Alexia Winners at Eddie Adams Part 1: Monica Jorge

Monica Jorge, center, with her team at The Eddie Adams Workshop.

Monica Jorge, center, with her team at The Eddie Adams Workshop. Photo by Michael Swensen

Each year, The Eddie Adams Workshop draws 100 of the best young photographic talent worldwide for four intense days of photography, camaraderie and inspiration in upstate New York. Top photographic minds serve as coaches and speakers to these students. The workshop is tuition free and some of todays most prominant photographers have passed through it since its founding 30 years ago by Eddie Adams, the workshop’s name sake, including many Alexia grantees: Ami Vitale, Greg Latza, Melissa Lyttle, Sarah Ann Jump, Matt Eich, Daniel Etter, Michael Santiago, Shahria Sharmin, Craig Fritz, Annie Flanagan, Matt Black, Mary F. Calvert, Darcy Padilla, among many others. These are all photographers who are now among the greats or on their way to being there.

This year, for the first time ever, both The Alexia Professional Winner and The Alexia Student Winner were selected to attend. In this two part series, we are going to learn what the workshop meant for them, and see some of the incredible work they produced on almost no sleep.

Monica Jorge, with her camera. Photo by Michael Swensen

Monica Jorge, with her camera. Photo by Michael Swensen

Monica Jorge, recipient of The Alexia 2017 First Place Student Grant was on Team Mint. Jorge’s Eddie Adams project was on care-taking, which is the same theme she is exploring in her Alexia Grant project, My Grandfather’s Keeper. This is what she had to say about the experience:

Alexia Foundation: Describe the Eddie Adams Workshop.

Monica Jorge: The Eddie Adams Workshop was more than two weeks ago and I am still trying to properly articulate my experience on the farm. It is exciting, inspiring, confusing, exhausting, liberating, and at times felt like an out of body experience…

It is a unique place with amazing like-minded individuals from all around the world and with vast and ranging experiences who collaborate in a tiny town in Upstate New York for four days and it was something that was an honor to be a part of.

MONTICELLO, NY, USA - 10.07.17 - SULLIVAN ARC:  Denise Daniels, a SullivanArc caretaker, secures a helmet onto Patricia, a resident of the SullivanArc home in Monticello, New York, October 7, 2017.  SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency that provides support to over 1,100 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. (MONICA JORGE)

Denise Daniels, a SullivanArc caretaker, secures a helmet onto Patricia, a resident of the SullivanArc home in Monticello, New York, October 7, 2017. SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency that provides support to over 1,100 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. (MONICA JORGE)

Alexia Foundation: What did you learn there?

Monica Jorge: I went to EAW in search of inspiration, clarity, and to make new friends. I wouldn’t classify it as a workshop where you will step away with new technical skills but rather you will learn about life and who you want to be as a photographer and as a journalist and what mark you want to leave in the world.

For the length of the workshop you are surrounded by some of the most inspirational and high achieving photographers in the industry and you are given the opportunity to hear their stories, often times from when they were students at EAW, and what they have learned throughout their journey. It makes you think about what story you hope to tell young photographers 10, 20, 30 years from now.

There is a lot to take in but I think I left with amazing new friends and a sense of direction that I wasn’t sure of before I entered those doors. It made me contemplate more seriously where I should focus my attention in my work.

Linda, also known around the home as "Grandma", stares out the window in the kitchen of the SullivanArc home where she lives in Monticello, New York, October 7, 2017.  SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency that provides support to over 1,100 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. (MONICA JORGE)

Linda, also known around the home as “Grandma”, stares out the window in the kitchen of the SullivanArc home where she lives in Monticello, New York, October 7, 2017. SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency that provides support to over 1,100 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. (MONICA JORGE)

Alexia Foundation: Why was this such a special experience?

Monica Jorge: You essentially don’t sleep for four days. I think most people averaged about 10 hours of sleep, total. For those days you see your team leaders and fellow students through every waking moment, beginning at 6am and ending usually around 3am or 4am. I met many people for the first time at EAW and now feel like I have known them for years – I talk regularly on the phone with one of my teammates now about photography, the industry, and anything under the sun.

For me, going through EAW was often intense and I felt like myself and my teammates really came together to make it a memorable four days for all of us, through every up and down, and every moment of confidence and insecurity. While we have the opportunity to meet important editors and industry professionals, many of the speakers emphasized that the individuals we were sitting next to will be the people we are working with years down the road and we were given the special privilege of being able to foster strong friendships with each other during this unique weekend. Also, the food is amazing.

Denise Daniels, a SullivanArc caretaker, administers medicine to Bernard, a resident of the SullivanArc home, through a gastrostomy tube in Monticello, New York, October 7, 2017.  SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency that provides support to over 1,100 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. (MONICA JORGE)

Denise Daniels, a SullivanArc caretaker, administers medicine to Bernard, a resident of the SullivanArc home, through a gastrostomy tube in Monticello, New York, October 7, 2017. SullivanArc is a not-for-profit agency that provides support to over 1,100 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. (MONICA JORGE)

You can read about Sarah Blesener’s experience at Eddie Adams in Part 1 of this series.

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