Photo by Nina Greipel

About

Each October, as leaves begin to turn across Kentucky, the Mountain Workshops visit a different Kentucky town for an adventure in documentary photojournalism. Working professionals from across the country and faculty from Western Kentucky University gather with participants to explore the richness of the community, the beauty of landscape and the possibilities and challenges of visual storytelling. The 38th annual Workshops were in Owensboro in 2013, and planning is underway for the 2014 edition.

At the Workshops, participants fan across a region, documenting a week in the life of the residents in four disciplines:

  • The Photojournalism Workshop focuses on still photography, as coaches and participants explore individual character, the give and take of relationships, the deeply-felt sense of belonging to a place and the pride of participating in a shared heritage.
  • The Picture Editing Workshop draws on the design sensibilities and electronic publishing expertise of its coaches to help participants learn to weave photographs and text together into memorable narratives.
  • The Multimedia Workshop challenges participants to gather still images, record sound and shoot video, and then use cutting-edge digital and online tools to spin all these threads into stories that captivate.
  • The Time Lapse Workshop inspires participants to strengthen their sense of aesthetics in the evolving technological field of cameras and equipment. Participants learn techniques in motion and static time-lapse technology and discover ways to effectively incorporate these skills into their storytelling approach.

The location, dates and details for the 2014 Workshops will be announced in the coming months. Look for updates on our Application page, on our blog, on Twitter and Facebook, or contact us, for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions





QUESTION

What do tuition fees for each workshop cover?

ANSWER

Tuition covers educational costs only. You will need to pay for your hotel, travel and food costs during your stay.


QUESTION

Do I need to bring a laptop?

ANSWER

The Workshops have a network of computers for participant use. If you are in the multimedia or picture editing groups you will have a computer set up for you with all the necessary software. If you are in the shooting workshop you will view your work on your coach’s workstation. Participants write photo captions and stories in our writing area, which is provided with a number of shared workstations. All the images from the shooting portion of the workshop are archived on our servers, but if you wish to archive your own images and take them with you, you should bring a laptop and card reader and download your images throughout the week.


QUESTION

Do I need to bring an external hard drive?

ANSWER

Whichever workshop you enroll in, if you wish to take your content home with you, you will need to bring a hard drive. We recommend at least 500GB of free space for multimedia participants, and 50GB for the shooting workshop.


QUESTION

Do participants need to provide their own equipment?

ANSWER

We expect participants to have their own still camera bodies, lenses and flashes. For many years Nikon and Canon representatives have been at the Workshops with a wide range of loaner gear for still shooters, but nothing is guaranteed. Canon and Nikon provide DSLR bodies for those in the multimedia workshop who need them. A limited amount of audio gear is provided by our Sennheiser sponsors, and Manfrotto supplies a limited number of tripods for participant use. Every year the Workshops depend on sponsor support, for which we are deeply grateful. However, we encourage all participants to bring as much of their own equipment as possible.


QUESTION

Do I need a car?

ANSWER

Yes. Covering your story and shooting features will require that you’re able to travel to different locations in the county throughout the week.


QUESTION

Who will the coaches be?

ANSWER

Each year we select coaches based on their professional experience and their ability to mentor participants and support their learning and growth. We usually announce the final roster of coaches about a month before the Workshops begin, often sooner. You’ll find the announcement on our web site (http://www.mountainworkshops.org/apply) and also on our Facebook page.


QUESTION

Do I get to pick my coach?

ANSWER

No. We pair coaches and participants based on a variety of factors. You will be assigned to one coach, but you are also encouraged to meet with other coaches during the week and take advantage of their insights and suggestions.


QUESTION

Do I have to find my own story?

ANSWER

No. We have story researchers scouring the county well in advance of the workshop.


QUESTION

How are stories assigned?

ANSWER

Names, descriptions, and contact information for story subjects are piled in a hat, and each participant randomly draws an assignment at the opening of the workshops. (Be sure to watch our “About” video.) After drawing your assignment from the hat you will discuss the story with your coach and then go out and try to secure the cooperation of your subject. Every person has a story, and the faculty and staff of the Workshops come together to help you find a compelling way to tell that story.