How Are Our Workshop Faculties Selected?

We are often asked about the faculties, for they represent many of the best in the field — and a divergence of experience, styles and specialties.

The concept of team teaching is unique to the Summit series of workshop and every workshop has at least eight faculty members which include both top rated working photographers, editors from major newspapers, magazines and book publishers along with curators and critics of serious photography.

They are selected not only for their expertise, but for their ability to teach well and a love of photography — which keeps them usually willing to talk with the attendees into the late hours of the evening.  We often fly faculty members in from far off places around the world including Paris, Moscow and London.  Several years ago, we called James Hill, a Brit who is a contract photographer for the New York Times and winner of a Pulitzer for his pictures from the Iraq front lines.

We made connections on his satellite phone in Afganistan and began to talk of Photography at the Summit.  “Yes, I’ve wanted to attend this workshop for several years,” he said before we were able to interrupt to say we weren’t trying to sell him a place as a student — we wanted him on the faculty!  He has joined our faculty twice since and was an unusually effective teacher.

So how are the instructors recruited.  The answer is — we mostly don’t have to recruit.  Our regulars plus newcomers every year actually campaign to join the workshop faculty.  We take care of them well, but they love the atmosphere, the camraderie and meeting new students and participants.

They all want to come back and we have received calls a year in advance asking if they would be selected for the next Summit or Sports Workshop.  But as much as they love the faculty group, the facilities and the atmosphere, they love to meet and get to know the students.

And the editors in the group always find new talent and workshop participants have left with everything from a book contract to an exhibition booking to a major magazine assignment.

Two students years ago are now staff photographers at Sports Illustrated and another has been a major contributor to Golf Digest.  An amateur attending her first ever workshop had one of her pictures selected as the Photo of the Month in National Geographic magazine and website and another was featured in American Photo magazine.  The networking is unlike any other workshop.

As Jay Maisel, who teaches at a variety of workshops around the country says, “These are the best workshops anywhere.”

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