The Art of Storytelling
A 4 1/2 day Documentary Photography Workshop with Gerd Ludwig
In Los Angeles, October 23-27, 2014
This 4 1/2 day workshop by National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig is for photographers and serious amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision and balanced objectivity. It is designed to help photographers develop a personal eye, and to leave feeling inspired.
HOW IT WORKS:
Each participant should photograph a subject idea with the goal of producing a set of images by the end of the workshop. After individual portfolio reviews, Gerd will provide guidance to help streamline each idea, provide research tips, and create a coverage plan.
Throughout the workshop critiques will take place, both in groups and individually. In meetings with the students, Gerd will be available for advice on personal photographic aspirations. The course will culminate with each photographer presenting his or her photographs to the class for feedback.
The workshop will be held in Gerd Ludwig’s spacious and unique home in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles (The workshop fee includes a light lunch salad). Also, expect one of Gerd’s fellow photographers to stop by for a brief guest presentation.
Students must provide their own photographic equipment, laptops, and transportation.
Be prepared for long hours of shooting, editing, critiquing and interacting with one another and with the instructor (don’t worry, you will have fun too).
To make it more affordable for participants based outside of LA, there will be two rooms available in Gerd’s home for the first two students to request it, for an additional $200 for 5 nights.
Participants will also receive a 25% discount on one item purchased from Tenba.com following the workshop.
WHAT IS COVERED:
Gerd will stress finding and researching subjects, photographing people in an intimate fashion, making photographs that communicate emotionally as well as editorially, and using aesthetics in a sophisticated manner. Workshop participants will be encouraged to take professional risks to produce top quality work worthy of publications, books or galleries. Gerd will outline the structural elements and differences between a reportage, series, and essay and openly share the personal approaches he uses to create his own stories
for National Geographic Magazine.
Technical discussions will focus on how to use photographic tools in real-world scenarios to capture atmosphere and mood, while maintaining a sense of place; approach subjects and establish trust in order to photograph people in an intimate fashion; use form, lighting, and color in a sophisticated manner to communicate emotionally as well as editorially; balance a personal point of view while respecting a subject’s situation; and use focused editing to reveal a story’s essential truth. Gerd will share his own photographic techniques, such as his choice of cameras, lenses, lighting, strobes, and filters. He will explain how capturing quality images at extremely high ISOs has enabled him to tackle stories for National Geographic Magazine that previously were impossible to explore (Moscow Never Sleeps, Chernobyl, Russian Orthodox Church, Sleeping Cars etc).
Gerd will address the changing market for photographers, and how to expand short assignments into long-term personal projects using the latest fund-raising, distribution, and marketing methods. As a pioneer in crowdfunding, Gerd successfully financed his latest trip to the Chernobyl zone via Kickstarter and ran a second successful Kickstarter campaign to publish his 20-year retrospective book “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” which accompanies his interactive multimedia iPad app.
To sign up, please send your deposit of $175 through Paypal to [email protected] . Please contact us if you have any questions about using PayPal. A second payment of $400 is due by October 1st and the final balance of $400 is due by October 15th. Workshop is limited to 9 students.
All payments are non-refundable. If a participant cancels, the first two payments will become a credit towards future workshops.
ABOUT GERD LUDWIG:
Born in Alsfeld, Germany, Gerd Ludwig studied Photography with Professor Otto Steinert at the Folkwang University of the Arts (Folkwangschule) in Essen, Germany, and graduated in 1972. The following year he co-founded VISUM, Germany’s first photographer-owned agency, and began working for publications such as Geo, Stern, Spiegel, Fortune, Time, and Life. In 1984 he re-located to New York, and after continuing to photograph for major international publications, signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine in the early 1990’s. His focus on environmental issues, and on the socio-economic changes following the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc resulted in his book and exhibit, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic,. His ongoing coverage of post Soviet Russia has garnered his distinction as being the world’s foremost color photographer documenting the region. His ongoing work after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster resulted in the publication of an acclaimed iPad App and the trilingual Long Shadow of Chernobyl photo book.
Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd Ludwig continues his work for National Geographic Magazine, photographs personal projects, lectures at universities, teaches photographic workshops and exhibits his photographs in galleries and museums around the world. He is the recipient of many photographic awards, including the 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year and the 2014 Dr. Erich-Salomon Award, the highest lifetime achievement award in photojournalism in Germany.
FROM PAST STUDENTS:
“It was an incredible opportunity for me to learn from National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig. With his personal instruction he taught me to see the emotional side of a photo, taking my passion for photography to a new level. His vision opened my eyes to a different perspective of the world.”
– Steffi Graff, tennis champion
“Of all the workshops I’ve taken, the one that made the biggest impact on me was a two day workshop with Gerd at the Salton Sea. I’ll never forget being dropped off by myself in Niland with only 45 minutes to take an environmental portrait of a total stranger in their home. I had never done anything like that before; but, Gerd had taken the time to share his own stories and offer advice about approaching sensitive situations as a photographer. I ended up meeting and photographing a wonderful family. He pushed each student beyond their comfort zones as photographers. It was an invaluable lesson.”
– Robert Larson, photographer
“During Gerd’s workshop at the Salton Sea, he pushed us to try new techniques, such as using remote flashes and gels, in order to help us get a feel for what the equipment was capable of, and how to use it to get interesting shots that would have been impossible any other way. He helped us see things we had missed, or better ways to approach the scene – encouraging us to get closer and see in different ways. At one point, I found myself standing ankle-deep in dead fish and algae, fighting to keep up with him as we tried to find the best shot – flash in one hand, camera in the other, and toes crossed that I’d be able to avoid tumbling headlong into a pile of rotting muck – while he helped me figure out how to set up shots in ways I had never considered, and how to wield the equipment in ways that proffered uncharted results. I have never learned as much, or had quite so much fun, as I did those days out in the desert with Gerd and his team.”
– Kristen Spillane, photographer
“Organizing ten years’ worth of materials for a long-term project, Gerd helped me make better choices in the edit and achieve more clarity in the book design. I appreciate his rigor and candor, while helping ensure that my photos found their best presentation. It’s rare to find a teacher who balances trenchant criticism with unwavering support for your work and your vision. Gerd is a great critic and advocate.”
– Preston Merchant, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism