Current Occupation: Beck is an English teacher at AMIDEAST and Mohamed is a student and jeweler.
Workshops: Bali: Island of the Gods 2018
Instructors: Jamie Rose, John Christopher Anderson
These photos were taken on the Momenta Bali: Island of the Gods workshop in Bali, Indonesia from June 12-22, 2018. (Photo © Mohamed Kessentini/Momenta Workshops 2018)
1. What motivated you to take a workshop and why did you pick Momenta?
Beck: I heard about Momenta from Jamie during an interview she gave on the podcast The Candid Frame in late 2017. I was intrigued by the interview and went to the website to look at the available international workshops and found that Momenta would be traveling to Bali in mid-June 2018.
After signing up, we got engaged and inquired if my fiance Mohamed could attend. Luckily enough, Mohamed was able to join the program. So it wasn’t just a workshop, it was also an amazing honeymoon a week after our wedding.
2. What surprised you most about the location you visited or the experience of working with a nonprofit?
We were both surprised at how friendly all the Balinese people were. And it’s probably the most photogenic place on the planet.
3. What was the best lesson you took away from your workshop?
Beck: Slow down and understand the process of what’s happening in front of you. What has just happened, that you might have missed, will happen again. You just have to wait.
Mohamed: Follow the light.
These photos were taken on the Momenta Bali: Island of the Gods workshop in Bali, Indonesia from June 12-22, 2018. (Photo © Beck Donato/Momenta Workshops 2018)
4. What was your favorite photograph from this workshop & why?
Beck My favorite photo I took during the workshop is of a row of young girls outside a temple on the day of a big celebration. I love this photo because of both the memory of this day and what I captured in the photo. This day we had to travel quite a ways to attend a special celebration at a temple that the manager of the hotel we stayed at was kind enough to invite us to.
Once we arrived, it literally DUMPED rain for a solid hour. It made for a really fun environment to shoot in and interact with each other in. I also love the gesture shown between the girls in the photo. They’re all sitting together, but these little groups within them each have their own thing going on. Also, not far down that grass walkway was a cockfight, which while we were there made for an interesting juxtaposition.
Mohamed: My favorite photo was the result of so much time put in to get one amazing shot. I spent probably 1 or 1 and a half hours photographing this cockfight. I had been down in the actual pit with the roosters and shot for like 30 minutes. When I finally looked at the back of my camera, I found that all my photos were blurry because I had hit something that messed with the focus.
After I went to Jamie and the problem got fixed, I went back to the fight and shot for another hour or so. This photo (above) is the culmination of all the things I learned during the workshop: looking for light, finding moment, looking for gesture, looking for lines and shapes, telling a part of a larger story. This is why you go to a Momenta workshop.
5. What would you tell a potential student to help them prepare for their experience with Momenta?
Mohamed: Know the technical side of your camera so you can focus on capturing moments.
Beck: Plans change and that’s ok. Not that the workshop wasn’t well organized! I just think that’s a good life lesson in general, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Be prepared to go with the flow.
Beck and Mohamed’s Biography:
Beck and Mohamed are a married couple living in Tunisia who are hobbyist photographers who hope to soon be able to take photography beyond a hobby.
See Beck‘s work:
See Mohamed’s work: