Sunday, August 12, 2012

Guest Post: Review of Christa Meola's Paris Workshop Retreat

After reading Christine's review of Christa Meola's Paris Workshop Retreat & Mentoring Program, one fellow attendee also decided to post her own review online on DWF.  Tricia's review can be seen on Christine's original review here on Photo Lovecat.  Sigrid Cardona was originally going to share her review as a comment on Christine's post, but it is too long to post in the comments so she emailed us asking if we would allow her review to be published here as a guest post since she does not currently have a blog.  We all heartily agreed to allow her this chance for her voice to be heard as well.

Sigrid's Review:  


I can attest to EVERYTHING that Christine has stated. I too was at the Paris workshop with Christa Meola. I completely agree with Christine in her disappointment in this Workshop.

I am a newbie to photography workshops. My dream was always to go to Pasadena Art Center to learn photography but I never had the cash to do such a thing. So recently I had been wanting to up the ante in my photography and wanted to learn from a great Boudoir photographer. I stumbled on to Christa Meola's website and the images just blew me away! I knew I wanted to bring my images to that type of a caliber. I read that she was doing a workshop and figured i could REALLY learn how to do this properly.

And in response to the Anonymous folk who questioned in the comments WHY SPEND SO MUCH MONEY... because in ANY Career you need an education. What the hell is wrong with spending money on education????? Yes true you don't have to pay, and instead can take years to learn this on your own. I and many others have chose to PAY for an education and learn from real photographers that want to teach and help you get to the next level in your career. But the blame should not be put on us because we wanted to LEARN. INSTEAD why not ask, "WHY didn't the instructor and in this case Christa Meola teach us anything or at least follow through with what she was suppose to
teach?"

Now let me back this up for just a second and let everyone here know that during the workshop, and even when I came home, I was content with how the workshop went. I was never personally offended by Christa. And while in Paris I had a conversation with Christa where she didn’t know why most of the girls on the trip where upset. I tried explaining to her from what I had gathered of why they were upset. I even defended Christa when we came back from the trip when all of us Paris attendees had a discussion about the trip.

My thoughts of the workshop began to change when I read Christine's post and I realized that there where many discrepancies in what happened and what was actually supposed to happen in Paris. I must
remind you all that I was a newbie and I had never attended a workshop. So I really didn’t know what to expect and really didn’t set any expectations.

When I came home I learned about Creative Live and have been Intensely watching every live event ever since. Then Christine’s post came to light and it hit me! Christine opened my eyes to what really happened and DIDN'T happen in Paris.

Now also let me tell you that I didn’t just hop on a bandwagon either, after taking all these online Live courses with industry greats such as Sal Cincotta, Jared Platt, Sue Bryce and now Joe Buissink, I now
have realized how a photography instructor NEEDS to instruct and how much is possible to learn from a 3 day workshop. I can honestly say now that I did not learn anything concrete from Christa’s work shop, but instead learned a lot from my fellow attendees.

After editing my images from Paris I have also began to feel bad at the fact that we did not really get any Boudoir or Fine art models. Our supposedly Fine art model was an older drunk lady who NO ONE could tame. In my group more then half the girls just quit trying to photograph her because there was no point! I also just learned that one of the models we can’t even use on our portfolios because she was under age. There really was no Boudoir models nor where there any real fine art models. There was no teaching of how to pose the models until after all the models had gone and she showed us with a fellow attendee who so kindly decided to pose. I struggled through the photo shoots and received help from my fellow attendees because Christa was not around. I was also asked to be a model because we had a shortage of models, which in turn caused me to miss one hour of photographing.

FACTS:

• 3 day workshop not 5 days
• No real fine art models or Boudoir (some models refused to be photographed in lingerie or nude); one of our models was DRUNK; one of our models was under age; one of our models an attendee and I found on the streets of Paris and asked if she would model because we had a lack of models from Christa Meola; attendees were asked to model due to lack of models
• There was no teaching BEFORE models showed up on how to deal with them or even how to pose them or to work with natural lighting.

• No structure in teaching. There was no set plan or agenda of what we where supposed to be taught. The few lessons or I would more accurately call them “Conversations” about subjects where all during
lunch while eating.
• Organization was pretty darn bad. She really needed an assistant.

The lack of structure, organization and concrete teaching from this workshop is definitely very disappointing. For me personally it is disappointing because I know that my family helped me so much to go on this trip and that is not to overshadow any of my fellow attendees, because I know each and everyone of them had their own struggles and sacrifices to make this trip a reality. I truly hope that our voices are heard and that no one else has to be put through something like this and lose their money like we did. I have not spoken to any of Christa’s other workshop attendees or know how she performed in
previous workshops. After getting to know Christa Meola a bit during the trip I don’t think she maliciously or intentionally botched this workshop. I sincerely hope that this was a one time screw-up for her and she will be more organized and have a full lesson plan and be prepared if she does do any future workshops, because not all of her attendees are going to be Newbies like me and they will hold her accountable for her mishaps. Hopefully we will all get an apology if she decides to own up to her faults in this workshop and by that I mean an apology for her lack of teaching, structure and organization and not an apology for how we felt about the trip.

4 comments:

  1. Jadazaine PhotographySeptember 25, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    You should all go to after dark conference:) !!!!! I went and I loved every second of it!!!! The next one is Feb.18-20th, in Orlando, Florida. Admission is $400 if you sign up by October 1st, using discount code ADEORL. Otherwise, it's $500. Seriously worth it. You learn sooo much and everyone is sooo nice and willing to help you learn and grow as a photographer. Part of making the best of their conference depends on how much effort you put into it personally as well. It's best to research who/what you want to focus on before hand and be ready to attend. I hope to be able to go. It also may be the last one... rumor has it.

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  2. You should always read reviews from previous attendees before you go on these expensive workshops. Hopefully this review will help people who were planning to go on one of these workshops.

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