NPPA Donates $20K To Support Eddie Adams Barnstorm

Eddie Adams, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and the founder of the Barnstorm Workshops. Photograph © by Eugene Pierce
Eddie Adams, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and the founder of the Barnstorm Workshops. Photograph © by Eugene Pierce

By Donald R. Winslow

NEW YORK, NY (March 13, 2014) – The National Press Photographers Association has donated $20,000 to the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop to support its ongoing educational efforts in visual journalism, which are in concert with NPPA's educational mission, president Mark Dolan announced today. 

Dolan attended an EAW board of directors meeting this week in Manhattan where the new support from NPPA was discussed with EAW executive director Alyssa Adams and board members. 

Along with NPPA Life Member member Eddie Adams, her photojournalist husband who died in 2004, she is the co-creator of the workshop, founded in 1988. 

"The Eddie Adams Workshop is well established as the premiere workshop in the world for young photojournalists," Dolan said today. "The interaction the participants experience, with both the professionals who come in to coach and edit, and with the other participants, has helped accelerate the development of so many young photojournalists over the years. NPPA is very happy to be in a position to support them in their mission, and we hope we are able to do so well into the future."

Dolan said NPPA would provide up to an additional $5,000 in travel support for speakers and faculty members to attend and participate in the Workshop.

Many NPPA members have attended Barnstorm over the years as faculty members, speakers, portfolio reviewers, and participants. President Dolan cited NPPA's Mission Statement and the organization's dedication to education as having played a major role in the leadership's decision to financially support Barnstorm. NPPA's Mission Statement says the organization, which was founded in 1946 but has evolved over the years as the profession continues to change, is "dedicated to the advancement of visual journalism, its creation, practice, training, editing, and distribution, in all news media, and works to promote its role as a vital public service." Each of these keystones, Dolan said, are fundamentally addressed by what takes place at Barnstorm.

Adams today said the Barnstorm board was pleased to receive the support from NPPA, and that they have not yet had time to discuss how the funds might be used – whether they might create awards, or scholarships, or create additional opportunities to support the Workshop's students. 

NPPA executive director Chip Deale said the association's financial support of the Workshop was made possible by royalties that NPPA receives from its membership in the Authors Coalition of America. ACA funds, he noted, must be used for the benefit of a "class" of authors, specifically U.S.-based published photojournalists, and not just NPPA members.  "As such," Deale added, "allocating ACA royalty funds to the Eddie Adams Workshop is an excellent way by which NPPA can help advance the overall photojournalism profession."

The next Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop, which will take place from October 10 to 13, 2014, in Jeffersonville, NY, is now open for applications. The application is due before May 31 and the details are online here.

Eddie Adams was an icon in photojournalism, covering 13 wars during his career, beginning as a U.S. Marine combat photographer in Korea and ending with an assignment to cover a day in the life of the average American soldier in Afghanistan in 2000 for Parade magazine. Along the way he photographed some of the most celebrated people in the world, from Presidents to Popes, from Academy Award-winning actors to coal miners working deep in the earth and steel workers hanging high above Manhattan. 

A native of New Kensington, a Pennsylvania blue collar river and factory town, Adams's work ethic and Marine sensibilities drove him from an early staff position on the local daily newspaper up through the ranks of the Associated Press and, in the end, into a career as one of the world's most sought-after freelance magazine photographers. While Adams, nearing the end of his life at 71 due to Lou Gehrig's Disease, told News Photographer magazine in an interview that he wanted to be remembered for his essay "Boat Of No Smiles" and the Parade magazine covers he did for the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy campaign, most of the world still thinks of Adams for a split-second, incredible moment he captured on a Saigon street on February 1, 1968, during the opening days of the Tet Offensive. "Saigon Execution" not only won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Adams and the Associated Press, and it became one of the most iconic war photographs in history.

Later in his career Adams insisted on teaching and mentoring some of the best and brightest future photojournalists of his profession. In that spirit, he designed the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop to match 100 hand-picked photojournalism students with veteran photojournalism professionals in rural upstate New York for a four-day, intense workshop in an old barn that he had renovated over the years. The students attend Barnstorm tuition free and they are admitted based on the merits of their portfolios. Nikon has historically been Barnstorm's major sponsor through their Spirit Initiative program, making it possible for the students to attend free of charge. 

In 2009, Alyssa Adams donated the photojournalist's archive to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin.

Read more about the Eddie Adams Barnstorm Workshop online here.

Photograph of Eddie Adams in Vietnam is courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin