Red Pearls of Goa // With Magnum Workshops

Stuffed, smoked and laid out in the sun to dry seems a popular Goan theme. The sausages of this tale, however, are more firmly rooted in the colonial Portuguese lore than in the modern-day, summer holiday-fest that Goa has become. Stuffed in the tradition of their Portuguese ancestors and relegated to sales in only certain areas of the city, the reign of the swine still lives in the farthest corners of restaurant menus and street-side vendors alike.

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I recently had the honor of attending Magnum Workshops in Goa, India, with mentors, Stuart Franklin & Richard Kalvar and 23 new friends from around the world. With the goal of creating a narrative in less than ten images, in an unfamiliar city, in just three days. With several leads in hand from my amazing network of friends from around the world on Instagram and the city laid out before me,  I hit the streets a day early in search of a story.

I eventually settled on a story that was brought to me instead by our hotelier. In his personal car, Mr. Luis of La Maison Fontainhas drove me to the home of a local family making sausages. I toured their property, chatted with their swine and was invited to return for the following morning’s slaughter, where my story would begin. Unfortunately, the slaughter was cancelled, due to low demand and I had to round out my narrative elsewhere. For the next three days I toured the Goan countryside, slipped through foggy mornings in cabs past rice paddy and children headed to school in search of sausages, vendors and home enterprises. I eventually hit the jackpot of sausages at a market in the south of Goa, by the name of Margao. I’d spend the next two days in chorizo-stained corners of that market learning everything there was to learn about sausage, sampling chorizo, dipping shared chapati in tea given to me by the ladies of the sausage stalls.

In the traditional workshop sense, there really was no workshop. We spent very little time in the classroom and instead our classroom was the street. The very little time we spent back in our lecture hall was to cull images, slash images and meet deadlines. Any of my initial concern for lack of guidance and nearly all of my questions were answered in the struggle to obtain the images and in the harsh light of self editing.

“Don’t get despondent, just go back to your hotel and pour yourself a large whiskey.” – Stuart Franklin

In the end, with the help of Stuart, I arrived at ten images to showcase at Goa Photo in a private exhibition on our final day.

Living as far off as I do and working even further off, this is often a very quiet and sometimes lonely profession. It is true, I am always most happy observing, but that doesn’t come without a cost and that cost is often feeling disengaged from situations and people that don’t understand the passion of my work. I don’t often attend workshops for a lot of reasons, but the allure of a workshop by the masters and in my own hood was too great an opportunity to miss. Three days of complete and total immersion in conversation with my brethren, shooting from dawn until dusk, gear talk and business talk over quick lunches and late dinners is to be one of the highlights of my year.

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