" Although I dedicated my studies to other fields (architecture and now critical and visual studies,) photography has always been a big part of my passions and a constant element in what I do. After I read a book about the relationship between human rights and photography (which left a big footprint in my being, and consequently a lot of questions to explore,) I decided I wanted to delve into these new provocations. The process of going through the workshop not only proved how these points of view resonated with me but they also took me through an important leap in my professional life and convictions.
The photography workshop was key for me and applying was the best decision I have made. The whole experience made such an impact on me and stretched my mental margins in so many crucial ways. It is not only inspiring but violently overwhelming to learn by the side of a man that walks through the various layers of the world’s awes; whose talent, humor, curiosity, humanity, creativity and commitment have been shaped or strengthened by our real world.
Zoriah helped outline the workshop according to what we discussed to be most important, as well as expand on the possibilities. Everyday that we planned was abounded by derivations of the original starting point. One can trust Zoriah’s high intuition and huge willingness to understand one’s standpoints so that the workshop is tailored specifically.
For our workshop we visited the ghost town of Chernobyl in the Ukraine. As an architect I think spatially and as someone who is fascinated with rocks, ruins and impermanence the scenery of decay was a perfect place to develop the project. Nonetheless, I also wanted to take the opportunity to develop and improve on my skills in portraiture. I was able to focus on the landscape and architecture as well as push myself forward with the essential human aspect of photography.
Zoriah opens fresh ways of doing/thinking photography and pushes you to eliminate fears and illusory barriers so one can sharpen and understand what weaknesses and rigors one has and to train one’s eye to comprehend the aspects of one’s own aesthetic decisions. I was delighted with a person/professional who shares his rich knowledge with such eagerness. The experience was intense and by the end of each day I could only feel grateful for such an opportunity.
I personally appreciate the holistic aspect of the workshop. The work of photojournalism relies in it being so physical and about seizing the moment so that others’ voices can be brought to the surface. However the workshop also contemplated the importance ideas have: we discussed in depth the molding of storytelling. Zoriah teaches you to translate critical observations through technical skills, not only using the camera but also the lens of ethical considerations.
It was inspiring to feel the urge to document and get out there with the camera by the side of an expert that will guide you through anything. We completed vast research and I learned a lot about how to search and the challenges of finding the photographic subject.
I think it is so important to have people one follows and believes in, heroes. Now imagine a hero that is an accessible one and one that takes you through an adventure of complete self growth."
"I I recently returned from a 10 day intensive workshop with Zoriah Miller documenting the lives of impoverished children throughout Uganda.
My husband and I came across Zoriah after researching photographers that specialized in humanitarian photojournalism. The specific issues I wanted to document were focused on children and included babies suffering from AIDS, orphans and street children. I was willing to travel to just about anywhere but my heart was set on traveling to Uganda. After my initial review of Zoriah I was informed that he was in Uganda with another workshop student. After a couple of conversations with him I was booking my flight to Kampala.
Zoriah knew the importance of my work and the goals I set for myself and he made every effort to make certain these goals were met, both prior to my arrival and consistently throughout my stay in Uganda. International photojournalism was new to me and I did not know what to expect, but I arrived with open eyes and a willingness to shoot everything.
My workshop expectations were exceeded beyond anything I could have imagined. Zoriah spent hours with me discussing important aspects of visual story-telling and provided volumes of information, much more than I ever anticipated I would receive. He also reviewed and critiqued my work daily. Zoriah taught me to always be thinking about what’s important when photographing my subjects, to be prepared and to always think ahead in order to get what I wanted to capture.
I have been a participant with other workshops, however after experiencing a one-on-one photographic workshop with not only a respected and talented photographer but knowledgeable about humanitarian photojournalism. After seeing the amount of time he spent with me, his passion towards his students and work was very visible. My experience was worth more than any other workshop I had previously attended and was extremely valuable to me.
In addition to the volumes of information provided during the workshop, I am able to keep in contact with Zoriah and periodically ask questions about certain issues i come across on my career path. He has always responded, been kind and answered my questions. I believe my photography has dramatically improved."
"I decided on investing in a workshop with Zoriah because, aside from the fact that he carries a wealth of experience, knowledge and success, I greatly respect his sincerity and determination to make an impact not just as a photographer but as a storyteller, an artist and a humanitarian. I'm impressed with how he utilizes new web technologies successfully for his independent work. It enables him to reach people with stories that, as he reminds us, aren't necessarily the ones the commercial media care to tell. I decided clearly it will be far more valuable to take Zoriah's workshop than spend more money on equipment or travel. And I was right, he cleared up all the uncertainty I had in how, or even if to move forward, saved me money and stress with his practical approach to things, and in four days I improved my storytelling, editing skills, business sense and confidence level tenfold.
Our first conversation touched on a big issue for me. "How do I get close to people and take their photos without feeling like I'm exploiting or disrespecting them...I'm thinking of getting the 70-200 again (which I'd sold to move to Mexico City) but really don't want to walk around the streets here with a big lens either...I didn't think I should need it". Zoriah's response was simply, "I'll probably convince you you can save your money". Two days later I was walking around a slum area in Mexico City with my 17-55 finding myself invited into people's crumbling and crowded homes. In a short time I was visiting with an elderly woman in her borrowed little rooftop shack she calls home. Later I thought if I'd had the bigger lens I'd either never have used it, or I'd have missed out on getting close to this woman and having a conversation that gave me far more insight into life in that area then any zoom lens could. For me stories depend not on what I see or think but on what I learn from other people. It's their stories I want to tell, not mine. This experience reminded me that not only is it possible to get close without the big lens, it feels more respectful and it's more my style.
I also really appreciated Zoriah's confidence in my own abilities and artistic sense. He never tried to tell me exactly how to do something, just encouraged me to do what I believe in while sharing his thoughts and ideas for me. An annoying insecurity I had which he nicely put to rest was the fact that creativity and artistic expression were not something to shy away from in telling an honest story. I questioned and hesitated over that too much before and it held me back.
I took a pretty big personal risk when I decided to quit commercial work and go this new direction. I took the first step simply on the belief that it was right for me. It hasn't been easy and as inspired as I get, I feel equally discouraged at times. I know in my case spending the time learning on my own, and having first pushed myself though some tough emotions and first projects made Zoriah's workshop all the more meaningful and beneficial. It was a real world challenge that pushed me further both personally and professionally. I never believed this path I chose would be easy and Zoriah confirmed that it never will be, but he also confirmed for me how important it is to me to continue."