MPW.69 / Eldon
The Best of Both Worlds

City fathers tout Eldon as "The Best of Both Worlds," pointing to a small town "with strong family values, great community spirit and an award winning school district." Located 30 miles south of Missouri's state capital, Jefferson City, it's just a 15-minute drive from the Lake of the Ozarks. Founded in 1882 by George Weeks, local lore has it that Weeks originally wanted to name the town after his wife Almira. That name was already taken so he decided on Eldon, after Lord Eldon, an English Earl. Today its population is around 4,800.

That population felt a bump in late September when the Missouri Photo Workshop arrived in Eldon, bringing 39 photographers, an incredilby talented faculty, and a crew of nearly 20 students from the Missouri School of Journalism to town. The city of Eldon literally opened their doors to participants, hosting 16 of them in their homes for the week. But even more graciously, they opened their hearts and lives to the workshop.

The stories these photographers discovered were insightful and intimate: like that of an 85-year-old Korean War vet whose boundless energy keeps him in near constant motion; or the story of a 14-year-old Eldon High School freshman who lives with celiac disease and Down Syndrome; or that of a couple who turned a passion into a family taxidermy business; or that of the postman who delivered his last letter after 31 years of walking the streets of Eldon.

Our thanks go to the people of Eldon for the trust they put in these photographers. What a privilege it was to tell their stories.

Amber Baesler / MPW.69
About MPW

The Missouri Photo Workshop has been documenting small town America for over six decades. Learn about the history of the workshop and the philosophy of its founder Cliff Edom, the father of photojournalism.

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MPW.70 Faculty

Dennis Dimick
Eyes on Earth

Melissa Farlow
Freelance Photographer

MaryAnne Golon
The Washington Post

Torsten Kjellstrand
University of Oregon

Kim Komenich
San Francisco State University

Jim Curley

David Rees

Bill Marr
The Nature Conservancy

Mary Beth Meehan
Freelance Photographer

Kathy Moran
National Geographic

Randy Olson
Freelance Photographer

Alysssa Schukar
Freelance Photographer

Brian Kratzer

Duane Dailey
Director Emeritus


See where in Missouri the workshop has traveled to before and explore images and stories from the past 64 years of documenting rural America. Where will the Missouir Photo Workshop head to next?

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