"Have a personal vision and always be a photographer, not just on assignment."
—George Olson at MPW.56
The roots of the Missouri Photo Workshop are embedded firmly in a half-century of rich tradition; current workshops carry on principals present from the beginning.
When the late Clifton C. Edom of the Missouri School of Journalism founded the Missouri Photo Workshop in 1949, he too, looked to the past to map the path for photojournalism's future. Inspired by the gritty, content-rich photographs of the documentary photo unit of the pre-WWII Farm Security Administration, Edom promoted research, observation and timing as the methods to make strong story-telling photographs. FSA director Roy Stryker and photographer Russell Lee worked closely with Edom in the creation of the Workshop and served as faculty members during its early years.
In subsequent years, faculty members have been many of America’s leading newspaper and magazine photographers and photo editors; a roster of faculty and students reads like a Who’s Who of photojournalism. Faculty of today includes some of the most energetic, productive and articulate documentarians currently working. All are experts dedicated to passing on the fundamentals of photo research, shooting and editing to those who hope to carry on these values and techniques in the future.
The workshop still follows Cliff Edom's credo:
"Show truth with a camera. Ideally truth is a matter of personal integrity. In no circumstances will a posed or fake photograph be tolerated."