by Leslie Mazoch
The Associated Press Diverse Visions Workshop was wonderful, and exactly what the
doctor ordered. Three days of meeting some of the best photojournalists in the A.P. as
well photojournalists like me who are in the beginnings of their careers, enjoying group
discussions and presentations, and last but not least, shooting a photo package. Each of us participants were paired with an A.P. staff photographer. Paul Sancya of Detroit was my guru for the week, and we were assigned to photograph a car wash. Paul was fantastic and the car wash, believe it or not, was equally so. He was there for me in a
heart beat, like to discuss story angles and editing, but kept a low profile while I
photographed. Each of us were required to use our mentor's equipment, which for most
of us meant shooting a Nikon D1, so I had technical questions.
The atmosphere of the workshop was casual with an emphasis on learning, leaving the
cutthroat competition of the work world behind for the week.  We were told to relax, learn
one thing that we could build on, and shockingly, to have fun. It took a day to convince me,
but when I heard the discussions concerning the strong and weak points of our stories,
with thoughtful recommendations on how to proceed shooting the next day, I  felt zero
competative energy in the air. I'd rarely felt the encouraging touch of sincere mentors
before, and it was great. 
n terms of learning something I could build upon after the workshop, my goal of the week
was to nudge out of my habitual shooting style - too much concern for composing and not
enough for capturing spirit. I was able to loosen up on day two, in part because I'd taken
all my usual shots, and because more than one person recommended I take more risks.
Shooting habits are hard to break indeed. Luckily, day two was fruitful, and I've shot two
images since the workshop that show growth towards a less structured style.
This image is a break from my typical style in that  it's loose using a long
lens.I usually get close with a wide angle or I shoot super tight with long lenses... and
PHOTO 2 HERE  I didn't recompose to hide the doorway light behind the boy's face.
Instead I concerned myself with the interaction between this mother and child and let them
create a photo for me. What surprises me about this image (uncropped) is I took it during
a conversation. I looked to my left while listening, swung my camera up, took a snap, and
continued the conversation. I figured I was too far away to "get it," but I like the image
because of the distance. 
My voice shakes when I speak in front of large groups, my brain sometimes draws a
blank and I've been told I turn red. So, articulating how my images  ommunicated my story
was by far my biggest  challenge and the most valuable learning experience at the
workshop.On three occasions we spoke individually in front of the group: introducing 
ourselves on day one, describing how our first shoot went on day two, and presenting our 
final edit (six images) when we made a case for each image and its place in our
But, as a result, I've returned to my newsroom with a renewed spunk in defending the
images that I believe are important, particularly in photo package situations. News
editors often moonlight as photo editors here and I honestly began to lose hope when too
many times my images were thoughtlessly published. But, after one week of being
surrounded by some of the best A.P. photojournalists and talented young photographers,
I am on fire with a renewed sense of purpose, much to the chagrin of my editors.
Thank you Diverse Visions.

Leslie Mazoch

Staff Photographer
Brownsville (TX)
Contents Page

Contents Page Editorials The Platypus Links Copyright
Portfolios Camera Corner War Stories  Dirck's Gallery Comments
Issue Archives Columns Forums Mailing List E-mail Us
 This site is sponsored and powered by Hewlett Packard