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Telling the story of Kentucky for the past 41 years. This year the participants set their sights on the river community of Paducah and McCracken County.

October 18—22, 2016

PHOTO COACH | Smiley Pool

When Smiley Pool began his career in news photography, journalists were being laid off everywhere you looked, newspapers were folding left and right, and disruptive technology was radically changing the face of photojournalism. It was the 1980’s. Many two-newspaper towns in America had become, or would soon become, one-newspaper towns. Four-color printing on newsprint was still a novelty and cellular telephones were a new-fangled gadget only the rich could afford. One of the most important decisions a photographer had to make on assignment wasn’t, “should I shoot stills or video,” it was “should I shoot color or black and white?” Since then, he has witnessed his fair share of history. Some of it will be in the history books, but he’s found the family scrapbook variety more rewarding. He’s garnered his fair share of awards — most notably for contributing the aerial photography in The Dallas Morning News’ coverage of Hurricane Katrina that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography. At a recent Texas APME awards dinner he was teased about not being able to remember how many times he had been recognized as Star Photojournalist of the Year. Turns out it was five (now six) times. If you care about awards, there is a list of all his POYi, Best of Photojournalism, NPPA-type awards on his website. Smiley admits he “pretty much fell into a career” as a news photographer (he was hired at the Austin American Statesman after his internship following his freshman year of college). He attributes this to being able to follow-focus a telephoto lens, “which was a marketable skill back in the early 1980’s.” Thankfully, for him, his skill set evolved a bit before clever Japanese engineers rendered manual focus an obsolete skill. He guesses he’s covered, “at least 1,000 football games, probably way more, even double that.” Despite so much time on the sidelines, he doesn’t pull for any particular team. “I’m rooting for whichever team I have better photos of that day.” Now a card-carrying AARP member who requires reading glasses simply to make out the setting on his cameras, all those ball games have become a bit of a blur. What has left an indelible impression are the 10 Olympic games he has covered; along with at least a dozen hurricanes; a half-dozen space launches; and more than a couple of presidents, popes, kings and queens. But his favorite assignments are still the cancer survivors, military widows, AIDS patients, street preachers, and countless other everyday people who welcome him into their lives and allow him to help tell their stories. Smiley is currently on his second stint as a staff photographer at The Dallas Morning News, which follows two separate tours at the Houston Chronicle (preceded by the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, Austin American Statesman and St. Louis Suburban Journals). This back-and-forth between Dallas and Houston often confuses his friends, colleagues and casual observers. But, since he attended three high schools, in three years, in three different cities, picking up and moving to another city doesn’t seem like that big a deal to him. When not on assignment for The Dallas Morning News, he is likely to be found volunteering at a summer camp for HIV+ youth, flying around South Sudan with missionary pilots he has befriended, or vacationing with his wife Jessica someplace like Laos or Haiti, because, let’s face it, those places are interesting. And, yes, his name really is Smiley. It’s a long story. Social Media T: @smileypool IG: @smileypool


Rodney Curtis has worked in a dozen newsrooms in Michigan and the East Coast during his 30-year career. A photographer and photo editor by training, Rodney also counts being an author, blogger and college professor among his many talents. He brags a lot too, but does so under a third-person guise, so it’s okay. He was at his best, he says, working for small papers like the Concord Monitor and the Midland Daily News, which he helmed for half-a-dozen years. He was twice named Michigan Photo Editor of the Year and has won numerous state and national photography, editing, design and writing awards. And as you can see, he uses “and” far more than is proper and decent and … He has been lucky enough to have four books published. His latest is a novel; Hope’s Diamond, a fanciful tale about an alternate reality Detroit, featuring relationships, baseball and the funny things that happen when you toss a little mystical “Hope” into the mix. A “cute” Leukemia is a book of funny and heartfelt essays about him dealing with cancer and a transplant. It’s destined to sell a zillion copies. He also wrote Getting Laid (off) about losing three journalism jobs in one year. Spiritual Wanderer, his first book, has been described as Dave Barry meets David Sedaris. Rodney is married to photographer Marci Curtis who is, most notably, the author of three children’s photo books with a few million copies in print. Both his daughters are in college or grad school and he doesn’t get to laugh and joke around with them nearly as much as he’d like to these days. You can visit Rodney and his photos/writing most anytime at RodneyCurtis.com. Bring snacks!

PHOTO COACH | Jahi Chikwendi

After earning his undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in math education from the University of Kentucky, Jahi Chikwendiu spent a year teaching high school math with the idea to help youngsters more easily connect math to the world and universe around them. On the side, Chikwendiu studied other passions that included photography and photojournalism. Those “secondary” passions, and photo portfolio, led to a full-time staff photographer position at his hometown newspaper, the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader. Three months later, the Kentucky News Photographer’s Association (KNPA) named Jahi the 1998 Photographer of the Year. After two years of covering the rich cultural landscape of Kentucky, he would join The Washington Post, where he’s been a staff photographer since January of 2001. Since joining the Washington Post, Chikwendiu’s main base of coverage has been the DC area, but he has covered a wide range of stories that include DC’s broken school system and the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, AIDS and poverty in Kenya and genocide in Darfur, Sudanese refugees in Egypt, cluster bomb victims in South Lebanon, and the 2011 formation of the world’s newest country, South Sudan. Chikwendiu spent the first three months of 2009 in Africa covering the Barack Obama inauguration from the Kenyan home village of the former US president’s father as well as other social stories in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya, and South Sudan. Since the 2014 fatal shooting of unarmed, Black teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson, a White police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Chikwendiu has spent a significant amount of focus on the systemic issues of police abuse of power and the subsequent lack of accountability.

Video Coach: Darren Durlach | Director 

Darren’s tireless focus on refining footage into a captivating narrative stems from more than a decade of crafting impactful award-winning films. His unique skill of pulling raw stories out of natural conversation is what makes his work compelling. Most recently, Darren co-directed “Throw,” with David Larson, a moving shortfilm that won Director’s Choice award at Telluride Mountainfilm, was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick and has been viewed by millions. He co-founded Early Light Media, a video production company based in Baltimore, MD to take his experience in visual storytelling to organizations that hope to communicate more effectively and memorably with their audiences, as well as develop his own avenue for documentary filmmaking. Over the past decade, Darren has had the opportunity to tell stories spanning the world from a Super Bowl in Indianapolis to earthquake ravaged Haiti to the first inauguration of President Obama, all while working in broadcast and as Senior Multimedia Producer at The Boston Globe. In 2014 he directed The Boston Globe’s first feature-length television documentary, 5 Runners, about the tragic Boston Marathon bombings. Darren has had the honor of being named the Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year three years in a row in 2009, 2010, and 2011 by the National Press Photographer’s Association while working for WBFF in Baltimore and has been awarded 27 Emmys© by Chesapeake Bay and New England NATAS. At The Boston Globe, he was awarded the prestigious George Polk award from Long Island University with a team of investigative journalists for my contribution of a short documentary on the leniency Massachusetts judges show toward accused drunk drivers, as well as six national Edward R. Murrow awards. Most fulfilling have been the opportunities to teach. Recently he was a featured speaker at ‘Video Playground’ in Denmark and has lectured at Harvard Extension School. Darren has taught visual storytelling in 18 states for diverse organizations and thrives on meeting passionate people with the shared goal of raising industry standards for the betterment of society. He believes there is no more effective way to communicate the human experience than to tell a story.

Card Drop! Photo by Nina Greipel #mtnworkshops (at The Mountain Workshops)

Our Paducah book is almost ready to print! Photo by @amyclairenelson
Be a part of the next adventure in Morehead, Kentucky!
@paducah_cvb (at Kentucky)

Accepting applications now!Join us. (Link in profile) #mtnworkshops #nppa #photojournalism #journalism #Documentary #documentaryfilm (at The Mountain Workshops)

Special announcement! #wku #wkupj #mtnworkshops #documentarystorytelling (at Western Kentucky University)

The Paducah Convention and Visitors Bureau entered “Paducah: Where the Spirit Flows” documentary video into a UNESCO City world competition and the film was selected to be part of the month-long festival with it being screened in Bradford, UK in June. It also has been selected to be screened in Santos, Brazil as part of the Santos Coffee Festival in July. Carrie – I would love to get this posted on our social and to make sure it gets on the “news” tab of the web site (whatever that feeds from).
Some website links for art include:
Here is a list of the countries represented in the festival:
409 by Morgan O’Brien – Galway, City of Film, Ireland
5 Minutes Kavarna by Millen Nickolov – Sofia, City of Film, Bulgaria
5 Minutes of Sofia: The Yellow Cobblestones by Millen Nickolov – Sofia, City of Film, Bulgaria
Appliqués for sun by Daniel Bissonnette – Montreal, City of Design, Canada
Bradford Colours by Jordan Dinchev – Bradford, City of Film, UK
City of Design Graz by OchoReSotto – Graz, City of Design, Austria
Detroit: City of Design by Stephen McGee – Detroit, City of Design, USA
Due Piedi Sinistri by Rome City of Film Team – Rome, City of Film, Italy
Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature by Liz Knowles – Dunedin, City of Literature, New Zealand
Experience Östersund by Theresia Grön – Östersund, City of Gastronomy, Sweden
Feel the Busan by Hwajung Shin – Busan, City of Film, South Korea
Film of Jeonju by Focal Point of Jeonju Creative City – Jeonju, City of Gastronomy, Korea
Heidelberg Through Hasselblab by Oliver Sigloch – Heidelberg, City of Literature, Germany
Huit by Daniel Bissonnette – Montreal, City of Design, Canada
In Fenestra by Guy Whittaker – Bradford, City of Film, UK
Jingdezhen – A City Rich in White Gold by James – Jingdezhen, City of Craft and Folk Art, China
Morning Ulyanovsk by Julia and Gala Uzrutoza – Ulyanovsk, City of Literature, Russia
My City Bamiyam by Mohammad Ali Sheida – Bamyam, City of Craft and Folk Art, Afghanistan
My City Denia  – Denia, City of Gastronomy, Spain
My City Katowice by Aleskander Moś – Katowice, City of Music, (at The Mountain Workshops)

Have you taken notice? CBS Sunday Morning has and will be airing a segment about the current exhibition on display in MMTH this Sunday, April 9 at 8:00 AM on our local CBS stations. But you don’t have to wait to see the story on Sunday, just come on down to MMTH and see the pictures and read the interactive engagement in person. It is possible for everyone one of us to make a difference in our world today and Renée Byer’s mission is to encourage this to happen. The gallery is open on SUN, 3:00 – 9:00 PM | M-W 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM | TH and F 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM thru April 28. Parking is free in the Chestnut Street lot after 4:30 each day and in Mimosa lot on Sunday. #mtnworkshops (at The Mountain Workshops)

#WKUPJ Career Day! #wku #photojournalism (at Mass Media & Technology Hall)

@caraphoto23 of the @enquirer , @fotobro of @stltoday and @teakphillips of the St. Louis Review take a selfie before the start of Career Day in the photojournalism department at @wku #photojournalism #wkupj @wkuphotojournalism (Photo by @carriepratt ) (at Mass Media & Technology Hall)

BTS 2016: Photo coach Mark Osler speaks about how to approach a photo story during Thursday night’s speaker session. “Previsualizing is important, ask questions before you arrive,” he advised. Osler attended his first workshop in 1989. (Photo by @ninasdanzpartey ) (at The Mountain Workshops)

Sandy Lipford, 59, watches as her students, from left, Kristin Kimmel, 14, Grace Burch, 14, Abbie Peck, 13, and Abbie Smith, 17, ride past after a short trail ride at Sandy Creek Stables. Sandy teaches girls from 7 to 16 how to ride horses in several different styles as well as how to care for the animals at her stables on the outskirts of Paducah. Photo: Nathan Papes #mtnworkshops #kentucky #horsesofinstagram (at The Mountain Workshops)

After the final card drop and group picture, the natives get restless. Photo: Jake May #mtnworkshops #kentucky #photojournalism #travelky #nppa (at The Mountain Workshops)

After a long day at school and outdoors, Isaac, left, and Luke Medley inhale some cheeseburgers for dinner. Their mother, Lalah, describes their dynamic as “parallel play” where most of the time, even though they’re doing the same thing in the same place, they’re doing it individually in their own way. Photo: Masao Okano #mtnworkshops #kentucky (at The Mountain Workshops)

Happy Thanksgiving!
Bonds are built not just between the girls and the horses but between the girls who take lessons there. “I don’t know what it is about girls and horses, but it’s deep, and when they got it they don’t generally grow out of it. Which most parents hope they will,” says Sandy. Photo: Nathan Papes #mtnworkshops #kentucky #horsesofinstagram (at The Mountain Workshops)

#mtnworkshops participants get ready for the hat draw. Photo by Scott McIntyre #kentucky #photojournalism #documentary (at The Mountain Workshops)

Bambi Fox ends a day of caring for racehorses, visiting clients and practicing for a performance. Photo: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone #mtnworkshops #kentucky #photojournalism (at The Mountain Workshops)

Paducah. Photo: Jeffrey Zide #mtnworkshops #kentucky #travelky #paducahkentucky #kentuckyforkentucky (at The Mountain Workshops)