I am back from a week-long trip to Berlin, Germany for the first session of the VII Photo Masterclass with mixed feelings of happiness and anxiety. This will be a two-parter as I'd like to talk about my Masterclass experience first and then write my love letter to Berlin, a city that spoke to me so much in the seven days I spent there. The VII photographers I met last week were extremely generous with their time and knowledge as they guided 21 participants through some very intense long-term photography projects, including myself (three were absent due to assignments, I believe). I am back with a much clearer idea of how I'm going to continue my project as well as battling the limitations I've unintentionally set for myself. I have been assigned to what I think is the perfect VII Master to help me with this and I'm very excited.
Amongst the many amazing photographers we met was Kai Wiedenhöfer whom up until Monday had his important work on the Syrian war featuring portraits of injured survivors displayed on the Berlin Wall. He walked us through his process of starting and finishing his project and offered some very valuable advice especially about intent, which is something I am taking to heart. I often find myself too consumed with style and aesthetics without considering what it is about the project that I am really trying to communicate. He also kindly signed my book with a nice little message. It still feels surreal. What an honor, really.
What excites me the most is the fact that I can look forward to seeing twenty three extremely diverse projects unfold within the next six months. All of us came from different parts of the world. We all brought different ideas and concerns with us that opened up the world for me quite a bit. Even though our respective communities are inherently facing one major issue at the moment - that is the issue of change and accepting that change - it is unfolding in ways very specific to our environment and that is so interesting to learn and understand.
We will all convene again in Berlin for another week in December. I am looking forward to it. For now, time to get to work!