Three from FIT at this year’s Eddie Adams Workshop

The Eddie Adams Workshop, now in its 34th year, is considered “one of the most important stops for up-and-coming photojournalists,” according to New York Times photographer and writer James Estrin. This year two FIT Photography students, and one Photography Certificate program graduate, were chosen to attend.

The late Eddie Adams was a highly awarded photojournalist, renowned for his coverage of the Vietnam War. He was dedicated to mentorship and teaching through large-scale collaboration and set out to do just that with a cadre of fellow professionals.

PHOTO: WILLIAM PIPPIN, from “BREAKING AWAY”

The intensive, merit-based, free workshop, has an impressive itinerary: Ten teams, each consisting of 10 students, are each led by a team leader, editor, producer, and IT person. “Team leadership works in September with students on assignments,” according to Mirjam Evers, Executive Director. “The work from the assigned topic — this year the theme was ‘transformation’ — is critiqued over three days in October by seasoned experts,” The workshop, headquartered at a former dairy farm in Jeffersonville, New York, was virtual this year.

Photo: Laila Stevens, “Heart and Soul.” Meagan Owen, boxer from the Bronx sparring session spars with women from the US Marines Boxing Team

In October, when the assignments are completed, the three-day intensive is scheduled with photography presentations; portfolio reviews of individual student work as well as the team’s work; and social networking sessions. The weekend ends with team presentations and an award show.

“The workshop is crazy because it pushes you into this intense encounter with utterly relevant challenges, but it also gives you the highest quality guides to help you navigate your way through the experience,” says esteemed Photography alum Trupal Pandya, ’16, a workshop presenter this year.

Pandya who attended the workshop as an undergrad says “It nurtures young photography professionals in a way that instills impeccably high standards, and if they really give themselves up to the process they come away with a particular kind of confidence that’s necessary in order to go out into the world and create.”

Photo: Lana Apisukh. “From Feral to Family.” TNR Specialist in her garage with a homeless cat she has rescued.We talked to the three FIT attendees about their experiences. They each shared  completed work from their projects, as well as from their entry porfolios, which merited them a place in the workshop.

William Pippin (’23)

PHOTO: WILLIAM PIPPIN, from “BREAKING AWAY”

“I’m from Rochester, NY. Kodak City. Big surprise I’m a photographer! says William Pippin. “I’m most interested in documentary photos. The Eddie Adams Workshop was a very valuable experience. There are few opportunities where a group of photo editors take time to look at your work and give constructive feedback. I feel fortunate to have been accepted and for the people that I met. For the workshop I shot my homie Ryan and his little brother Paul, two BMX riders for my project “Breaking Away.”

Photo: William Pippin, from “Breaking Away” (Ryan Razon and his brother Paul)
Photo: William Pippin, from “Breaking Away” (Ryan Razon and his brother Paul)

One of the photos Pippin submitted for acceptance to the workshop, was from his project “Andy,” about his girlfriend. “We started going out before Covid and then  just as we were official, Covid hit. She moved to Puerto Rico and I moved upstate. The project is about making up for lost time,” says Pippin.

Photo: William Pippin, from “Andy,”

“I never took a photo of her before Covid, so going through a year of not seeing each other, it’s just us reconnecting” says Pippin. “This photo is one that’s really important to me. The name of the photo is from the project ‘Andy,’ as if I’m writing a letter to her.”

Laila Stevens ‘23:

“I heard about the workshop from a classmate who had taken it. We bonded, initially over our similar visions, aligned with a lens. My vision is focused on culture, family and gender. Much of my work revolves around sisterhood, particularly in New York.

Photo: Laila Stevens, “Heart and Soul.” Meagan Owen, boxer from the Bronx who earned her biggest victory at the Ringside World Championship Tournament in MO.
Photo: Laila Stevens, from “Heart and Soul.” Boxer MEAGAN OWEN getting her hands wrapped by Coach Carl Wilson.
Photo: Laila Stevens, from “Heart and Soul” series

“I have this determination to make  sure my project is deeply focused andgetting to the nitty gritty. I think that’s something Eddie Adams did — to not be scared away from people he chose to focus on. He was into the moment and not afraid to enter the space. I have that sense of determination,” said Stevens.

Photo: Laila Stevens. Boxer Meagan Owen trains at Green Fitness Studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY.

“The workshop was a valuable and timely experience. I received constructive criticism on my work in the moment, which ultimately steered me in the right direction while photographing.

Photo: Laila Stevens (from her submission portfolio to Eddie Adams Workshop). “Much of my work revolves around sisterhood,” says Stevens.
Photo: Laila Stevens (from her submission portfolio to Eddie Adams Workshop) Alliyah and Amanda at Alley Pond Park, Queens, NY

“I was fortunate to have documented Meagan Owen’s sparring session with the women of the US Marine Boxing Team. One lesson  I leave with:The importance of spending as much time as possible with your subject. For me, this meant traveling with a female boxer from The Bronx. I’m thankful to have learned from professionals who are as passionate about storytelling as I am.”

Lanna Apisukh, ’20

Photo: Lanna Apisukh. “Everybody Skate” project
Photo: Lanna Apisukh. “Everybody Skate” project

“As a portrait and documentary photographer, says Lanna Apisukh, I felt the workshop was an amazing opportunity to learn more about photojournalism and gain insight into how to approach stories from a creative and technical perspective. The workshop is also a great way to get connected with photo editors and other photographers.”

Photo: Lanna Apisukh, “From Feral to Family.” TNR Specialist Dana Heis organizes her cat rescue delivery with the ASPCA for spay/neuter procedure.

Apisuckh had submitted work from her “ongoing passion project, ‘Everybody Skate’” for acceptance to the workshop. “It highlights women and non-binary skateboarders in New York City. Work from this project was featured in a New York Times article “The New Skaters,”

Photo: Lanna Apisukh. Dana Heis has been caring for feral and homeless cats for the past 18 months. She is now TNR certified.

Apisukh did a series for the workshop on a Trap, Neuter, Rescue (TNR) specialist from Brooklyn, who shelters and feeds homeless cats and works to get them spayed or neutered.

Photo: Lanna Apisukh. Dana Heis is TNR certified. She lives with four cats and fosters many others.

“My time with the Eddie Adams Workshop has been invaluable and inspiring. I’ve made connections with many photographers from around the world and industry veterans.”

Photo: Lanna Apisukh. Dana taking a quick break at home after a long morning of appointments at ASPCA

She says “It was neat to hear our photo editor Sarah Leen talk through her edit [of our work] and the sequencing process, which will help us become better storytellers. Leen was the first female director of photography at National Geographic. It was an honor to have her provide feedback of my work.”

To see video presentations of each team’s work with an interview with Alyssa Adams, co-founder of the Eddie Adams Workshop talking about the history of the workshop: Eddie Adams Presentations. 

To see more of William Pippin’s work, check out his website at: WillPippin.com, and on IG: @will_pippin; For Laila Stevens go to: LailaAnnMarie.com and on IG: @lailaannmarie; For Lanna Apisukh go to: lannaapisukh.com and on IG: @apisukh and for Trupal Pandya go to: TrupalPandya.com and on IG: @TrupalPandya.

To learn more about the Photography and Related Media program go to: Photography at FIT.

 

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