Travel Photography Workshop in Nicaragua: A guest post from Participant Denis Grenier!
Since I got seriously back to photography, Landscape is a passion. I took a week in Grand Teton and Yellowstone to get my own version of these shots you can see on the Web. I spent great time over there. I came back with nice pictures but was disappointed by the ratio of nice pictures to dollars spent. It was time for me to think about a professionally led photo workshop. Although I am more interested in Landscape than Humanitarian project, I got hooked by Colby Brown project to use photography to help impoverished communities. At now 53 years old, I was asking myself how I could give back, how I could pay forward. The Giving Lens vision along with Colby’s reputation was all what was needed for me to get on it.
With not much of an agenda about what to expect personally from this workshop and regarding our interactions with Kathy Adams, the Empowerment International crew or the kids they support, I just went there hoping to benefit from this new experience and give a little bit back to the world while spending a week with people as interested in photography as I am. During this workshop I thought that I would learn a lot about photography. That, I did. But surprisingly, I did learn a whole lot more about me!
The photo critique session made such an impression on me. When Colby or Michael noticed good aspects of a picture, the pleasure I felt was immense and I promised myself to integrate these good techniques in the future. When they identified some weaknesses, I agreed with them each and every time. Today, when I look through the viewfinder, these same potential weaknesses glow red, warning me and alerting me of potential pitfalls.
In the pictures that I showed that evening, there was this picture of a little girl in a really nice dress, probably too nice for the occasion. She was outside her house, a house made of rusted corrugated metal sheet on a wooden structure. Sitting on dry mud with her hair perfectly combed she glanced at me. That night, I remember clearly the emotion I felt when Colby, Michael and others where commenting on that picture.
This picture was telling an awesome story. It was telling the story of proud Nicaraguan people that live in very harsh conditions and nonetheless hope for a better future. This picture is now hanging on my wall and I still feel the emotion that came to me the day I saw her in Granada. So what did I learn? I learned that it is so satisfying to me to tell a story, a vivid, screaming story. I still do Landscape, I love being out in the wild at sunrise. However, telling a story is so important to me now. Today, the life that I capture in the eyes of a person I connect with is brighter than the setting sun.
I am proud of the work I have done with these kids over that too short week in July 2012. I gave a little; I got back so much more.
A note from the Operations Manager: In a recent exhibition in Denis’ hometown in Quebec, 43 talented photographers presented their works. It was this same picture of the little girl in Nicaragua that stole the night and was awarded the first prize.
to apply for our February TGL Trip back to Nicaragua, head over to the Workshops page!
Three spots still available!
to see more of Denis’ work, head to his website, http://denisgrenier.com/