Intimacy & Trauma
A Visual Storytelling Workshop
Instructor: Ed Kashi
6:30 – 9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Thursdays beginning February 18, 2021
Note: Due to Ed’s active shooting schedule, he may need to miss a class that would be made up later at the end. He will also be available throughout the course to respond to emails and discuss particular concerns of students as needed.
Course fee: $600
Limited to eleven students
Photo by Ed Kashi. Evan Keating, Nutley Emergency Rescue Squad volunteer responding to a call in Nutley, NJ. 2020.
How do we prepare, as documentarians, to experience and absorb the trauma of others as an invariable part of doing this work? This workshop will be a mixture of the practical and the therapeutic by reckoning with the reality of our humanity being challenged by engaging in our work, the juggling of handling our own trauma and the trauma of others.
What Ed has learned after 40 years of doing this work is that by embracing our trauma instead of running away from it, you not only become a better documentarian but a better human being. The importance of approaching subjects with sensitivity and respect is critical to doing this work ethically and with an understanding of your impact on the lives of subjects/collaborators, both in the field and afterwards. This work often puts us in close contact with the displaced and dispossessed; how do we function as documentarians and humans in this context?
What this workshop will include:
Ed will share some of his many projects over the last four decades to reflect on his experiences producing work with intimacy, handling the trauma of others, and healing his own. The workshop will also include group review and critique sessions to share previous work and experiences as well as offer support for current projects. Participants will be challenged to dig deeper and produce work with intimacy, compassion, and contextual awareness.
Documentarians are being forced to work more hyper-locally during this pandemic and with extra barriers when working closely with others. Simultaneously during a time of collective emotional reckoning that include isolation, health and mental health concerns, loss of income, and other difficult pressures— support and community are more critical than ever. The workshop will prioritize self-care techniques before, during, and after the creation of documentary work.
This workshop will focus on the following challenges often not discussed in other documentary courses: witnessing trauma, absorbing other people’s trauma, feeling traumatized in process of documenting, forms of self-care, the importance of intimacy, relevance of intimacy to storytelling, gaining trust/access of our subjects, categorization of trauma as a documentarian (during trauma/aftermath of trauma) to elicit experiences the students have had, witnessing conflict/civil unrest, and the examples and conditions we must deal with, including mental health, death, homelessness, poverty, substance abuse, racial trauma and police profiling, health issues, etc.
Students will be expected to either continue with an existing project or start a new project. It is not required to complete either during the eight-week course. The methods of approach can include still photography, video, writing, or other multidisciplinary forms of storytelling.
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times.
Kashi’s images have been published and exhibited worldwide. His innovative approach to photography and filmmaking produced the Iraqi Kurdistan Flipbook. Using stills in a moving image format, this creative and thought-provoking form of visual storytelling has been shown in many film festivals and as part of a series of exhibitions on the Iraq War at The George Eastman House.
An eight-year personal project completed in 2003, Aging in America: The Years Ahead, created a traveling exhibition, an award-winning documentary film, a website and a book which was named one of the best photo books of 2003 by American Photo. Along with numerous awards, including honors from Pictures of the Year International, World Press Foundation, Communication Arts and American Photography, Kashi’s editorial assignments and personal projects have generated four books. In 2008, his latest books will be published, both by powerHouse Books; Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta and Three.
“Ed Kashi is intelligent, brave and compassionate. He always understands the nuances of his subjects. He fearlessly goes where few would venture. And he sympathetically captures the soul of each situation. Ed is one of the best of a new breed of photojournalistic artists.” David Griffin, Director of Photography, National Geographic. www.edkashi.com
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