After having traveled extensively on assignments nationally and internationally for so many years in my career as a photojournalist, I have amassed a vast portfolio of images and stories. In showing these stories to various audiences, I came to realize that they not only shared an enthusiasm for the photos but a fascination with the stories behind the images and the process that goes along with capturing these images as well. This knowledge piqued my curiosity: How can I share these experiences with my audiences in a more matter-of-fact and practical manner?
I looked around and found a company that mentored photo tours so I signed up with them and co-mentored a tour in San Jose, CA. The experience was interesting, but I found it to be too formatted, too inflexible, and not as rewarding for me as I thought it would be. It seemed to me that the other mentor and I spent too much time chaperoning and getting the people back into the bus…definitely not my cup of tea.
A good photojournalist knows how to be flexible and to always have an eye and ear open to new possibilities, thus allowing serendipity to help in the process of covering a story or place. Such tours as the one I did in San Jose, CA, just don’t lend themselves to those opportunities. As in the case of this image (I’m assuming you have an image nearby). While on assignment in Panama, I caught a glimpse of a tiny speck of brown and white coming down the side of an emerald-green mountain. I stopped the car and waited for the speck to come closer. It turned out to be an indigenous grandmother bringing her grandchild into town to buy him school supplies. You can’t schedule stuff like this.
Later on, one of the participants in the San Jose tour contacted me directly and hired me to fly to Toronto and give him and a couple of his friends a photo workshop. He liked the experience so much, he then hired me again to do one for him in Nantucket and then another in Cuba in 2011.
It was during the trip to Cuba that I found the perfect formula and best way to share my passion for photography and knowledge as an experienced traveler: Why not create a company which can offer intimate, small, and custom-made photography workshops anywhere in the world? And even better, what if I got to invite like-minded, experienced, world-class photographers as myself to come share their knowledge with others?
The answer was obvious… A la Carte Photojourneys was born.