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The DC Shoot Off

Posted in Concerning Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by A Photographer's Life

Join us for the upcoming 7th annual DC Shoot Off Photography Workshop happening 15-18 March 2012 in Arlington, Va.

Register here

Photo by Kurt Lengfield

Starts at 6pm Thursday evening for a social meet & greet at the Hilton Garden Inn bar lounge, to be followed by portfolio reviews and one-on-one career counseling.  Friday will be an all-star packed open presentation panel with keynote speaker and three-time Pulitzer Prize photojournalist Michael Williamson.  Shooters continue  on with edit and mentoring sessions during Friday night into Saturday to continue their evening with three more presenters.  Once all images are turned in from their theme assignment we go into Sunday morning from 9am – noon for judging and a small awards ceremony by 12:30.

Don’t miss out and if you can’t physically make it to DC compete online with SHOOT OFF INTERNATIONAL an online competition running parallel with the on site event but judged in its own category.

Also our speakers presentations are open to those reading this post.  Come join us and enjoy the work of some of our most creative and talented photographers of our time.

The Faculty

The Schedule

The Sponsors

Submission Guidelines

For additional information contact Johnny Bivera at or call 202-251-8094

Shoot Off Visual Media Workshops is a not for profit program for military, civil service photographers and invited guests.  The best speakers, mentors, editors and judges throughout the country volunteer for this prestigious event that aligns our service members with the national press corps, industry leaders and veteran military photographers. These workshops are for all levels and provide professional development in helping to fill training gaps for our service dedicated photographers throughout the year.


Shoot Off Video Workshop Open Invite – by Johnny Bivera

Posted in Concerning Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2011 by A Photographer's Life

The Inaugural Video Shoot Off coming this week!

If you’re in the DC area late this week through the weekend, we have an open invitation for you to attend this Friday’s speakers series and Sunday judging critiques of the inaugural Shoot Off Video Workshop at the Navy League Building in Arlington, Virginia.

2300 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201

Speaker Highlights for Friday are:

Bethany Swain, a veteran CNN photojournalist, creator of CNN’s “In Focus” series, and the current WHNPA Video Photographer of the Year

Bill Gentille, award-winning independent journalist and documentary filmmaker, professor at American University

Pierre Kattar, Emmy Award-winning video journalist and filmmaker, 2007 WHNPA Editor of The Year, former journalist for Washington Post Digital

Arun Chaudharry, official White House videographer, producer of “West Wing Week” and a former New York University film instructor

Tyler Ginter, freelance producer and filmmaker, former operations officer for the Army’s 55th Combat Camera, and a DSLR Professor for FXPHD

Jim Fabio, award-winning producer, director & editor (HBO, ESPN, and NFL Films among others.) Currently a Lt Col in the Air Force Reserves

Emmanuel Etim, producer and videographer based in Washington DC with over 10 years experience in Film, Video and TV Production, currently working with RHED Pixel

Inaugural Workshop of Military Videography

The Shoot Off Video Workshop in Washington D.C. mentors military, civil service and government video journalists with an emphasis on storytelling fundamentals.  Participants are given the tools and advanced techniques to become creatively faster and better.  Whether you’re an experienced videographer or new to the field, this workshop is for you!

Fundamentals, Teamwork, and Mentorship

The four day workshop includes key training sessions, guest speakers and presentations. Students are split into teams and assigned mentors. Teams shoot, edit and produce a shot-form documentary or news feature. These products are critiqued and judged for awards. For more information, click o the button below to download our press kit.

Registration Open

Registration is open for the 2011 DC Shoot Off Video Workshop with a few seats left!  In this, our inaugural event, we will be accepting 45 participants and up to 30 mentors.  The registration fee to participate in the workshop is $75.00. Click on the button below or the banner at the bottom of the page to begin the registration process.


DAY ONE     12 May     Thursday

1400 – 1700    Registration and Optional Reel / Portfolio Review

1800     Mixer/Meet and Greet (Participants, Mentors, Staff, Guests and Sponsors) Location: Ireland’s Four Courts

DAY TWO     13 May     Friday

0730 – 0800     Breakfast

0800 – 0830     Intro Video/ Workshop General Rules

0830 – 0915      Speaker 01 – Jim Fabio (What Is a good story?)


0930 – 1015      Speaker 02 – Pierre Kattar (Editing)


1030 – 1115     Speaker 03 – Bill Gentile (BackPack Journalism)


1130 – 1215     Speaker 04 – Arun Chaudhary (Documenting History In Real Time)

1215 – 1315       Lunch

1330 – 1415     Speaker 05 – Bethany Swain (Nat Packages)


1430 – 1515     Speaker 06 – Emmanuel Etim (DSLR Shooting)


1530 – 1615     Speaker 07 – Tyler Ginter (Adobe DSLR Workflow / Interview Techniques) Break

1630 – 1700     Presentation – GoPro (Tyler Ginter)

1700 – 1730      ShootOff Ground Rules (Maureen Stewart) and Topic Selection

1730      Shoot Off Begins

DAY THREE     14 May     Saturday

• Teams & Mentors shooting/editing all day

• Mentor Updates (Mid Morning (1100) & End of Day (1800)

• Venue available for editing

DAY FOUR     15 May     Sunday

0730 0800     Breakfast

0800     All projects due/uploaded

0800 – 0845     Speaker 08 – Quentin Kruger (New Media)


0900 – 0915     Judge Introductions (Bill Gentille & Pierre Kattar)

0915 – 1200     Project Viewing / Critiques (open to the public)

1200 – 1300     Lunch / Judging (closed)

1300 – 1400     Judges Comments / Questions

1400 – 1430    Award Ceremony

1430 – 1445     Multimedia Presentation

1445 – 1500     Feedback Session

1500     Workshop Concludes

For sponsors info and press kit:

Shoot Off Visual Media Workshops

Johnny Bivera, Executive Director,   202-251-8094,

Juan Femath, Workshop Producer/Director,   843-743-9013,

Blake Stillwell, Workshop Producer/Director,    814-504-2287,

Burn Magazine Extends Emerging Photographer’s Grant for 2011, also Retrospect Influences and LOOK3 – by Johnny Bivera

Posted in Concerning Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2011 by A Photographer's Life

$15,000 BURN Grant deadline extends to May, 15, 2011

Funding is designed to support continuation of a photographer’s personal project. This body of work may be of either journalistic mission or purely personal artistic imperatives. The primary intent is to support emerging photographers who will become the icons of tomorrow.

The Emerging Photographer Fund grant was initiated by David Alan Harvey in 2008, and is awarded by the Magnum Foundation, a non-profit created by the member photographers from Magnum Photos, Inc…Funding for the EPF has come from several private donors who have chosen to remain anonymous.

Previous jurors have been: Carol Nagar, Martin Parr, Gilles Peress, Eugene Richards, Maggie Steber, Fred Ritchin, Bruce Gilden, David Griffin, John Gossage, Susan Meiselas, and James Nachtwey

See more about BURN here:

A Restrospect of Influences I got from David Alan Harvey and James Nachtway

I am blessed, like the many other photographers who have been influenced by greatness.  I live and breathe imagery, the aesthetics of it, long discussed theories, the boundaries that are constantly challenged, other photographers work and those that influence.  It would be very hard to prove that in my over twenty year career I had not gone a day without having some thought to it.  And along that time I have compiled a list of great people from artist, activist and leaders that have given much influence in my life, enriching me to love this world and this life of ours more so than I could have ever imagined from the beginning.  Their time no matter how small or large, helped shape my life into what I believe to be a very successful existence today.  And in 2009 I was fortunate to have been given the time to learn from two mentor icons whose work and ethics I greatly admire, David Alan Harvey and James Nachtway.

If you have not attended a LOOK3 event in Charlottesville, Va., where one is coming this June 9-11, then you are missing out on a great festival.  I have attended two of its last three and found it to be an awesome experience.  Coupled with the beautiful location and creative vibe, it is a festival with like-minded individuals founded by a diverse and broadly tailored program of many interests.  This event is what provided me with the opportunity to meet and be influenced by two of my most admired role models.

What I learned:

Over the years there has been one constant to learning that has crossed over, and that is to learn and repeat, learn and repeat.   We continue to repeat things we should already know, but for some lessons require the right time, moment or level of influence before they sink in.  Even I who almost shoots daily, provide consultation and teach in all levels, require a kick or two of growth and direction for one’s own path to success, no matter what that may be, the point is to proceed in a forward and upward motion.  One must always be learning…

To study in a class between Harvey and Nachtway was like standing in the middle of two pillars housed on Mt. Olympus.  Yes, that may seem farcical, but I don’t mind placing my heroes on pedestals when there is no doubt as to the reasons why.  I came with no preconceived notion on what I was going to do when asked for what my project was going to be.  Which for a brief period after introduction was slightly embarrassed for myself as I became, along with a few others in the room, students with big floating question marks as to how providential our ideas were going to be.  With their careful study of my portfolio they began to catechize me as to the why and what concerning my work.  I was challenged to support it, which I did, but in the end I had an even deeper sense of asking myself the same question as to why?

They killed what I thought was going to be my project, “too literal, too broad, too little time to pull off your shots,” they said.  And all I could say to that was okay!  I’ve heard the same thing come out of my own mouth before.  They looked at a series of what I did show and they asked, “What was going on here concerning some of these singles?  You seem to have a love for horses,” they remarked, as they started to pluck individual images I had from different project stacks.  The new stack showed horses from different places in the world, performing different functions in society… “You know that you’re in horse country don’t you? asked Nachtway.  I replied nodding yes!  “Well then you might want to do something about that while you’re here,” said Harvey.  And with that my project for the next four days was to find a story in horse country and accepting the realization that I did have a love for horses.

The quest and having something to prove drove the adrenaline.  What in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains provided that treasure of a story… I drove for many hours and spoke to many people, and it was just my luck that this Sunday was the day all the major horse owners and ranch managers would be in Richmond, spending the day at the track.  The sun was going down and the eastern shadow was slowly creeping across the valley.  Did I just waste a day with no picture and no contact, but worst of all no story?  I was about to give up when out of the corner of my eye as I passed, I saw a little old lady driving a lawn tractor on a small family owned horse farm.  As I turned the car around, pulled in and lowered my window she called out above the barking dogs, “May I help you?”  I told her I was in search of a story in the setting of Virginia horse country, and without hesitation she walked up to me, leaned in and said, “Well.. it sounds like you were looking for me!”

Her name was Phyllis and she was a strong 70-year old woman who took care of the horses from sun up to sun down.  This was a wonderful family and she was the matriarch that allowed me in their lives for a very brief period, and this century old, family owned farm showed the love they had for this life and the struggle they faced in retaining this lifestyle for future generations, where the appeal to live and work on the farm fell on one little granddaughter.  As I worked, the voices of Nachtway and Harvey were never far away.

As the days went by with Jim and David (notice first name basis), I eventually earned their respect and to hear from them what I already knew but never took seriously to admit about myself.  I did start to believe in the prediction they bestowed upon us, that if we took to heart what we needed to learn, we were going to end up hating our portfolio, and we were going to see things differently (for the better of course).  Strange that I didn’t believe that possible, maybe it was with all the years of being institutionalized as a Navy combat cameraman or beltway executive photographer, that teaching an old dog different tricks was conceivable.  But here it was, creeping in like the silent night I slowly found, as I studied what I had in hand to what I was now producing that they were right… It was a great exercise and wonderful experience, one I’ve done and continue to do with my students, where I look forward to doing again for myself the next time I need a good horse kick in the head.  Jim and David matured me in how I viewed myself as a photographer, they taught me to slow down, to appreciate the next venture by making sure I finish the last one.