Each year, a group of professional and aspiring photographers travel from across the globe to participate in the Missouri Photo Workshop (MPW), a photography workshop that has been promoting excellence in photojournalism since 1949. This year, the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) had a strong presence at the workshop with a record number of SOJC participants at MPW.
Assistant Professor Torsten Kjellstrand, student William Saunders, and alumni Alisha Jucevic, BA ’14, and Mason Trinca, BS ’13, all traveled to Missouri to take part in the workshop.
Following MPW’s 67-year-long tradition of documenting small town America, this year’s workshop participants traveled to the rural community of Perryville, Mo., in search of a compelling story to share through photographs. The students of the Perryville workshop spent the week finding a story, pitching ideas to a faculty team and spending time with their subjects. At the end of the workshop, the various collections of photos were produced into a book and a website, as well as a gallery showing for the town of Perryville. SOJC’s William Saunders contributed to the end product by capturing the world of five-year-old Noah Pecaut in a series of nine photos titled “The World According to Noah.”
The workshop follows MPW founder Cliff Edom’s vision of ideal truth and integrity in which no photo is staged, reenacted or reshot. This method of photography is the basis for the National Geographic tradition as well as of American documentary photography. MPW faculty and participants represent some of the worlds most inspiring and accomplished visual storytellers, including photographers who have worked with National Geographic, The LA Times and The Washington Post. The distinguished program and faculty makes admittance to MPW highly competitive.
“Going to Missouri gave me a new direction as a teacher of academia. MPW proves that photojournalism can be applied to real people and shows that the lives of ordinary people matter. Its honest; you can trust that what you see is real,” says SOJC faculty attendee Torsten Kjellstrand, who participated in MPW-50 as a student and returned this year as an instructor.
The Missouri Photo Workshop shares in the SOJC’s dedication to sharing the fundamentals of photo research, shooting and editing to those who hope to carry on these values and techniques in the future. The SOJC showed great success at this year’s workshop and hopes to continue to have a strong presence at future Missouri Photo Workshops.
Story by Nicole Rideout ’16