tweaked over time (reminisce here), but at the core Roots is about bringing visual storytellers together to dig deep and make better and more meaningful imagery; to give thoughtful pause to each and every person or place as everyone has a story to share.
This year’s workshop was held earlier this month at Beach Rose Farm at French’s Point. Students and staff traveled from across the country to document life in this quaint (and quirky) small town. VII and National Geographic photographer Ed Kashi helped us kick things off with a memorable keynote and mentoring in the field (I studied with Ed for a semester in London! It was such a happy reunion!). And then students spent a few days photographing during the day, reviewing their work at night, and showcasing their finished pieces in a pop-up gallery and presentation evening (with their subjects!) at week’s end.
I could go on AND ON about how much this experience awakens me to start each wedding season or how BRAVE this group of students was or how much I ADORE my dream team (love you Jenn, Eric, Cameron, Paul and Kate!!) or how tired I STILL am from those incredible late night editing sessions or round-table dinner conversations, but instead I want you to catch a glimpse of the magic in this beautiful piece our workshop documentarian Kate McElwee put together to highlight our week below. Once you’re done watching, be sure to go and look at the 10 student portfolios on our Roots Workshop Vimeo channel here. And if you think you’d like to join us for Roots 2017, watch our workshop website in the coming weeks for the announcement of our new dates and location!