© Maggie Steber
“My job in teaching is to help you see magic where others don’t,” the prolific photojournalist and educator Maggie Steber says. This summer, she and a group of her pioneering peers, including Nancy Borowick, Matt Eich, Daniella Zalcman, Xyza Cruz Bacani, Matt Cosby, Steven Wilkes, and more, will head over to the coast of Rockport, Maine to host workshops at the Maine Media Workshops + College. As the longest running photography workshop program of its kind, Maine Media home to some of the most brilliant minds to pick up a camera; past teachers include Mary Ellen Mark, Sally Mann, Arnold Newman, Duane Michals, Ernst Haas, and many others. The classes are intensive and limited to a small number of students, meaning that each one gets full advantage of the guidance of their mentors and the input of their peers.
This year’s offerings are perfect for photographers who long to tell meaningful human stories. Visual storytelling has always been at the heart of Maine Media, and with courses like Steber’s Daring to See the World in a New Way – Mystery and Beauty in the Everyday, students this summer will be pushed out of their comfort zones and asked to embrace the unknown. Matt Eich will teach The Documentary Portrait, a week-long workshop that focuses on the relationship and communication between a photographer and his or her subject. Here, students will learn everything from choosing the right equipment to approaching strangers on the street, and they will also learn how to see photography as an exchange; as part of the course, participating photographers will give their prints to their subjects.
Students leave Maine Media not only with a keener understanding of their photographic practice but also with a more profound knowledge of themselves. In this vein, Nancy Borowick, who documented her parents, their love, and their battle with cancer, will teach Exploring Intimacy and Vulnerability – Documenting the Personal, a workshop designed to challenge participants to tell the visual stories that touch their own lives. Borowick will instruct students on how best to gain the trust of their subjects and collaborators, and they will leave Rockport with new photographs and a fresh perspective on work they’ve made in the past.
As we’ve seen, students from Maine Media have gone on to create work with global impact. In turbulent social and political times, Maine Media hosts workshops for visual storytellers who want to make a difference. In Image to Action: Using Photography For Social Change, Xyza Cruz Bacani will walk her students through the process and ethics of collaborating with organizations, and Nicholas Papananias, the senior photo editor of SIPA USA, will join her and her students as they put together their individual bodies of work.
“It is only because of the people we meet and their stories they allow us to tell that we succeed,” Steber adds. “It’s not about us, it’s about them. They should always be the reason that we work so hard to get it right. It’s there, in the stories of others, that you find the riches and the things that move you.” In the digital age, in-person workshops provide photographers with the time and the support to truly examine their work and their motivations.
Whether you’re working in documentary, fine art, or commercial photography, Maine Media offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to study one-on-one with some of the most powerful voices in the industry but also to forge lasting relationships with peers. Within this close-knit but far-reaching community, students learn the perspectives of others and broaden their knowledge of themselves. After their time in Rockport, they share their images with their own communities and with the world at large.
© Daniella Zalcman
© Matt Cosby
© Matt Eich
© Nancy Borowick
© Steven Wilkes