The 75th Missouri Photo Workshop is being held in Sedalia this week.

A kickoff dinner was held Sunday at the old Sacred Heart gym to welcome the 39 photojournalists from all over the world who will be doing their own stories featuring local residents from Sedalia and Pettis County.

The ones who are selected for the Missouri Photo Workshop archives will have their work seen online at

This is the second time such an event was held in Sedalia, the last one happened in 1980, and several prints from that workshop have been on display at the Goddard Gallery on the SFCC campus.

The 39 photojournalists were joined on Sunday by invited guests from the Sedalia area, which was a meet and greet session, along with a catered dinner from Kehde's BBQ and El Espolon.

The 39 workshoppers (originally 40, but one had to drop out) were accompanied by several staff members from MU. The entire workshop is based out of Convention Hall in Liberty Park this week.

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I spoke with some of the photojournalists and staff members at the dinner, most of whom had never been to Sedalia before.

Gabrielle Lurie, staff photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, participated in 2015 as a student at the Perryville Photo Workshop, and was asked by the Missouri Photo Workshop team to return as an instructor in 2023.

“I have a team of 8-10 students and I'm going to walk them through what telling a story looks like. How to follow someone, when to know if you've got a story, is it a visual story, and can you make a lot of great, intimate photos?”

When asked about her first impressions of Sedalia, Lurie replied, “It is absolutely gorgeous. The historic downtown is beautiful, I'm ready to move in ... why not? I had delicious sushi last night, so that's a plus. I really cannot complain, and the weather is stunning,” she said.

When asked about the lightning and windstorm that moved through Pettis County Saturday evening, Lurie said “Yeah, but you know what? I'm from the east coast and I miss those thunderstorms. Those summer storms are great. So I'm happy, I'm a happy camper.”

I asked Lurie what she hopes to accomplish this week at the Photo Workshop.

“I hope that we can really show all different sides of Sedalia, the different people who live here and maybe teach other people about something they didn't even know in their own town,” Lurie remarked.

“We're going to see intimate details of people's lives, and some are going to be good, and some are going to be bad, and that's just life,” she stated.

Lurie said she has been a photographer since she was 16 or 17, but became a true professional photojournalist at the age of 27.

When asked what her specialty is, Lurie's story took a more serious turn.

“You know, being in San Francisco, we cover a lot of homelessness, drug addiction and wildfires. So right now, I'm pre-focused on the fentanyl epidemic and what that means, and how it's creating chaos in the city,” Lurie concluded.

The best photos from the 75th Missouri Photo Workshop will be on display this Saturday from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m. at the Heckart Community Center, 1800 W. 3rd. The public is invited to view around 400 photos during that time period.

Brian Kratzer, associate professor at MU, and director of photography at the Columbia Missourian, spoke to KSIS in late July about the workshop, which brought 39 photojournalists to the State Fair City this week, along with 10 faculty members, 10 support staff and 18 Mizzou students.

Kratzer called the MPW a “mirror to the community” featuring interesting people behind the scenes who may be hidden figures to a lot of people living in Sedalia.
He also described the photo workshop as “a semeter of education in a week” for the students taking part in the 2023 MPW.

Kratzer credited the behind the scenes work of Kevin Lujin and Ebby Norman for helping guide the MPW to Sedalia.

The photographers range from graduate students at MU to early career photojournalists to a staff photographer from the New York Times. Seven countries will be represented, including New Zealand. “It's a good mix” of photojournalists, Kratzer noted.

The MPW switched from black & white to color in 1995, when Boonville was featured, and in 2005 or 2006 was when the workshop went all digital, Kratzer recalled, adding that Mountain Grove was probably the smallest city the MPW has visited.

The 75th Missouri Photo Workshop is sponsored by the Missouri School of Journalism and the Missouri Press Assoication Foundation.

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