Holiday season has started. There are parties and holiday events to go to. I certainly don’t consider myself a social butterfly, but there were a few parties and event I was somewhat looking forward to going to this past weekend to see friends and share some laughter. Then there was a weekend workshop I was considering of taking with a former National Geographic photographer, Sam Abell. The title of the workshop was, “Sharpening Your Photographic Vision.” I heard he was fantastic from those who had taken this workshop before.
Really, I was torn. Is it worth it? Am I ready for this?
On Thursday evening, he had an open to public lecture to give a glimpse of what he was going to do in the workshop. I sat on the front seat so I can get his vibe. Once he started talking, I was hooked by the poetic tone of his talk and the sequence of images he presented. There was no question whether I should take this workshop or not. I was in.
Fast forward, it’s Tuesday now. I’m still feeling intoxicated from the weekend. The parties and events I missed wouldn’t even come close to the valuable experience I had by being in this workshop. Without going into my intimate thoughts, the workshop did exactly what the description said and more, “bringing clarity to (my) own personal vision.” What was most valuable was how he humbly shared his creative and thinking processes as well as some fascinating stories that led to some of his iconic images that appeared in National Geographic and other publications over 30 some years of his career as a staff photographer. I was also deeply inspired by his personal photographic diary with contrastingly personal images.
Most of all, I found Sam Abell to be not only a superb artist and teacher but also a very fine human being. As it turns out my “fav” shots of the weekend were of Sam at the bar at Union Station posing as if he were texting. And he wants you to know he doesn’t text! In this shot I deliberately focused on the edge of the table in front. Only those of us who were in the workshop have the privilege to know the back story of this, and I am holding on to it like a piece of pearl I found on a remote sea shore.