How the Platypus
Can Change Your Life
February/March 2010

by Dirck Halstead

In the late Nineties I knew I needed a lifeboat in a hurry.

After 29 years of trotting the globe for TIME magazine, I could see that the photojournalism I had known was sinking. Budgets that today would be unimaginable were being slashed, not just at TIME but at all the other magazines and the movie studios that I had worked for.

If you are a photojournalist today, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Fortunately for me, a guy named Michael Rosenblum came along with his radical prediction that the new Hi8 video would revolutionize TV. I helped him get his idea funded, and Video News International was born. VNI was later bought by The New York Times and eventually faded away, but from this dream, the Platypus Workshops emerged.

In the first workshop, at the University of Oklahoma, four Pulitzer Prize winners were among its students.

Now after 37 workshops, it is hard not to find a leader in photojournalism that has not attended one. Among them are David Turley, Peter Turnley, Kim Komenich, Don Doll, Gail Mooney, David Leeson and Kimberly Acquaro, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.

Many have become leaders in the industry and have won countless awards.

This year, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for documentary went to Tim Hetherington, a 1999 Platypus graduate, for his feature film about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan, "Restrepo." Since attending the Platypus workshop, Hetherington has also won three World Press Photo Awards, in 2000, 2002 and 2007.

The most common remark made by graduates is "this workshop changed my life."

We still have a few places left in our Las Vegas workshop that starts April 2nd, but if you want to learn a new skill, which can transform your own life, you need to register now. Invest in yourself. Invest in your future.

© Dirck Halstead
Editor and Publisher of The Digital Journalist

Dirck Halstead was Time magazine's Senior White House Photographer for 29 years. He now is the Publisher and Editor of The Digital Journalist, the monthly online magazine for visual journalism, and a Senior Fellow at the Center For American History at the University of Texas in Austin. His new book, MOMENTS IN TIME, published by Harry N. Abrams, is in bookstores, and available from

blog comments powered by Disqus