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Participant (IV) Review of the One on One workshop with GMB Akash

January 21, 2016

Introducing Russell Latshaw, participant of ‘One on One workshop with GMB Akash’.

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‘Russell Latshaw is based in the USA. After completing the course in Compelling Image (I teach street photography online at The Compelling Image: Street Photography) he surprised me with some outstanding images. Then he decided to take his photography passion to the next level. That is when he decided to come to Bangladesh and take part in this exclusive photography program. After completing the One on One workshop with me I looked at his portfolio production. It is most worthy to publish on our school website. His ability to get closer to people enabled him to get some excellent results. He captured light and colour brilliantly into aesthetic compositions and produced some detail work that is amazing. Russell Latshaw has clearIy progressed and I wish him much success’ – GMB Akash

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One on one Workshop review by Russell Latshaw:

Video Interview of Russell Latshaw:

“I became generally aware of Akash as an elite photographer.  This probably has something to do with my personally admiring his photographs, because of whatever subjective reasons or objective standards…  I can’t say for sure when or where I first became aware of his photography, although a good guess is that my first awareness has something to do with awards, publications or interviews.  My awareness of The Compelling Image came from a book I had run across on available light; the author, Don Marr, was teaching a course there.  I recall being somewhat surprised to find Akash teaching there also.  My experience with Akash’s course was enjoyable and favorable, which led to my following his websites, and awareness of his photography workshops.  The “one on one” workshop outlined online seemed to me likely to be an excellent value for the time and money; and it was.  It was also an excellent travel or cultural experience.  It was good hanging out with Akash and some of his posse also.

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I would say that the best “thing” would be the rather vague concept of “learning curve effects”.  If you get on a bike 10,000 times getting feedback all along the way from someone who knows what they are doing, you are going to get better.  The same for photography.  Other more specific things follow from going down the learning curve as well as feedback, such as careful attention to critical focus on the eyes in my case.  A second rather vague ‘thing” is to walk through the world with a strong psychological frame and personal reality.  Such frame or reality would be that of a confident photographer, making no apologies, with a belief not to be shaken by others, a belief that you are doing something important and worthwhile.  In the United States and Europe the cultural programming is different, something like “o you’re a photographer, you should be ashamed of yourself, you owe the subjects money, you’re a paparazzi or one step above pervert…”  Many subjects or aggressive people out there seeing you hold a camera will seek to impose this almost hypnotic frame or belief system on you, or make this not only their reality but your reality.  They the judge, you the judged.  Like the early women hung in the United States for being witches; probably they themselves thought they were guilty of being witches, even though there’s no such thing as witches.  The general idea is “stand up and hold your ground” to this stuff.  Like Akash when they were throwing sand at him or I should say me…

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I think that vision comes from inside more than a workshop, and there won’t be too many Bangladesh faces or scenes in the ordinary course of my general photography.  That said, there was nonetheless one experience that stands out in my mind that reinforces some beliefs or helps me to say more clearly at least what my vision is not.  There was a wedding photographer working outside the hotel in Dhaka, a different one from the one Akash mentioned to me.  I guess they do a lot of weddings at The White House.  The photographer was using a long lens, dressed stylishly, putting on a command presence like a movie director, 2 assistants, light stands, a soft box going off, etc.  In short there were all sorts of superficial shows going on to convince the loving couple they were employing a successful and excellent photographer who really knows what he is doing, from whom they would be getting excellent photographs.  I would guess they will be very happy with their product and feel like they got their money’s worth.  Among other technical points, I would say that the soft box was being improperly used because it was positioned too far away from the couple for the light to be soft.  The actual photos produced could be nowhere near what is possible there in a land of beautiful available light.  I don’t want to be a photographer like that, with everything all gamed.  I did miss a learning experience.  Instead of feeling superior talking to myself as above, I should have asked myself, “How would Akash look around here to find some nice light, a nice background, a nice composition…

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There are 2 types of people: normal and not normal.  Bangladesh logistics aren’t for normal people in the United States or Europe.  And if they are going to partake in some crazy adventure, they are going to want some sort of validation with which to impress their normal friends, such as climbing Mt. Everest or completing a marathon.  For someone not “normal” and also willing and able to deal with difficult Bangladesh logistics, the answer is “yes I would recommend it”.  As to why, what seems bad or difficult about Bangladesh provides the ground for a learning experience and a workshop that competition simply can’t or won’t match for the money in terms of (1) availability of elite photographer, (2) availability of interesting subjects to photograph, and (3) quality of light.” – Russell Latshaw

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6 Day One-on-One Workshop with GMB Akash: The focus of this customized program is to not only teach photography but to give students a chance to fully experience a career that is often misunderstood. While media and films have glamorized the lives of photographers, the reality is that this is one of the world’s most demanding and difficult jobs, both physically and mentally. We have designed GMB Akash’s workshops to give young photographers an opportunity to experience the true nature of international photojournalism, street photography and documentary photography. No other workshop or seminar gives students the ability to work one on one with a professional photojournalist in a real world environment. Each student will have exclusive access to GMB Akash through the duration of the workshop, giving them the opportunity to take advantage of his work experience, teachings, and methodologies. Due to the intimate nature of these workshops and the real world working environment, each student can expect to learn and experience much more than they would during one year in a standard university photography program. Each workshop is six days long and set in locations that are rich in culture with a wealth of photographic and documentary subject matter.

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This program covers a vast array of subjects including photographing in adverse conditions, gaining your subjects trust and adapting photographic ethics. Night and low light photography. Working without a flash or tripod. The digital darkroom, editing and workflow in Lightroom. Tips and tricks for “saving” a photograph or putting the finishing touches on a “perfect” photograph. How to work with your camera and use its many functions. Camera and lens field care. Captioning images and the five W’s (Who, What, When, Where and Why.) Working with editors, deadlines, assignments, freelance projects etc. Building and presenting a story online/digital light boxes and personal websites. Copyright information and how to use it in the real world. Preparing for the future and impending changes in the industry.

To apply for ‘One on One workshop’ email to akashimages@gmail.com

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