Back home a day less than a week but my interior clock still has me rising far earlier in the morning than needed. Those ten and a half hours difference between the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the beaches of Goa, India still have me a bit off sync. But what a marvelous two weeks it was with Shantanu Sheorey, Mahesh Bhatt, the rest of The One School Goa faculty and, of course, the students.  I got much pleasure from hanging out at the school and checking out the students’ work.  Early in my stay I had the pleasure of sharing time with David Turnley and some wonderful Indian photographers.  Manoj Jadhav, Samar Jodha, and Prashant Godbole, especially.  Great gentlemen and wonderful photographers.  I hope out paths will cross again.

Shantanu Sheorey, a legend in his own right with many years of acclaimed photographic work while based in Mumbai, has done a superb job founding and directing The One School Goa.  The School’s first annual Goa International Photo Festival was a huge success with wonderful exhibits, all of them printed by the students at the school once Shantanu had them locked in on their technics.  They made some very impressive prints.

I hope to return to Goa and the school sometime in the future.  Judging from the superb work that’s been accomplished in the two brief years the school has existed, the future looks bright, indeed.

Now I just need to stay home long enough to get my mind and body in the right time zone.

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My interior clock is still far from getting in sync having arrived back from my workshop in Bangkok on Saturday and now in three days I head for Goa, India where I’ll have an exhibit at the first Goa International Photo Festival. I’m afraid my normal sleep habit is doomed for some time. On the positive side, my Beyond The Frame photography workshop in Bangkok was a major success. Superbly organized by Bangkok based photographer Gavin Gough, assisted by his fellow Bangkok based photojournalist Jack Kurtz, our 14 attendees brought their interestingly varied non photographic lives into a group that I believe truly advanced in their individual visions from where we started. I have never anywhere been involved in a workshop better organized. Gavin and Jack had a menu of about 20 story subject possibilities to offer students, thereby eliminating the need for students to eat up a day or more looking for a focus. Some of the students had taken a workshop from Gavin before and obviously knew how professionally he operated and how giving an instructor he was, as was Jack. It was a genuine pleasure to join Gavin and Jack and the students in Bangkok. It could not have gone better nor could the facilities been topped.

Now with less than a week of reentering my normal time zone, I leave for Goa, India in three days. In Goa I’ll join up with others for the first Goa International Photo Festival instigated by The One School Goa photography school which is giving me an exhibit. Many Indian photographers will be shown, also a number of notable British photographers including Martin Parr, and a small selection of American artists including David Turnley, Ed Kashi, Judy Dater, Michael Christopher Brown, Catherine Karnow, and myself. Not all photographers will be present. I do know that David Turnley will be there and I look forward to seeing him. The Festival runs from February 10 to 22. I’ll arrive back home on the 24th and probably hibernate as best possible until being able to wake at normal hours in the morning, every morning.

March will be for recovery and relaxation although preparing tax return info is far from that and that’s what always happens in March at our house. But then comes April and Paris. There’s a lot of truth to that old bit, “We’ll always have Paris.” Ani and I will have it for 11 days and will celebrate our 32nd on April 16, hopefully aboard the dinner boat Le Calife where I made the lead image to my small Parisian essay “Love and Loss on the Seine” which appeared in the May 2014 issue of National Geographic. I never did eat the two times I tried to document the evening boat ride. This time I’ll have to stay seated, at least most of the time. If I don’t there may not be a 33rd.

I almost forgot to say that there are some spots open for my late April workshop at the Palm Springs California festival.  Lots of esteemed photographers will be around and it should be a fine gathering.  Come join us.

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Well, after about 12 years, I’m back in Bangkok. The first and last time was in 2003 when on assignment for National Geographic for a story about the plight of Thai elephants. No elephants this trip, at least unless I see one on the streets working the tourists for tips.

This time I’m here for just a week or so to conduct a workshop with two colleagues, Gavin Gough and Jack Kurtz, two photojournalists who live and work out of “The Big Mango,” as Jack lovingly referred to Bangkok last night. We shared dinner with the Bangkok Camera Club, a truly international group of men and women who love photography and have gathered under the guidance of Gavin and Jack to explore picture making. I had the pleasure of sharing some work with them and talking a bit about my 51 years of practicing and enjoying the pursuit of image making. Tonight I will start, along with Gavin and Jack, our workshop composed of 14 students some of whom were part of the dinner last night as well as some others I’ll have the pleasure of meeting this evening.

I met with Gavin and Jack yesterday in the alcove of my charming boutique hotel Ariyasomvilla in central Bangkok. I don’t think I’ve ever come to conduct a workshop that has been so well organized as this one, with Gavin and Jack having done such a great job resourcing story possibilities for the attendees. In a workshop of this brevity (typical, really, of many workshops of a week in length but actually a bit less in pure shooting time) they have eliminated the need for participants to wast valuable time searching for story ideas. Of course, Bangkok teems with imagery, almost everywhere one glances there are pictures. But stories with a theme is what we’re seeking this week and Gavin and Jack have produced a lengthy menu of possibilities from which the group may select. Not all the possible themes will allow more than one photographer, while some might be broad enough to allow several to pursue the same subject. It’s going to be interesting to see in which directions our photographers will go. Hopefully some will step out of what might be their comfort zone and take on something that might not fall into their familiar approach to picture making.

A real plus to our workshop is that on Sunday and Monday afternoon people from the local Leica dealership are going to set up an exhibition stand and have on loan a Leica M (240)–I treasure mine, enjoy the heft of the body and actually love the feel and sound of the shutter–plus a Leica MP, a Leica X, and some other items. The marketing director of Leica Thailand will appear and a member of the Leica staff will be on hand. That’s a real opportunity for workshop attendees to explore some of the best of what’s out there.

All in all, I look for a great week of meeting new people in a fascinating part of the world and seeing the work that pours fourth as we go out together to try to see better and cleaner. With each passing day although we will make mistakes we’ll learn from them and with work and determination we’ll have some successes and some of our mistakes will be interesting. What’s quite important are what I consider interesting failures, when something’s connecting in one’s vision and one needs to press on until it all comes together.

We won’t worry about being the best there is at the end of the workshop. Our pursuit will be to be a little bit better on a given day than we were the day before. It might not always prove true but with work and maybe some passion–and I can’t give anybody passion, that has to come from within–we will gain ground and when we do, it’s a pretty good feeling.

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