*This retreat allotted me the time and space to fully reflect on a body of work while getting to connect with great group of photographers. It was equal parts energizing and exhausting, a true indicator of growth. Thanks to the help and encouragement of Jennifer and David, since the retreat, my group and I have broadened our network and audiences for our work in new and exciting ways. - Ivette Spradlin (Highlands, June 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat helped me in more ways that I can accurately testify to in justifiable text. However, one of the most poignant things that I have been able to take away from this retreat is knowing that I have two incredibly talented and committed figures that are relevant in the photography field who I trust to advocate for me. What I learned from Flash Powder has been monumental in how it has positively shaped who I am as an artist, professional, photographer, and even a person. I am grateful for this opportunity that not only gave me new experience but also friendship to take home with me. There aren't enough people like Jennifer and David in the world and I am often times still shocked we all found each other but above all I am proud to be a flasher and consider this community a second family. Thank you, Jennifer Schwartz and David Bram! - Rachael Banks (Highlands, January 2016)
*Jennifer and David share—from the process of editing your work, critically looking at who and where your audience will be found, to the strategies of social media and websites; open discussions, lectures and hands on creation bring a plethora of information that has until this point, eluded you.
Flash Powder opened my eyes to the nuances of everything that happens after you’ve printed your images. Topics where you feel well versed will open up with new information, new processes and new ways of seeing. I experienced an instant connection with this group of people. Friendships were made that will support me and my work going forward. The energy and love of photography I experienced at the retreat have pushed me to try new things, and create a strategy to propel my work and business in the direction that feels right. - Douglas Brull (Highlands, November 2015)
*Coming to Highlands for the retreat in 2015 I had high expectations but the experience I had far surpassed anything I could have imagined. Jennifer and David's help with my work was invaluable. My work, career, and life have not been the same since. - Nathan Pearce (Highlands, September 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat provided me with an opportunity to finally spend the time I needed tightening the edit on my work and artist statement. Jennifer and David are so dedicated to what they do and helping photographers to grow. It was an amazing four days full of connections with other photographers and fantastic discussions about our projects and ideas. I left stimulated and excited to get back to work on my project. Being in North Carolina in the house allowed for a tremendous focus and yet provided a relaxed setting. The retreat provides this amazing network that continues to grow! - Samantha Johnston (Highlands, July 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat was truly a turning point in my personal and professional life. Prior to the retreat I was pretty reserved when it came to networking. The information about social media, networking, and cultivating your own community of collectors was especially valuable to me. After Flash Powder, I approached my career with renewed energy and focus. In the months since I have increased the audience for my work, connected with many kind people, and gained forward momentum in my career. I am very grateful to have had the experience. -Kris Sanford (Highlands, July 2015)
*Coming to Highlands in 2015 I had high hopes of pushing my work to another level while collaborating with a group of like minded and knowledgable individuals. My high hopes were soon realized with tremendous amount of support from not only David and Jennifer, but the group at large. Everyone gave insightful feedback and ideas that really helped clarify a very large and loose body of work into something much more meaningful and approachable. The experience was personally enriching and invaluable to my future as a photographer. -Shawn Bush (Highlands, July 2015)
*Jennifer and David are like a custom closet organizing system -- something that I desperately needed but didn’t have. The retreat addressed many issues that had been floating around in my head for years. I think it was so important to hear concise direction: this is what you are doing well; this is holding you back. In the end, I feel more in control. Great concept. Fantastic people. And where else could you become part of a community in four days? - Terri Bright (Highlands, June 2015)
*Remember your old photo geek friends you once had? The ones you used to geek out with and talk about “The Americans”? That’s Jennifer and David except they are better because they smile more, give you more energy, more attention and they connect you to a network of amazing people that can help you be a better artist. And yeah sure, you focus on your work, learn how to get published and understand the fine art photo business in new ways Blah blah blah. But really what you take away with is new perspectives on your career and an old song like Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” stuck in your head for months. - Mike Tittel (Highlands, June 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat was the perfect spark to my post-MFA career as a photographer. Spending the week with the three talented photographers, along with David and Jennifer, was like a super-distilled MFA program and provided everything that I was personally missing in terms of professional development and how to confidently navigate today's world of photography. David and Jennifer's enthusiasm and dedication to seeing participants reach their full potential is genuine and inspiring. Beyond the retreat itself, I feel that I have been instantaneously plugged into a terrific network of supportive and motivated mentors and fellow photographers that will continue to grow with each successive retreat. - Adam Reynolds (Highlands, June 2015)
*I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to join the 14th Flash Powder Retreat in the great state of Oregon. Nothing excites me more than spending an entire week discussing, reading and thinking about photography. My three fellow flashers and I bonded quickly. From day one we realized we were creating memories that would stay with us forever.
The agenda created by Jennifer and David was full of information and conversations that just can't be experienced in formal settings. I brought along a long-term project that I felt needed some serious direction, and I was able to receive advice on how to properly sequence and edit the work. I also received some much needed assistance on polishing my project statement and learned strategies that will make the creation of future statements much less daunting. I completely revamped my website, learned how to properly price and edition my prints, and created an ambitious yet achievable 12 month plan that is going to help fine-tune my fine art career. - Andrew Miller (Astoria, April 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat I attended was like the "best hits album" of grad school, condensed into a week. It was a magical place where the critiques were inspired, the lessons amazing, the writing transformative, the food and drinks unbelievable, the field trips ridiculously photogenic, and the support unwavering. In all of these ways, my three fellow Flashers, David, and Jennifer helped me take my work to a new level. Now, in the studio, my mindset has shifted away from "do I have time to do that?" to "go! go! go!" - Allison Welch (Astoria, April 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat is everything you should have learned in Art School but didn’t. The valuable inside information told in amusing ways really taught me how to navigate the photography world and helped me find my place in it. It has left me with the best 12-month plan to move my career forward.
The patience and passion of David and Jennifer come through with everything they do. Their knowledge of the industry and how to navigate it, as a professional is exactly what I needed to learn as well as skills like editing my work and writing in a concise way. I felt so empowered, when I got home I redid everything on my website.
The feedback from David and Jennifer as well as the other photographers with us was inspirational. Having eyes other than my own looking at the work helped me see past many of the roadblocks we can face as photographers working alone. I now have a family of photographers that are always supportive and encouraging. Since I have been back, my mind is full of ideas with a burning desire to work, I barley sleep anymore. - Greg Brophy (Astoria, April 2015)
*The Flash Powder Retreat in Astoria opened my eyes to the working of the photography world and provided direction I have craving. Besides helping me redesign my website, they motivated me to come up with a marketing plan and helped me clarify my direction for an upcoming museum exhibit in a way that will make the message much more powerful. It was a privilege to work with them and the three other talented photographers they selected, whom I was also greatly inspired by. So many questions I have been pondering since I started out on this path were addressed and resolved in a very short time. - Lynne Buchanan (Astoria, April 2015)
*It was really nice to have a team of people who get together to help you further your own career and gives you the opportunity to do the same for another dedicated, passionate group of people. David and Jennifer are an awesome duo, and have alot to offer anyone who's given the opportunity to work with them. I especially benefitted from hearing their thoughts around social media and representation in the digital age. I'm glad I was able to attend, and recommend it to anyone who's been given the opportunity. - Whit Forrester (Highlands, January 2015)
*At first I was skeptical. I thought to myself why should I spend the money and time to do this? Will it really be worth it? Will it help my career? The other people I know who have participated in the past retreats also expressed that they had these concerns before going, but were quick to look me in the eye and say “you need to do this. It is really a worthwhile experience.”
The honest answer to all these questions is that it was one of the most enjoyable and worthwhile experiences I have had since exiting graduate school. I’m pretty sure I would even do it a second time. Jennifer and David are truly out to help photographers. I now consider them friends and colleagues, and I don’t know where I would be without them. There are a handful of people I trust with how to handle my art and business, and they are at the top of the list now, and believe me, I'm not the trusting type. I'm an Appalachian after all. As far as the question, has this helped my career? YES! Since I left the program in January, I have had two museum meetings, won the Magenta Flash Forward Prize, The Foam Talent Prize, David showed my work in Fraction and in an amazing nationally recognized group show in Albuquerque, and have shows lined up through the next year and half in America and Europe. These results have a direct correlation from the strategic planning, editing and sequencing, and artist statement conversations that happened at the retreat. I really cannot thank everyone involved enough.
Other than the inside knowledge that you will gain about the photo community, it'a not just all business either. It was like a photo nerd camp (and I mean that with so much endearment it hurts). It was a vacation, and I have some great new friends I wouldn’t have otherwise met. So don’t give it a second thought. As the past participants told me, "You need to do this". It is an amazing experience. It will help your career, and you will be better for it. - Aaron Blum (Highlands, January 2015)
*There is nothing more valuable than the opinion of peer in today's world of photography where loneliness is the real enemy. Jennifer and David have been extremely helpful, generous and competent. Flash Powder has been a life changing experience for me that I would recommend to every photographer. - Carolina Sandretto (Corona, November 2014)
*I had a great time with Jennifer and David in New Mexico. The location is beautiful and remote, the other three photographers were all very interesting and inspired and motivated by their work. Jennifer and David brought great enthusiasm and a lot of ideas to the sessions. I came away from the retreat with many new directions and ideas to explore. It was a wonderful experience and a real break from my routine. It was fun, exciting and inspiring. - Lee Saloutos (Corona, November 2014)
*Thanks to Jennifer and David's expertise in their respective (but complementary) fields, Flash Powder Projects ignited a spark in me that fired up my motivation, broadened my horizons, and opened my mind to entirely new meaning behind my work. I walked into the retreat in the state of a rut, but walked out feeling fresh and revitalized. I am now equipped with the tools to be a better photographer and the support framework from Jennifer and David, as well as my fellow participants, to conquer the field! - Stewart Craig (Corona, November 2014)
*During the retreat I had the most unique and memorable time editing work and chatting about all things photography. Our group worked well in discussions and critique’s and the small group of four allowed for more intimate conversations. David and Jennifer gave insightful feedback and were very approachable and New Mexico itself was absolutely stunning. Highly recommended for emerging photographers/ artists. - Tammy Law (Corona, November 2014)
*Jennifer and David have created a unique and one of a kind experience with the Flash Powder retreats. I can say with confidence that my career has made a significant turn since completing the retreat . I now have a plan and a network of mentors and friends to help my career continue to grow. - Rod Fincannon (Highlands, July 2014)
*I am more confident in where I'm going with my work thanks to David, Jennifer and the 3 talented, accomplished photographers who are now part of my support network. David's and Jennifer's expertise and straightforward, group approach made it possible for all of us, despite our different backgrounds, to receive the customized guidance we needed and to see results almost immediately afterward. Flash Powder really is like a burst of light illuminating, inspiring and guiding a growing community of photographers. - Audra Melton (Highlands, July 2014)
*Before you can make meaningful work, you have to focus your mind, focus your heart and focus your goals. Flash Powder did just that for me, in a collaborative environment, away from distraction. It introduced me to new channels for my photography, some new friends and left me with a 12-month roadmap for my work. - Justin Cook (Highlands, July 2014)
*The Flash Powder retreat introduced me to 3 great photographers and 2 insightful, generous, and thoughtful leaders in Jennifer and David. I saw my work in new and exciting ways, had my website recreated by Jennifer, and made a 12-month plan to move forward with all the tools learned in The Highlands. No workshop was this powerful. - Honey Lazar (Highlands, July 2014)
*The Flash Powder Retreat was exactly what I needed to recharge my creativity. The 4 days spent strengthening an existing body of my work and developing a plan to launch it was invaluable. The feedback I received allowed me to build something I couldn’t have done on my own. The knowledge and experience shared between David, Jennifer and my three wonderful retreat-mates will help me for many years to come. - Hannele Lahti (Highlands, April 2014)
*Through fresh and insightful discussions during the Flash Powder Retreat I was able to identify core themes shared between what I had originally thought to be very disparate bodies of work. This was vital for me moving forward as it affirmed and motivated my natural personal concerns and overall creative interests. Sharing this experience with a small group of brilliant strangers, void of egos or presumptions, allowed us to engage with one another through the common languages of storytelling and photography. - Gene Ellenberg (Highlands, April 2014)
* Flash Powder is true to its name. It lit a fire in me! For the better part of a decade I've been dedicated to my art practice, focussing on making new work and exploring new projects. But while I had confidence in the work I was doing I was not dedicated to promoting it or my career as an artist in a thought-out way. At Flash Powder, for 5 days in a cabin in the woods, away from the distractions of the daily grind, my fellow Flashers and I got schooled in all sorts of strategic tools to advance our work. More than just days of lectures though, our time was filled with conversations that were specifically focussed on our projects and how to bring them to light in the best way possible. Jennifer and David are warm, approachable, and dedicated advocates for artists, and a hilarious comedic duo to boot. For so long I didn't have direction in my approach to sharing my work, but my priorities are now much clearer thanks to Flash Powder. - Sean Carroll (Highlands, January 2014)
* I had a great time at Flash Powder! The retreat totally shifted the way I think about audience and underscored the importance of maintaining contact with my professional supporters. I gained skills and knowledge that will help me more strategically use my time and resources as I move forward in my work as a photographer. Sarah Pfohl (Highlands, January 2014)
* The retreat introduced me to new methods for presenting my work to different audiences that I didn't know existed. David and Jennifer also helped me put together a marketing plan for an upcoming exhibition. It was the best way to kick off 2014. I left with a plan of action and a batch of new friends. Jared Soares (Highlands, January 2014)
* I knew when I went to Flashpowder I would learn a ton that I didn’t already know. What surprised me was the depth of relationships built in such a short amount of time. Jennifer and David create an a wonderful environment where we talk about the things we really want out of this art we are most passionate about and then discuss ways to execute those goals. I came away with a better understanding of moving my documentary work to the art realm, how to better articulate an artist statement. Most importantly, I came away with five new supporters and friends who will continue to inform and guide me through this career. Lexey Swall (Corona, October 2013)
* Flash Powder was an amazing experience. I absolutely loved everyone in the group. It was so great to work with other photographers throughout the week and Jennifer's and David's guidance has been invaluable. I have been totally motivated to finish my project and appreciate their on-going support. - Maggie Meiners (Corona, October 2013)
* Flash Powder is like group photo therapy. It made me a happier photographer. - Dustin Chambers (Corona, October 2013)
* Flash Powder Corona was difficult, painful, and intense in the best way possible. It was a sort of birth - growing away from a period of stasis to a period of great optimism and fecundity. - Steven Ford (Corona, October 2013)
* I was honored and privileged to participate the Flashpowder retreat in Astoria, Oregon this past summer. It was an intense, productive week of work and idea sharing — one that challenged me and made me think about my work and where it might belong in new and exciting ways. I walked in with one project almost complete and another about to begin, and walked out with an edit, a plan for exhibiting and publishing and a new community of people who humble me with their creativity, insight and willingness to collaborate. David Bram and Jennifer Schwartz set the standard, both with their efforts and energy to make the workshop as worthwhile and engaging as possible, and their continued drive after the workshop was over to help guide me with my projects, marketing and long term game plan. I couldn't recommend this workshop enough to photographers who are serious about their work and creative efforts. - Tristan Spinski (Astoria, August 2013)
* My Flash Powder retreat was wonderful opportunity to analyze and develop my project with the help of a constructive community. I left with a new sense of confidence, direction, and support. - Emma Powell (Astoria, August 2013)
* Being at the retreat was like getting this insider secret look at how to be part of the fine-art photo world. I feel like I left with a map of what to do next and people who will help me get there. - Shannon Leith (Astoria, August 2013)
* For me the Flashpowder retreat was a sort of mental oasis, an opportunity to fill in the gaps and connect the dots on the path that is my work. It provided the opportunity to join together with fellow photographers which took the experience to another level that was invaluable. Taking part in Flashpowder is a wonderful way to gain insight, support, and confidence with long-lasting effects. - David Kressler (Astoria, August 2013)
* The retreat in Highlands, NC was incredibly productive, intense but also fun. I came home with renewed focus, direction, and confidence to tackle my career goals. David and Jennifer exude a passion for photography and are equally passionate about helping photographers. They are knowledgeable, approachable, and flexible and make sure that everyone gets specific help they need. The small group dynamic is perfect for honest feedback and getting to know one another. - Sarah Malakoff (Highlands, July 2013)
* I was so thrilled to attend the retreat in Highlands, NC. I've been taking pictures for a long time, but really needed to learn the nuts and bolts of how to get my work out there. I got invaluable help with writing my artist statement, editing and sequencing, marketing, and learning how to navigate portfolio reviews and galleries. The intensive nature of the retreat and time with other photographers really gave me clarity on the state of my work and the steps I need to take moving forward. And the greatest part was the community building aspect - I feel so lucky to have Jennifer and David on my team, both as friends and teachers, as well as all the other inspiring photographers I got to know. I feel truly lucky to have been a part and am so grateful for the experience. - Charlotte Strode (Highlands, July 2013)
* For me, the Flash Powder retreat in North Carolina was exactly what I needed to push my work to new heights. One on ones with Jennifer and David allowed me to focus a large project, generate new ideas to show my work, write a great artist statement, and set lofty but attainable goals for the year to come. The lessons are packed with great insights into the industry. Jennifer and David have really started something special. But, it's more than a retreat to write artist statements and look at work. It's a place to really get to know fellow artists and raise your potential as a photographer. - Greg Kahn (Highlands, July 2013)
* I have a general sense of confidence, purpose, direction, and organization that I didn't have before the retreat. I still feel honored that I was asked to take part in the retreat and fortunate to have been able to spend time with such incredible people. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will be forever grateful for. - Annick Sjobakken (Astoria, April 2013)
* In April 2013, I was lucky enough to attend the Flash Powder Projects retreat in beautiful Astoria, OR with David & Jen plus 4 other incredible artists. To say that it was life-changing is no exaggeration. I went into the retreat with a completed project that needed help promoting and polishing, as well as an older body of work that needed some re-tooling, and a brand new project that I wanted to share for the first time. Over the course of our retreat, I not only got everything I hoped for from editing to rewriting artist statements and specific ideas for getting the work out in the world, but I learned how to be a more organized person and got over my hang-ups about how to reach out to people in the photo world. Plus, I got to hang out with incredible people and explore a beautiful town and take photos. It was grown-up photo summer camp! And it's true what they say: the friends you make in camp are your friends for the rest of your life. #flashers4life - Sara Macel (Astoria, April 2013)
* The Astoria retreat was a wonderfully intimate experience sharing work and sorting through the kinks of the creative process. I left with 6 great new friends and a better understanding of my work and where I want to take it. - Brandon Thibodeaux (Astoria, April 2013)
* I can't say enough about taking part in the April 2013 retreat in Astoria, OR. Going in I was looking for feedback and guidance regarding my most recent body of work, and the advice I got on that front was wonderful. The help I received with marketing, writing artist statements, sequencing, and more was also truly invaluable. But what I didn't quite realize beforehand was how much I would bond with the group I was lucky enough to be a part of. Sharing a house with four other committed photographers under the auspices of David and Jennifer was an amazing experience. From the minute I arrived I could tell how much enthusiasm and dedication David and Jennifer both felt about hosting the retreat; they believe in what they do and it shows. The pacing of everything was also very intelligently organized: work time was broken up by time to relax and get to know each other, and above all else I loved how much fun I had. Now that the retreat is over it's been so helpful to be able to turn to David and Jennifer for continued guidance, along with keeping in touch with the rest of the group. I'm truly grateful to have been a part of it all. - Elizabeth Fleming (Astoria, April 2013)
* I had been to a couple of review events before, but the recent Filter Photo Festival in Chicago was my first since attending the Flash Powder retreat in Astoria last April. While previous reviews have been decent experiences, this one was like a whole new world. I was showing my most tightly edited portfolio yet, having worked on the editing and sequencing at the retreat. Also, having worked so hard on my artists statement helped me talk about my work much more clearly and concisely, which helped the conversations flow better and meant I could get more out of the limited time with each reviewer. And perhaps most importantly for me, all that preparation plus having talked through goals and strategies with Jennifer, David, and my fellow Flashers meant I was more focused and confident than I've been in quite a while. In the end I came away with some great new connections, some concrete opportunities, and my portfolio was the voted best in show. - Matthew Crowther (Astoria, April 2013)
* Jennifer and David are casual, approachable, and candid; thus, the atmosphere they create lacks theusual sense of intimidation that accompanies many photography workshops. Their thorough presentation of information, vast experience and knowledge, and targeted advice on such issues as editing your work, writing your artist statement, and introducing the sometimes overwhelming topic of social media is invaluable to the emerging photographer. And their one-on-one sessions are particularly helpful and focused. Their innovative approach to the fine art photography world is inspiring and a breath of fresh air in the industry! - Lisa Blair (Corona, February 2013)
* I can't say enough great things about the Flash Powder Retreat. The small group size allowed David and Jennifer to work with us one on one, creating a specific plan to take our work to the next level. In the months following the retreat my marketing and body of work has been more on target, polished and focused. - Heather Evans Smith (Corona, February 2013)
* The Corona Flashpowder retreat was a wonderful, intimate experience that not only guided me on the direction of my work, but also introduced me to an incredible group of people that share the same commitment and passion for the medium. You will not only leave the retreat with great skills, but with many good memories and friendships. - Marina Font (Corona, February 2013)
* Far and away the biggest piece of intellect I gathered from Jennifer and David was to develop and stick to a strategy. The salesmanship of your own art is so important, and it's something we all struggle with. I had a much more positive response at PhotoLucida than I did at PhotoFest the year prior to the retreat, and I give credit to Jennifer and David for helping me figure out a solid way to present my work and artist statement. - Elizabeth Clark Libert (Corona, February 2013)
* I was skeptical about committing both the time and funds to a Flash Powder Projects retreat. I knew Jennifer and David were excellent and innovative makers/gallerists/busnesspeople… but still, I wondered. After all, I had my MFA, an academic fellowship and my work was being seen. Did I really need this? YES.
From the moment I stepped off the airplane in Portland and began to chat with fellow retreat attendees, I was relieved of any skepticism. I had found a new community. Suddenly the small group of people that I trusted for advice and critique had expanded. New York. Philly. New Mexico. Colorado. Atlanta. I now had “people” across the country!
During the retreat, tucked away in a cabin in Astoria, we spent hours working through ideas and questions with one another. Jennifer and David facilitated conversations about everything from sequencing to using social media to expanding our practice. I left revived and encouraged.
And months later, it’s not over! I know that David and Jennifer are committed to my practice and to me. In fact, Jennifer and I are in regular touch. I know that she is dedicated to helping me grow as an artist AND businessperson. She is invested and willing to participate in every step of my development. I know that I can count on Jennifer.
The Flash Powder Project retreat was a fantastic time of reinvestment in and expansion of my artistic practice. What’s more is that the relationships have continued well beyond our time in Astoria. I now have a photographic family that is passionately committed to my work and my success. - Kelly K. Jones (Astoria, January 2013)
* The retreat was perfect for someone in my position--I had a project that I have been working on for a few years but the project and I had both been stuck in a rut. This retreat was a great way to reboot my project and also gave me an opportunity to see where my project fits into the contemporary photography scene. There was a lot packed into the four days including portfolio reviews, one-on-one sessions, artist statement writing workshops, web site critiques, and even a field trip to Portland to visit photography galleries, bookstores, and a photo talk. The networking and relationships that I built with David and Jennifer will pay dividends far into the future, but it was equally important to live, talk, and work with the other four artists. Without a doubt, this was the best experience I've had since graduating from art school.
I didn't just develop friendships with the other participants...David and Jennifer are building a community of photographers from all around the country. Since the retreat, I've run into two of the other photographers in Los Angeles and Cleveland and even got to meet Jennifer again during her Crusade for Collecting where I met even more fantastic photographers and artists. If you're serious about your future in photography, please do this retreat! - Matthew Conboy (Astoria, January 2013)
* Since graduating college four years ago, I seemed to have gone through many ascends and descends on the rollercoaster of "real life." My photography has always taken a big hit on the descends. Luckily, I have been able to find inspiration and community just when I need it during those bad moments. January of 2013 was no exception. I was struggling with my photography since moving to New Mexico. I was floundering in my thoughts and image-making and starved for a photo community. Then came the Astoria Flashpowder retreat.
The retreat was more than I could've hoped for, though I don't think I realized that at the time. Six months later, I'm still in regular contact with David and Jennifer and many of my fellow retreaters. I feel more comfortable with the edit and suggestions for some of my projects. But maybe most importantly, I found some sort of photographic footing in New Mexico. I have no doubts that my new inspiration and way of seeing is largely connected to the retreat. And the fact that I know I can send new images to six awesome people and get stellar feedback when needed is truly invaluable.
If I could join David and Jennifer on one of their retreats every year, I would. I feel extremely lucky and grateful to have been part of one, and I know my photographic community and insight has grown ten-fold since January. - Sarah Moore (Astoria, January 2013)
* Unlike other photography workshops that focus on conceptual bullshit or theoretical nonsense, photographers leave the Flashpowder Workshops with tangible results – solid relationships, tight edits, finalized artist bios and polished artist statements. Highly recommended. -Muema (Astoria, January 2013)
* I truly believe the Retreat has altered the direction of my career, by instilling a sense of confidence and awareness of my place in the contemporary photo/art scene. Our work wasn’t just critiqued and reviewed – each of us received a deep investment of time and passion from Jennifer and David, as well as from each other, which went far beyond the sort of thing you can get from your typical review or workshop. Living together in the same house provided a sense of community and trust that led not just to solid professional relationships, but to genuine personal friendships. Jennifer and David are not only experts in the contemporary photo scene, but they are community builders, and in the art world, we need that kind of community with each other. I’m grateful for their generosity, their friendship, and for the relationships I’ve built with each of the Astoria Six! - Kurt Simonson (Astoria, July 2012)
* I strongly recommend the Retreat. If you are looking to refine your portfolio and develop a game plan for your work, register now. Jennifer Schwartz and David Bram are industry innovators and they are as fun as they are professional. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself into the nuts and bolts of the photography/gallery world and the flow felt seamless taking into account you are spending so much time with people you may have never met. David and Jennifer are also great at tailoring the retreat to fit your own needs. After the retreat you will feel energized and inspired. I can’t recommend it enough. It was a blast! - Randi Lynn Beach (Astoria, July 2012)
* I recently participated in the Astoria Retreat and the experience had a profound impact on me personally and professionally. David Bram and Jennifer Schwartz are amazing resources if you are looking to take your photography career to the next level. The instruction on the nuances of statement writing I found to be particularly valuable. Translating a visual medium into words is one of the most difficult tasks photographers face and the tailored instruction in this area was fantastic. Along with the difficulties photographers face with writing there is also the sore subject of Social Networking. David and Jennifer demystified this subject, and I left feeling positive about my web presence. I highly recommend them as instructors and I will be participating in more of their events. - Sean Dana (Astoria, July 2012)
* I was fortunate to be invited to the first Astoria retreat. David and Jennifer provided an amazing, enriching experience. Not only did I learn a lot – through the group sessions, the portfolio critiques and the one-on-ones – but I ended up developing lasting friendships with five other amazingly talented photographers. Working and living together for four days and five nights was invaluable to me as a late blooming, self-taught artist. I ended up being better able to edit my work, use social media more effectively to promote my work, and create a well organized and inviting website. And I don’t dread writing artist statements as much anymore. I feel as though my work is definitely going in the right direction as a result of this once in a lifetime experience. Goonies forever! – Bill Vaccaro (Astoria, July 2012)
* This retreat was structured perfectly. A rough schedule was outlined to include pertinent and essential “must cover” aspects, but enough room and flexibility was left in for general conversation and fun. All of the participants had fairly disparate backgrounds as well as manners and modes of working, but we all had a common passion for our work, which we gladly shared with one another. As I live and work in an area that can be somewhat isolating for an artist, the opportunity to come together with this group was absolutely valuable. Obtaining a variety of feedback is fundamental for the growth of one’s work, and this workshop allowed me to hear perspectives that offered a unique and new understanding of my projects and my practice. - Dawn Roe (Astoria, July 2012)
* I had a lot of doubts about participating in the very first retreat. My worries quickly faded away the moment I arrived at the house in Astoria and saw David and Jennifer. As myself and the others started filtering in, you could just sense something special was happening. Those few days of total immersion, while intense, were exactly what I needed to get my next book project on the right track. I feel more confident about my work after Jennifer and David's excellent advice and guidance. I think every photographer these days could benefit greatly from attending these retreats! I look forward to continuing to connect with the wonderful people I met as part of the original Astoria 6! - Tatiana Wills (Astoria, July 2012)