We’re a photo flash mob.

We’ve done this every year for the past 37 Octobers.

Our founder, Mike Morse, began this endeavor back in the 70s by photographing one-room schoolhouses. They slept in chicken coops and ate baloney sandwiches. Nowadays, we rest at the Sleep Inn and eat smoked pork butt, specially made for us by a fabulous volunteer chef. Those Workshoppers from long ago would be turning over in their graves — if they were dead, that is.

They’re mostly alive, and hopefully we will be too after this week. Long, caffeine-soaked hours will propel us, if recent history serves as an indicator. More than a hundred of us journalists, educators, students — and those of us who are all or neither — have invaded lovely Henderson, Kentucky for this year’s Mountain Workshops.

In less than a week, we’ll produce a book about the town, chock full of stories. We’ll also create a slew of multimedia presentations documenting the people who call Henderson home. There will be a permanent gallery and website as well. But now we’re just showing off!

There’s learning to be had here. And it’s not just in the form of wide-eyed students, standing nervously among the giants of the photojournalism industry. Even the Pulitzer Prize winners on our staff –- and there are many to be found around here — find tiny bits of advancement and major bytes of growth. The name “Workshop” may imply one-way learning, masters teaching disciples. That is as much a misnomer as naming it the Mountain Workshops, as it’s been pointed out time and again that the closest thing to a mountain around here is the gradual berm this lovely campus sits upon.

Yeah, we didn’t like that previous sentence either. Most of us are photographers who think we can write.

Networking happens here too, literally – wired and wireless. There is also the type of networking that builds friendships and mentorships that last decades.

We are the Burning Man of the journalism world, leaving nothing but incredible images in our wake, if we stay awake.

Like flash mobs, we started out quiet, subtle, but now gain strength as we grow.

Unlike flash mobs, there’s not a lot of spontaneous dancing.


It’s still early; anything can happen.

http://www.readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcWorkshopLoomis.jpgPulitzer Prize winner Rick Loomis critiques the photos of Workshop participants.