This morning began, as did our last ADV workshop, with a warm reunion. Our students from the October seminar in Khorog had arrived in Dushanbe in the evening yesterday and this morning we were all smiles. At 9 o’clock we got into it: first checking out cameras and then we watched they Story Show from last year. It was great to see their faces as they saw how great the work was from last year and we let them know that if there was a high expectation for this week’s work, it was because of the standard they had set themselves.
Once we all got into work mode, it was time to shake the dust out of the gears and get them working again. Some of the students in Khorog had been photographing the last few months but some of them from further out hadn’t had great access to the cameras (something we are problem solving within the local programs). Fred and Sarah began with a fast-paced and rigorous review of the technical material we covered last year and before we knew it, lunchtime was upon us. We stopped barely long enough to eat and then we headed out to our location. We had a lot of ground to cover and these few days are going to be over before we know it.
Rudaki Park is a memorial park on the main thoroughfare of Dushanbe that boasts numerous monuments, fountains, sculptures, beautiful landscaping AND the tallest flagpole in the world. The park was named to honor the Persian poet Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki, an Ismaili poet born in Tajikistan who lived during the 10th century CE. The students were tasked with exploring the nature of the park as a photographic theme but that didn’t stop them from making some wonderful images of park-goers as well. Children playing in the fountains, women in colorful clothes, and a memorial to the parks’ namesake were subject to the lens as the students roamed and practiced seeing and making photographs.
After we had all roasted in the heat for a while, and some of us had some ice cream from park vendors, we headed back to the classroom to download and edit their pictures. In the beginner class each group instructor coaches the students through this process. In the advanced session however, our objective is not only to push their photographic abilities but to also expand their grasp of the entire photographic workflow.
So tonight when we returned, and at the end of a full day, we spent another hour going over downloading, importing images into Lightroom and renaming files. I’ll spare you the boring details of the process and say only that file management is an important part of the photographer’s skill set. In the digital age of photography, the photographer need not only make good images, he or she must also be able to manage all of their files, develop the images, and to deliver appropriate files to various clients for use in print or on the web. Our goal in the Advanced Workshop is to give the students all of the tools they’ll need to be real professionals.
A saying often attributed to Rudaki:
“There is no happiness in the world
greater than the meeting of friends.
There is no sadness to our heart
greater than the absence of good friends.”