Make a difference while making photographs of a lifetime.
Join NGO photojournalist Rick D’Elia for a week of “on assignment” experience in real-world documentary situations photographing the important work of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Uganda, a center-point of NGO relief and development activity that encompasses a whole spectrum of issues and needs. Then adjourn to two of Uganda’s most important national parks for the opportunity to photograph some of Africa’s most amazing animals including mountain gorillas, lions, leopards and elephants.
In the first week, experience the intensity of being on international assignment for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in a relief and development environment, working with the organization’s staff and clients to photograph a week in the life of their projects. Students will be partnered with an organization that is making a difference for Ugandans in a variety of humanitarian missions including orphanage operation, education and healthcare.
In this workshop, students will grow their documentary skills and learn about using their talent for social service. Since documentary photography is more of an individual sport, students will work individually or, at most, in pairs to document an organization’s work. Every effort will be made to place students with the organization that most appeals to their own goals. Over the course of five or six intense days of shooting and coaching, Rick will guide students in working closely with people in third world environments to tell visual stories in a way that will make a difference in the lives of their subjects. Students will assemble an essay of images to present to the group on our last day in Kampala.
Not only will students improve their work during the workshop but, will produce images that will make a difference for the participating NGOs and the Ugandans that they serve. These powerful photographs will enable organizations to create an effective and sustained message that not only creates greater awareness and attention, but enables the organization to build support through donations and grants, allowing them to continue serving the needs of the people in their programs. Whether a student intends to pursue relief and development photojournalism or would simply like to improve the impact of personal projects closer to home, this workshop will help students climb to the next level.
A word of caution: Making a difference feels good! Meeting and working with some of the most amazing people who work very hard to make a difference in these places is likely to be an emotional experience that not only to lights a creative fire like never before, but launches friendships and professional relationships that will last a lifetime. It is the nature of this type of intense experience.
We will then take the workshop on the road for unforgettable encounters with African wildlife in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, taking a ranger-guided gorilla trek to observe the famous mountain gorillas up close. Next, we’ll move on to Queen Elizabeth National Park for the opportunity to photograph lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, and many other uniquely African wildlife over 6 days of game drives and excursions. The safari portion is intended to be less hectic, and the more relaxed portion of the trip. We will discuss relevant subjects and provide guidance in an effort to help participants make better photographs. This will be your time to experience some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet.
“Good photography is painful,” Rick has been heard telling students who resisted rising at 4:30 am for the best light of the day. Our goal is getting into position when the conditions are most favorable for great images. We will make arrangements to be out making photographs as early and late as Uganda Wildlife Authority permits to provide the best conditions possible. This will likely provide plenty of midday time to recharge, download and edit your images. The gorilla trek into Bwindi Impenetrable Forest could last three hours, but could also last seven depending upon the actual location of the gorilla troupe. You must be fit enough to handle the walk.
Kampala is a bustling, friendly and ethnically diverse capital city with a population of more than 1 million Ugandans and many NGO workers from around the world. There are a number of great restaurants of international and Ugandan fare as well as places to experience the local culture such as the enormous Owino Market or the cultural performances of the Ndere Troupe. As large African cities go, Kampala is a pretty safe place to walk around in the daylight and even in many parts at night.
Northern Uganda is emerging from a 20-year conflict that devastated four northern districts and has drawn many agencies to aid its recovery. In the process, journalists have also paid greater attention in this region to document this transition, leaving other issues in other regions including the Kampala area, overlooked in documentary terms. This workshop not only seeks to assist photographers in their photographic growth but to assist these organizations in gaining a voice in the world.
At Bwindi, the park covers an area of 321 square kilometers and is located on the edge of the Western Rift Valley. This mysterious and awesome forest is a true African jungle, and is so called because the dense undergrowth, vines and other vegetation make it almost "impenetrable". Huge trees are festooned with creepers and plants such as mistletoe and orchids and giant thickets of bamboo thrive in the humid atmosphere. The forest is a sanctuary for almost half the world's population of mountain gorillas, the rarest race of gorillas. On each trek, the time taken and the terrain vary with the movements of the gorillas. Once you sight the gorillas, you are permitted to view them for an hour. Observing these great primates is a moving and exciting experience never to be forgotten.
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in the western area of the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, near the Rwenzori Mountains, or "Mountains of the Moon" which Livingstone had to cross in his quest to find the source of the White Nile. The park covers almost 2000 square kilometers, and includes a remarkable variety of ecosystems from semi-deciduous tropical forest to green meadows, savannah, crater lakes and swamps. There is a wide range of wildlife in the park, including lions, giraffe, leopards, elephants, hippos, buffaloes, hyenas, and a host of smaller game, small primates and over 500 bird species. Activities include game drives, a launch trip on the majestic Kazinga Channel, chimpanzee trekking at the nearby Kyambura Gorge, as well as guided nature and bird walks.
In an effort to provide enough attention to each participant, the workshop is open to a limited number of people. Age limit is 18.
Our goal is to maintain a low student-to-instructor ratio; up to two assistant instructors will be added as needed. We believe in daily editing sessions with our students between shoots to fully optimize the best shooting hours of the day. We do not just look at your top daily selections but we work with you while you make those selections to help you make adjustments in the way you shoot and compose your images and in the way you approach your project.
In NGO photography, as in most publication work, captioning of final images is required. Be sure to bring a notebook to gather names, ages and other basic information of your subjects so that you may attach this information to the final images. This helps the NGO to use your images in their proper context while respecting the dignity of your subjects by identifying them by name.
This workshop is intended to result in strong photographs that will be invaluable to the NGOs that agreed to participate. As a result, students must have a minimum working knowledge of the photographic process, the manual functions of your camera gear, working photo-storytelling skills and your photo editing software. This allows the student to calmly focus attention on the image and telling the stories of these amazing people.
The conditions on this workshop can be challenging due to the nature of developing world environment. Although this is not a luxury trip, we try to secure mid-level accommodations so that students will have a sort of refuge from a hard day in the field.
We will be working in Africa and as Rick learned very well while living there, ‘Africa is in control’. The pace of life and culture is very different and as much as we use his experience in Africa and elsewhere to plan our program, situations on the ground may cause alterations in schedule. We will make every effort to ensure that the experience is as good, if not better and more effective for any changes that may arise.
You may register by mail with a check or money order sent to Laura Martin 6834 South 40th Lane Phoenix AZ 85041. In person, please call at (602) 561-9334, Rick D’Elia 480-452-5723, D’Elia Photographic, P.O. Box 19354, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268, to set up an appointment at your convenience. We will also accept payments by credit card via PayPal at D’Elia Photographic. If you wish to use this method contact Rick and he will send you an invoice via PayPal. We cannot hold space in a workshop without a deposit. Once your deposit has been received, you will receive an email confirmation. Additional information, including an invoice will be mailed once the minimum number of participants is reached. Final payment of your balance may be made by check or money order, payable in U.S. funds.
*Gorilla permits have limited availability and must be paid for at time of booking. This means the specific date is not guaranteed until participants make their bookings with this workshop. The sooner we are able to book our entire group the sooner we will be able to set out specific dates in July for the entire program. If you are considering joining this workshop please get in touch with Rick and Laura as soon as possible.