Roots Workshop

I wasn’t *exactly* sure what I was getting myself into when I signed up for an intensive photojournalism workshop in Maine, but I knew it was going to be good, really good. A creation of our dear wedding photographer, Emilie Sandifer of emilie, inc., the 5-day Roots Workshop promised to take participants down a path of true photojournalism: learn some basics, receive an assignment, and shoot, shoot, shoot. Oh, and then, as a team of five, go through a critique process that is equally inspiring and depressing, led by an amazing pair of photographers who are in with the best of the best, Tyler Wirken and Rachel LaCour Niesen. Wash, rinse, repeat for day two.

I won’t bore you with the technical pieces of wisdom I gained (though they are invaluable). What I will tell you about is how my eyes started seeing things, people, moments, differently. My fearless leader, Tyler, said it best when he explained that great photography is not just a matter of “having a good eye,” it’s a matter of how your eyes are trained. In addition to all of the photography lessons taught, learned, and yet to be absorbed, I was inspired by the absolutely wonderful people around me. Within hours of my arrival, I felt right at home. I’ve been explaining it as a cross between camp and Top Chef (minus the competitive features): a fun-filled, exhausting, (extremely) humbling, eye-opening, and heart-warming adventure.

My assignment was to do a feature on a family who resides in a very unique community called Bayside in Northport, Maine. With about 300 cottages, the majority of which are seasonal rentals, Bayside is reminiscent of days past where simple was the rule: get outside, enjoy the ones you’re with, and keep what’s truly important at the top of your list. But my story ultimately wasn’t about this quaint village. It turned out that what the community has to offer is best illustrated in the lives of those who decide to live there full time. Jennika and Jay, along with their two children, O and L, allowed me into their home and lives to capture life as they know it. Here is their story.

Jennika and Jay, thank you SO, SO much for opening your home and hearts to me, a complete stranger. Your children are completely wonderful and your parenting is seamless. I’m left with a soft spot in my heart for all of you.

To Emilie, Tyler, Rachel and all of my fellow campers, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your guidance and support. Looking forward to what lies ahead for all of us.

And lastly, thanks to my incredible husband and in-laws who took care of my girls in my absence. Mwah!

photographystephanie goryl

stephanie [at] stephaniegorylphotography [dot] com

Wakefield, MA

(just north of Boston)