Elements of Style Workshop

Friday, October 20, 2017
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Aperture Foundation
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York

On October 20, 2017, eleven photography students from colleges and universities in NYC were invited to Aperture Foundation’s Chelsea gallery for a workshop inspired by Aperture magazine’s fall issue, “Elements of Style.” Participants were joined by Rory Satran, editorial director for i-D US, and photographer Nadine Ijewere. The first session of the workshop was led by Satran, who presented her career path—an instructive narrative on the nature of success and how Satran’s accomplishments relied on a combination of luck, skill, and, as she put it, “chutzpah.” Satran provided students with her valuable perspective on the editorial side of fashion photography, answering questions about how to get their work seen by editors, how to collaborate with an editorial team, and how to navigate contracts. Satran discussed the differences between editorial and commercial work within the context of fashion photography, and gave students guidance about maintaining their personal creative visions while carrying out paid projects for commercial clients. Toward the end of her presentation, Satran went through a list of mistakes she made early on in her career, an illustrative lesson in what not to do, including cautionary statements such as “I thought I knew everything” and “I tried to control the outcome.” Satran emphasized the need for young photographers to take chances, to be persistent, and to advocate for themselves and their work.

The second session of the workshop was a master class by Nadine Ijewere. As a young artist whose photographs have been featured in publications such as i-D and The New York Times, as well as in ad campaigns for commercial clients, Ijewere gave helpful advice about making images for clients while continuing one’s individual, creative photographic practice. Ijewere’s style is unique in that she shoots fashion photographs that simultaneously explore issues of identity and diversity. With such specific stylistic goals, Ijewere must be careful to maintain creative control of her image-making practice, and thus she chooses to work without an agent. Ijewere explained this decision to students and discussed practical issues, such as how she gets permission from models and works with collaborators. For the remainder of the workshop, Ijewere led students through a portfolio review. She looked at each student’s body of work, asking questions and giving feedback. At the end of the day, Ijewere gave participants her contact information, stressing that she would love to see how each individual project progresses. Ijewere’s inspiring positivity encouraged students to explore their ideas and to be confident in the potential of each of their projects.

This workshop would not have been possible without a lead contribution from the Ann Levy fund. Additional public funding was provided from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Thanks to its generous contributors, Aperture is able to continue with its mission to become a more inclusive arts organization, nurturing the talent of young emerging photographers and allowing us to build diverse new audiences while responding to and presenting photography’s engagement with urgent social themes.


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