You Are Not a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake… But Your Story Should Be: How to craft, conceptualize, develop and sell a singular photo essay

This workshop with Ashley Gilbertson, and his collaborator and wife, Joanna Gilbertson, will elucidate the process by which a successful photographer works through his or her ideas, translates them into a cohesive pitch, fills the proposed brief and edits the photographs so the idea is realized in a salient, cohesive and unique narrative.

Attendees will be taught how to hone their crafts using real world examples, with particular emphases on the importance of presenting a different point of view, and the expectations and challenges with which photojournalists are faced when working with editors, and on their own.

Successful examples of pitches will be presented, as the students are led along the path from idea to final edit. Failed pitches will also be presented as lessons on the importance of experimentation.

Price per student: $250
Location: Downtown Manhattan
Exact meeting location and schedule will be given to the attendees after registration.


Ashley Gilbertson is a photographer with VII, and a principal at Shell Shock Pictures. Gilbertson’s photographs from Iraq where he worked from 2002 until 2008, gained him recognition from the Overseas Press Club who awarded Gilbertson the prestigious Robert Capa Gold Medal. His first book, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” was released in 2007. Since then, Gilbertson has been examining veterans issues including Post Traumatic Stress and suicide for Time Magazine, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Times. In 2007, he began working on “Bedrooms Of The Fallen,” a collection of photographs depicting the intact bedrooms of service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. That series was published by The New York Times Magazine, and went on to win the documentary photography National Magazine Award. It will be published in book form in 2012. He lives with his wife and child in New York City.

Joanna Gilbertson is a writer. Joanna rewrote Ashley’s first book, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (without a byline), and conceived the idea for Ashley’s forthcoming book, “Bedrooms of The Fallen.” Almost everything Ashley conceives and shoots is realized through collaborating with Joanna – her ideas and approach are some of the most unique and successful in the industry. Additionally, her keen, often provocative regard as an editor is trusted and utilized by many working photojournalists.