I’m sitting on the porch outside of my room at the hostel eating the most amazing sandwich from a street vendor and drinking orange soda out of a glass bottle. Any vegetarianism that was still in me has quickly faded away and I’m trying to process everything that has happened since my last post.
Spent much of yesterday wandering around the Mercado [market]. Every turn I made brought more visions of sunglasses, fruit, animals, spoons. Any and everything. The market stretched for what seemed like miles and every turn I made brought an entirely new section into view, each one unique and interesting. I wish I could show all of the photos but I’m short on time right now.
After all that, we had our opening party at AAVI, the school that is hosting us. It was a pretty intense experience to walk into a room and see Stanley Greene, Stephanie Sinclair and Andrea Bruce all in the first few minutes. In typical photographer fashion, there was loads of beer and I proceeded to introduce myself to a roomful of over 100 strangers. It felt almost like a speed dating night that went a little something like this:
Hey, I’m Allison.
Where are you from?
Why are you here?
What class are you in?
What do you love besides pictures?
And on to the next student…
I didn’t really realize how humorous this was until someone that I had already met came up to me and instead of saying his name I just said “Hey, Boston!”. Instead of a list of names, all I had was a world map with marked locations: Australia, San Fran, Malaysia, Brooklyn, Brazil, Hawaii. I then became ‘Chicago’.
I was really frustrated with some problems with my fixer and working on stories, so when the workshop was over I headed home for some much needed sleep.
This morning we listened to our keynote speaker Ron Haviv. Sitting on the floor sipping my 7-11 coffee, he just kept saying everything I had been thinking before I went on this trip and I felt completely revived.
“This is a life, not a job…One day you wake up and realize that this has become your world…In the end, this is not about us. It is about the other…It is a serious responsibility…The essence of what we do should be our motivating factor…We have the ability to give a voice to the voiceless…”
I really needed to hear those words, to be surrounded by others who believe in them, validate this bizarre existence.
After that we broke up into our first class. I was really nervous about showing my work but I had a really good critique and some positive feedback on my images. Phew! We discussed our story ideas and after talking to Renee and Scott, I feel as motivated as ever to run out and capture the moments I believe in. And that is exactly what I’m off to do.