Upcoming Events

As the Artist in Residence at the La Gacilly-Baden Photo Festival, Gerd Ludwig will be presenting his work at the Arnulf Rainer Museum in Baden near Vienna, Austria. The 4-hour-long (German language) event titled ‘Inspiration – Faszination – Leidenschaft’ will begin on Sunday, July 15 at 9:30 am.

Throughout the duration of the festival, which will end on September 30th, photographers from all over the world show fascinating work in 35 outdoor exhibitions, focusing on geography and the environment. Amongst them are amazing exhibits by Gerd’s fellow National Geographic photographers David Chancellor, Brent Stirton and Joel Sartore. In total roughly 2000 photographs are displayed in an open air gallery of 2.5 miles length, transforming the gardens, alleyways and squares of the city of Baden into a picture city.

More information on Gerd Ludwig’s talk here.

The Art of Storytelling – The Salton Sea

An Official Workshop of the Month of Photography LA

A 6-day Documentary Photography Workshop with National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig

Los Angeles & Salton Sea, April 15 – April 21, 2018

$1,285

This 6-day workshop (5 days + 2 half days) by veteran National Geographic Photographer Gerd Ludwig in conjunction with MOPLA is for professional and committed amateur photographers who want to take their photography to the next level. It concentrates on the aesthetic, technical, and logistical aspects of photographing with personal vision.
Participants will meet at Gerd’s home in Mount Washington, Los Angeles (15 minutes NE of Downtown LA) for 1 ½ days of portfolio reviews, instruction and theory, before shooting for 3 days at California’s Salton Sea. 1 ½ days in LA filled with editing and sequencing, followed by a joint presentation of the final results, concludes the workshop.

GERD EXPLAINS, HOW IT WORKS:

In the afternoon of day 1 (half day), we will all gather at my home for portfolio reviews. Day 2 is reserved for exploring the techniques of storytelling. I will outline the structural elements and differences between a reportage, series, and essay and share my personal approaches when photographing my stories for National Geographic Magazine – all accompanied by various sample presentations.

In the morning of day 3, we will relocate to the Salton Sea, jointly checking into a small inn. The afternoon is reserved for exploring and photographing the area around the Salton Sea.

On day 4 and 5 we will be leaving early in the mornings for full days of shooting. As I have spent many months along the Salton Sea for NatGeo and on personal projects, I will lead you to the most interesting locations that offer ample opportunities for amazing photographs. During these days, I will be in the field with you, giving hands-on advice on technical, compositional, and structural levels. The evenings are for downloading, captioning, pre-editing, additional instructions and ‘photo camp talk’.

After returning to LA in the late morning of day 6, we will reconvene at my home for a last round of editing, toning, and sequencing the work. The course will culminate the next morning (day 7, half day) with each photographer presenting his/her photographs to the class for feedback.

Be prepared for long hours of shooting, editing, critiquing and interacting with one another and with me (but don’t worry, you will have fun too).

WHAT ELSE IS COVERED:

Gerd will emphasize the process of 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, contest entries or gallery submissions.

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 to communicate emotions; 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 a trip to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone via Kickstarter and ran a second successful Kickstarter campaign to publish his award-winning 20-year retrospective book “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl,” which accompanies his interactive multimedia iPad app.

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.

Students are expected to provide their own photographic equipment, laptops, and storage drives.

REGISTRATION:

The basic workshop fee is $1,285 per student. To sign up, please send your deposit of $285 through Paypal to [email protected] Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. A second payment of $500 is due by March 15th and the final balance of $500 by April 1st. The workshop is limited to 10 students.

Students from out of town will need to book their own accommodation for their days in Los Angeles. The rooms at the Salton Sea start around $70 plus tax per night. Participants have the option of sharing rooms to cut the cost. Please contact us if that is an option you are interested in. Transportation to, at, and from the Salton Sea to LA is included in the workshop fee. However, students are free to use their own cars to get to the Salton Sea for increased independence and flexibility.


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All payments are non-refundable. If a participant cancels, the first two payments will become a credit towards future workshops.

ABOUT THE SALTON SEA:

The Salton Sea is California’s largest, most troubled lake and an all-American ecosystem gone haywire. 35 miles long and 15 miles wide, it lies 227 feet below sea level with no outlet and very thirsty neighbors. It offers a wide range of opportunities for amazing photographs.

Check out the following websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_Sea
http://www.gerdludwig.com/stories/salton-sea-daily-life
http://www.gerdludwig.com/stories/salton-sea-environment/

ABOUT GERD LUDWIG:

Born in Alsfeld, Germany, Gerd Ludwig studied Photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts (Folkwangschule) in Essen, Germany, and graduated in 1974. That 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 signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine in the early 1990s. His focus on environmental issues and 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, which was named the 2015 POYi Photo Book of the Year. This was followed in 2016 by minus 2/3, a book about flash technique, published in English, German, Italian and Chinese and in 2017 by his monograph Sleeping Cars (Lammerhuber), a personal examination of resting cars in Los Angeles.

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 the 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year and the 2014 Dr. Erich-Salomon Award, the highest lifetime achievement award in editorial photography in Germany. In 2015, he was the first German individual to receive the prestigious Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism.

FROM PAST STUDENTS:

“I learned more about photography in 5 days with Gerd Ludwig than I have over the past 10 years of trying to teach myself.”
– Taylor Turner, photographer & videographer

“Gerd demanded much but in return gave us his all, as did his assistant, Molly. He was a tough task master (with a terrific sense of humor, thankfully!) who was very generous with his knowledge. He is equally genuine with his compliments and his criticism. He pushed each of us a notch or two beyond where we, as photographers, had been before we met him.”
– Tamar Granovsky, photographer

“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 Zephyrus, 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

THE (NEARLY) INVISIBLE STROBE

October / 05 / 2017

Capturing images at high ISO’s has not only opened up new avenues for shooting in low light, but also turned handheld strobes into more powerful lighting tools. For two decades, Gerd Ludwig has been a master of using small TTL-flashes in unusual and unpredictable ways – to emphasize his message, maintain atmosphere, and create a personal vision, while simultaneously avoiding the obvious “strobe” look. In his presentation “Minus 2/3 – The (nearly) Invisible Strobe” at the upcoming PhotoPlusExpo in New York’s Javits Center on Thursday, October 26 at 4:30pm, Gerd will show a wide range of flashes uses, from utilizing them at high-speed sync in broad daylight to enhancing long exposures at night by firing them multiple times. He will share his methods and show examples both from his personal projects and his many years of photographing on assignments for National Geographic. Gerd will also share his secrets to surviving in today’s marketplace, using crowdfunding and social media (he has 330K Instagram followers) to get personal projects financed and seen by a wider audience.

You can learn more about PhotoPlus here

and register for Gerd Ludwig’s Session here

Pripyat, Ukraine

Gerd is honored to be stepping in for Jim Brandenburg in connection with his exhibition “A Pristine Vision” at this year’s PhotoKina in Cologne, Germany. Jim is an internationally renowned film maker, National Geographic photographer, environmentalist and has published numerous best sellers.

In Jim’s words:
“This week National Geographic Germany is sponsoring my retrospective exhibit ‘A Pristine Vision’ at Photokina, the world’s premier photo expo in Cologne, Germany. My plan was to do a presentation on Thursday, Sept. 22, but after climbing on a glacier recently in the Swiss Alps while filming for a new movie, an injury progressed into the need for a minor medical procedure which prevents international travel. I will share more about the new movie later. Gerd Ludwig, a National Geographic colleague with much experience and many stories will be filling my time slot.”

Gerd’s talk and image presentation titled “Winds of Change” will be held this Friday, September 23 at Passage 4/5 Stand A 31, beginning at 8pm. The presentation will follow an awards presentation for National Geographic Deutschland’s ‘Photo of the Year’ contest that Gerd helped judge this summer.

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Capturing quality images at high ISO’s has not only opened up new avenues for shooting in natural-light, it also has turned handheld strobes into powerful lighting tools. For more than twenty years, Gerd Ludwig has been a master of using small TTL-flashes in unusual and unpredictable ways – to emphasize his message, offer a sense of place, maintain atmosphere, and create a personal vision, while simultaneously avoiding the obvious “strobe” look. He will show a wide range of potential uses, from utilizing strobes at high-speed sync in broad daylight to enhancing extreme long exposures at night by firing the flash(es) multiple times. Throughout the lecture he will share his secrets and show examples both from his personal projects and his many years of photographing on assignment for National Geographic. Finally, Ludwig will share his secrets to surviving in today’s marketplace, using crowd-funding, social networking and new media to get personal projects financed and seen by a wider audience.

Sponsored by Canon USA, the 2-hour seminar takes place at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Thursday, October 20th, from 2-4pm.

For more information and to register: here.

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the most important event in the photo industry. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries, PDN PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.” target=”_blank”>http://www.photoplusexpo.com/conference/conference-schedule.shtml

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo is the most important event in the photo industry. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs in the photographic and imaging industries, PDN PhotoPlus Expo showcases the latest advances in photography. Attendees are able to explore exhibits and attend a wide variety of photography and imaging seminars.

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Gerd Ludwig is teaming up with former National Geographic Director of Photography Kent Kobersteen to teach a masterclass at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts from September 30 – October 5, 2016. They will also present a joint lecture the night before, on September 29.

Participants in the masterclass will be challenged to produce their very best work on subjects about which they feel strongly. Students will select a subject and shoot an essay during the week. The daily work will be critiqued by Ludwig and Kobersteen, and suggestions will be offered. In addition, Ludwig and Kobersteen will give presentations of their and other photographers’ work to make instructive points and to inspire.

Kent Kobersteen was Director of Photography and Senior Editor at National Geographic magazine from February 1998 until January 2005. He joined the National Geographic in 1983 as a picture editor. Kent currently conducts photographic workshops and lectures internationally on the philosophy, ethics, and business of photojournalism.

In the evening presentation on September 29, Gerd Ludwig will speak about several of his projects for the National Geographic Magazine and show his work. Kent Kobersteen will speak about the Geographic’s philosophy of photographic communication and present a show in which three National Geographic photographers show their work and talk about their working methods.

Lecture
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Cost: $10 members / $15 nonmembers
Information & tickets available here: http://sunvalleycenter.org/event-calendar/inside-national-geographic-kent-kobersteen-gerd-ludwig/

Masterclass
Friday, September 30 – Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Cost: $800 members / $850 nonmembers
Information & reservations here: http://sunvalleycenter.org/event-calendar/taking-next-step-advanced-photography-kent-kobersteen-gerd-ludwig/2016-09-30/

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With the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster approaching this April, The Long Shadow of Chernobyl will be exhibited at Galerie ZAHRADNIK in Prague from May 12 through July 10, 2016. 

Gerd’s captivating images of his nine visits to Chernobyl in 20 years tell tragic stories of the lives of the victims, the Exclusion Zone and the abandoned city of Pripyat – and he ventured deeper into the belly of the beast than any Western still photographer, repeatedly documenting the destroyed reactor #4, which will soon disappear under a New Safe Confinement.

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Gerd Ludwig will be serving on the Jury for the Alfred Fried Photography Award for the third year in a row. The Fried Award is given annually by The Photographische Gesellschaft (PHG) in Austria and Edition Lammerhuber in partnership with UNESCO, the Austrian Parliament, the Austrian Parliamentary Reporting Association and the International Press Institute (IPI). The award recognizes the world’s best photograph on the theme of peace.

Submission for the award is free of charge and the submission deadline is June 1, 2016. The Alfred Fried Award Ceremony takes place this year on September 20. The winning photographer will receive an award of 10,000 euros, and the winning photograph will be displayed at the Austrian Parliament building for a year. At the end of the year, it will then be added to the permanent collection of the Parliament. Additionally, five photographers will be selected to receive the Alfred Fried Peace Medal.

For more information on the award and submission process, visit http://www.friedaward.com.

Above: Photographer Arthur van Beveren was one of the 2015 Alfred Fried Medal winners for his work “Regelbau.”

You can follow Arthur on Instagram at: @arthurvanb

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The Photo Society’s Image Review, an online portfolio review platform with National Geographic photographers, was recently launched with much acclaim. The Image Review is a unique opportunity for advanced amateur and professional photographers to get constructive feedback from top National Geographic pros via state-of-the-art video conferencing technology, eliminating issues of travel cost & time to get your work reviewed. Review sessions are now available, including some upcoming spots with Gerd Ludwig.

The Image Review FAQ: http://thephotosociety.org/the-image-review/faqs/

Information and schedule: http://thephotosociety.org/ir-photographers/gerd-ludwig/