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Andre Hermann

07: Dec 2012

André Hermann is a San Francisco bay area documentary photographer, and full-time instructor at the Academy of Art University’s School Of Photography where he teaches visual storytelling to both BFA and MFA students. Leading the documentary program, he is responsible for developing and managing curriculum.

He got his first taste of documentary photography at a young age exploring and photographing abandoned houses in the High Desert town of Lancaster, California. His fascination with these domestic remnants grew into a life-long passion for storytelling.

After working as an editorial Art Director for seven years, he relocated to San Francisco to pursue his interests in photography. He enrolled in the MFA Photography program at the Academy of Art University to further develop an eye for visual storytelling.

His thesis work, an emotionally challenging story of Garrett, a 12-year old boy living with the rare genetic skin disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) gained international recognition when it was honored by The European Rare Disease Organization in celebration of Rare Disease Day, 2010. The 3-part story has continued to be shared throughout the EB community as an accurate example of what it’s like to live with this horrible disease.

He continues to explore and photograph the lives of Californians through the lens of both his iPhone and traditional cameras. He has covered many diverse social topics, from metal thieves, and illegal dumping in the Sacramento Delta region to food justice in low-income communities, and underground dining culture, to name a few.

Hermann’s work has earned numerous industry accolades, including awards at the 63rd and 64th Annual College Photographer of the Year Awards. In 2008 he was chosen to attend the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop.

Recently, he was invited to become a regular contributor to the blog, wearejuxt.com, dedicated to elevating smart-phone photography to an accepted professional art form. His work has appeared in many different publications and blogs including: New York Times Lens Blog, The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s nationally broadcasted radio program, “The Story,” CMYK, Snapixel, Digital Photographer, zREPORTAGE (online), and Creative Quarterly Magazines.

When he is not working, he’s enjoying time with his wife, Kiersten and 2-year old daughter, Wren, and exploring the culinary universe in his kitchen, cooking meals for his family and friends.

Andre participated in the December 2012 MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. He had the following to say about his experience:

How often do you hear a student say, “This class is amazing! I learned so much today, and there’s still X number of days left.” Yes, I was mumbling these words as I left the MediaStorm office after the first day of the Methodology Workshop. This 5-day class would cover a wealth of information that would supply me with an arsenal of new skills, ideas for new stories, and procedures to inspire my students while helping to grow strong, entrepreneurial-minded storytellers. Brian Storm’s plan was to dissect his business and explain all of the different moving parts, with surprising transparency that help make this one-of-a-kind production company work, and thrive. And he did. After the first day I was so inspired and charged my brain was spinning with new ideas and thoughts of how I would translate this new information to the AAU documentary photography track.

I originally attended this workshop with the goal of learning how to better organize and manage a multimedia storytelling program, and further develop AAU’s curriculum in the documentary track. I left with so much more:

1. A deeper knowledge of storytelling that would change the very fabric of how, and what I teach my students.

2. Understanding the value of building a strong team who share the same goals and passions as it relates to teaching and the visual storytelling ecosystem.

3. The importance of collaboration across multiple platforms and departments, and finally,

4. Reassurance knowing that a number of my current practices in the classroom are in-line with MediaStorm’s.

Across 5-days I was given a new view on building and optimizing a perfect work flow, the different skill sets involved in telling a strong, effective story. I was introduced to the world of interactive graphics, distribution models (how to get your work seen,) and how to utilize social media to tell stories. Finally, Brian broke down the MediaStorm business model. We discussed different funding methods, how much time and money is really involved in the production of a story, and finally the art of collaboration from bringing teams of people together to multiple departments to tell your subject’s story in a way that is effective on many levels.

Brian Storm exclusively taught the workshop. Each topic that was covered daily, Brian had a member from his team come in and lecture about what they do, and how they do it at MediaStorm, followed by Q&A sessions. We heard from the operations & social media manager, the programmer, developer, editors & producers, and business development. This was very refreshing and inspiring to hear from this tight knit group of people who feel so passionately about what they do each day to help produce amazing pieces of reportage covering such important topics.