Photojournalists travel to Somerset for annual Mountain Workshops

Shane Wood

WKU photojournalism majors last week spent five days with Pulitzer Prize finalists, winners and other prestigious professionals at the 36th Mountain Workshops.

The Mountain Workshops, held each year in small towns throughout south-central Kentucky or northern Tennessee, took place this year in Somerset.

The workshop consists of three concurrently running programs in the fields of photojournalism, multimedia and picture editing.

Associate professor Tim Broekema ran the web production team, social media team, and assisted in coordinating the workload of the facility for the 2011 Mountain Workshops.

Broekema has been a part of mountain workshop for the past 27 years and described the experience as “life-changing.”

“One thing you can get out of the workshop is memories,” he said. “Once you experience (the workshops), you don’t forget.”

London junior Sammy Jo Hester described her first Mountain experience as “intense.”

“It’s a lot to take in,” Hester said. “At the same time, you try to push yourself to be the best that you can be and come out of the workshop a changed photographer.”

Photojournalism, multimedia and picture editing majors across the nation come to the Mountain Workshops.

Photojournalism majors draw a story from a hat and are teamed up with a coach to help them with their story. The point of the story is to get an emotional connection from the audience through the pictures.

The photographers spend most of their time shooting and interviewing people for their stories. At the end of the day, coaches help photographers with their material.

Coaches at the mountain workshops aren’t paid, even though they are some of the most talented and well-known professionals in photojournalism.

“I think that the coaches come to the workshops because they believe in the students,” Hester said.

Adairville junior Crystin Faenza said that she was “extremely nervous” about all the professional photographers and coaches that were at the Workshops.

“Once I met my coach, Larry Price, I relaxed a bit because he is a pretty chill guy,” Faenza said.

Price is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who won his first Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography for his coverage of the 1980 coup in Liberia. Price’s photographs have appeared in many national and international magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, National Geographic and LIFE.

Faenza said that the Workshops are about learning from mistakes and being taught by professionals.

“The point of the workshops is about growing as a photojournalist,” Faenza.

To visit the 2011 Mountain Workshops blog and stories, see