“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
As a photographer I believe that constant education is a must in order to keep growing and evolving, so every year I invest an important amount of time and money on it.
Since 2013 I had considered to attend the Foundation Workshop since several colleagues and friends of mine had attended to previous editions and their references have always been very good. However, it seemed that the stars never aligned for me to be able to do it, since it usually takes place in the United States. So when Aurora Lechuga told me that there would be a new Foundation in Spain, I said “yes!” without a doubt.
The statement of Foundation Workshop is clear: intense learning mentored by some of the best teachers and wedding photographers in the world, personalized work to determine the weaknesses and strengths of each student in one of the hardest photojournalism workshops.
What has the Foundation Workshop meant for me?
At the time of writing this post, it has been 8 months since I attended the workshop and not a week has gone by that I have not reviewed any of the ideas or lessons learned. There has not been a wedding in which the voice of my mentors, Ben and Craig, have not resonated in my head.
Not only that. Foundation has meant a reencounter with photography and with myself. A point of inflection at a time in my life when I needed more than ever an impulse to move forward. A renewed vision about photography and about myself.
Is it worth the investment?
There have been several colleagues who have asked me this question.
I answer the same to everyone: it depends on what you are looking for.
Attending to Foundation (or any other type of workshop) will not automatically make you a better photographer, and even it’s possible that you’ll not see a tangible evolution in your photography immediately after. Nor will you earn recognition, contests or anything like that just for the sake of attending. Foundation is not about learning new tricks to make more spectacular photographs, so if that’s what you’re looking for you should probably look for another type of workshop.
To make the most of the experience you must open up and have a receptive mind to change, to criticism, to see things from a new perspective, be willing to roll up your sleeves and work hard on yourself. Because Foundation is not about to look outside as to look inside of you. Having an honest and clear vision of what you do and why you do it will help you to photograph equally honestly and clearly. And these kinds of changes, being so deep, are not immediate.
Foundation is not a destination to reach but the beginning of a path. You will not receive magical answers, epiphanies or miraculous solutions but the indications to find your own way. And it’s up to you to want to follow that path or not.
In my case, I can not be happier to have started it. It’s the best investment in education I’ve ever made.
I will be eternally grateful to my mentors, Ben Chrisman and Craig Fritz, for so many lessons, cherish and support. Your human quality far exceeds your enormous photographic talent. My house is your house in Spain!
Thanks Aurora Lechuga and Zoe Lammin for your efforts to make this Foundation possible in Úbeda, to take care of ourselves so much, to make everything so easy and to make the experience perfect.
The (fantastic) mentors of the other groups were also a great source of inspiration and learning: Sergio Lopez, Citlalli Rico, Candice C. Cusic and Tyler Wirken.
Virginia Gimeno, Alec Seeger and the mythical Dennis Berti. A luxury staff! Thank you for your constant support, smiles and advices. It would not have been the same without you.
My dear teammates Donatella Barbera, Daniel Ribeiro, Rares Pulbere and Diego Méndez, of whom I learned almost as much as from the mentors. Also the other students with whom I shared laughter, experiences and some tears: Isabel Rojo, Cristina Quilez, Manuel Castaño, Chomi Delgado, Javier Asenjo, Soven Amatya, Manuel Puga, Geni Laso, Miguel Bolaños and Manuel Medrano. You have a friend in Madrid.
Thanks Pedro Cabrera and Andrea Giraldo for that incredible making of, great documentary work thanks to which we can relive this FE4 again and again.
Last but not least, thanks to Huy Nguyen: for creating the best and most important workshop he has ever attended, fo bringing it to Europe and for gathering the awesome Fearless Photographers community.