1. What motivated you to take a workshop and why did you pick Momenta?
I’ve been trying to make this hobby useful and meaningful. Momenta provided the right outlet for making photography fun and give it value, while still providing the opportunity to improve my skills.
2. What surprised you most about the location you visited or the experience of working with a nonprofit?
I’m new to the non-profit sector – everything about it was unforgettable. I worked with Arise Charter Academy in New Orleans, and the intelligent and engaging faculty amazed me. These children scholars are incredibly lucky to have resources like these.
I also must mention my previous and first experience with Momenta in Colombia 2017 where we were flown into Northern Colombia to work with FundaUniban, a non-profit and banana company that provided a home and community to displaced families from the violent surrounding areas. I’ve traveled quite a bit on my own, but this experience was unexpected and life-changing.
3. What was the best lesson you took away from your workshop?
There was so much to learn from Jamie Rose in New Orleans and Chris Anderson in Colombia, as well as from all their faculty. They’ve given me knowledge across the spectrum from basic camera operation to best photo business practices to grant writing. One lesson that I think I needed the most was not something technical, but more about my thought process during a photoshoot.
It was given to me by both Jamie and Chris on two separate occasions, which was essentially to be patient, stick with your subject and remain focused and undistracted with your composition. This has given me a little bit of mental freedom to allow myself to continue shooting with the same subject instead of having the anxiety of pointing a camera at my subject for more than 5 seconds and leave before a moment can materialize. This thought process has fundamentally changed the way I shoot.
4. What was your favorite photograph from this workshop & why?
These two students standing outside in the early morning waiting for the school to open was one my favorite shots. After shooting for two days inside the classrooms of mostly students at their desks, I got a chance to photograph the kids without their teachers hovering. As I got motivated in my street photography mode, this photo helped me start off the day with some creative inspiration.
5. What would you tell a potential student to help them prepare for their experience with Momenta?
You’re going to get a session with a faculty every night. Come prepared. They will answer all your questions, give you the right advice, about anything. The founders and staff are all expert photographers and photojournalists. The opportunity to sit with them and get inside their heads was invaluable to me. As they will tell you, this workshop is about you. You have the freedom to make it your own workshop, so take full advantage of it, however, you plan to.
Also, make sure you have all your necessary dongles if you have a Mac, or they’ll force you to watch a funny video clip about the extraneous-ness of dongles.
Johnny Chung is a street documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.
Johnny currently has a career in the data and analytics field in NYC. To break away from the white cubicle walls, Johnny travels to find interesting and meaningful stories. In order to feel his own pulse, he volunteers for non-profits and supports their public awareness through photography.
The isolated patience required for taking photos, expressing moments and telling stories through his photography perfectly complements his personality. Johnny hopes to continue working on making a picture rather than simply taking one.