Directed Study With Ed Kashi

Fall 08 semester I was given an great opportunity to work with a great Photojournalist/ Documentary Photographer–Ed Kashi. I have been inspired and have followed Ed’s works far before I moved up to San Francisco to pursue my Masters degree in photography. His use of light, choice of subject matter, and ability to visually tell a story really attracted me to his work. With the type of work he does I didn’t think it ever be possible to meet him, or even work with him, enabling me to pick his brain and learn from one of the best. After moving to San Francisco I heard through the Academy that Ed was going to be giving a 2-day workshop at Rayko photo center in San Francisco. Here was my opportunity to meet with him and here him lecture; maybe my only chance to ask questions and show my work.

I was able to meet with him and show my work which really moved him. This was my foot in the door for future conversations. After a successful presentation of my midpoint to the review board at school, it was time for me to start my directed study portion of my studies. I am required to find photographers who work inspires me and invite them to mentor me for a semester–directing and guiding my thesis work for the semester. I sent out to emails: Ed Kashi, and James Nachtwey. Ed responded, a little unsure of how it would. He was going to be in the field overseas working. After explaining the “cyberclassroom” and it’s endless possibilities at the school, he agreed. I was so f*@king excited. It was a great experience working with Ed. The knowledge that I gained from his direction was priceless. We both saw my work grow throughout the semester. We both agreed that we learned from each other. 
So, moral of the story, go after the people who inspire you. Ask them to review your work, talk to you over the phone, or meet with you in person. If you’re at a school push a directed study program and go after these pros. Have the school help you. I am so happy I did. And my work shows it.
With the Spring 09 semester upon me I knew that I needed another photographer to work with. I didn’t want to give up on trying to get James Nachtwey, the best war photographer, or anti-war photographer as he likes to called, still living. Aside from Ed, he was the man who really made me want to shoot to help bring problems to the surface and try to make a difference with my photography. His use of light, compassion, storytelling, and ability to be a ghost really moved me. 
I tried emailing him again. This time I enlisted Will Mosgrove, MFA Director at the Academy, to help me. Will had once met with him and shared a conversation where Jim showed interest in working with an Academy photographer. With Will’s help I finally received a response. He was a little hesitant to taking a long term teaching assignment, and agreed to consider it  because the idea intrigued him so much. Like working with Ed, this will be an opportunity of a lifetime. One in which I plan to take full advantage of.
To see Ed and Jim’s work visit their sites:
Thanks Will for your help. Thanks Ed for everything you taught me.

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