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“Camp Encourage and Camp Wirkshop was an experience that will touch my heart forever. I’ve never met a group of people who were so talented and passionate about what they do. I learned from everyone : Tyler, Brandon, Craig, fellow photographers, camp staff and counselors, but most of all the kids at the camp! Good things happen when people come together and share a passion and love for each other!”

Jill Larison, Texas family photographer


Camp Wirkshop Class of 2017

Camp Wirkshop is a five day four night photography based multi-media storytelling camp with the goal of intense story-telling learning but more so of giving back.

Attendee’s will spend the week embedded inside Camp Encourage, a summer camp for kids on the Autism spectrum. While there, students of the storytelling Camp Wirkshop will practice honing their documentary storytelling photography talents all the while diving into a story assignment that will end with the creation of a multimedia film involving still photographs, audio capture, and interview.  All the photography and films produced from the Wirkshop will then be given to Camp Encourage to help them further spread their message of encouragement and support for kids with Autism.

This is sure to be not only an intense learning experience but a fulfilling and rewarding one as well as students get to use their talents to help make a difference in these kids lives. Each student will be randomly given an assignment and will be embedded with a group of campers or with staff. They will work with that particular group the entire duration of the camp. Stories will be developed during that time and documented for full effect.

Camp Wirkshop is open to all photographers looking to gain knowledge and experience in visual storytelling and multi-media films. Although not billed as an advanced workshop, students should come with their own gear and have already established a very solid grasp on how to use their cameras. This is not a beginners workshop.

Here is the best part! It is like going to back to summer camp as a kid. That’s right, we’ll be camping like the campers we are documenting! Picture an old school camp cabin with a porch door that slams and rows of bunk beds. Yup you read that right, we, as a workshop group, will be sleeping in one large room together in bunk beds! I call top bunk! Cabins are air-conditioned and students will be supplied with sheets, blankets, and pillows. Needless to say we are going to really get to know each other. All critique and work sessions will take place in the cabin each night so expect long days and will leave best friends. 

Are you ready for an adventure?

Day 1 cabin check in 2017

All photos by Craig Fritz

Your instructors:

Tyler Wirken will be the photography guide. He will spend the week helping those who attend the workshop to realize their full photo-journalistic documentary potential.  He will provide with in the field mentoring, story execution, classroom discussion, and critique for each attendee. Click for more about Tyler.

Tyler works with a student in the field. Camp Wirkshop 2017

Brandon Parigo will be the multimedia guide.  He will spend the week helping those who attend the workshop to realize that providing context to their images through use of audio capture and interivew can help them tell a better story, and ultimately push the agenda of their clients. He will provide field mentoring, classroom discussions and critique in audio and video capture.  His style is to allow photographers to stay photographers at heart while implementing new tools.

Brandon assisting a student with audio capture. Camp Wirkshop 2017

Together both Tyler and Brandon will push story above all else and help attendees really focus on how to develop a single unique story within a larger context.

Summary Schedule (Subject to Change)

July 18th

Early afternoon start time. Students arrive at the Wirken Photography Studio in downtown Kansas City for Orientation and then we travel together to camp, get cabin assignments, and orientation of the camp.
After dinner we continue training in the cabin.

July 19th

The workshop continues in the morning with more classroom style learning and story assignments. We share a group lunch before the arrival of the campers. Once the campers arrive students are sent out to document their story. At the end of the night we gather back in our cabin for group critique and story discussion.

July 20th and 21st

These two days are devoted to guided story exploration with each student setting their own schedule based on the needs of their story. They will have in the field mentoring of photography, story and interviews as well as individual edit and critique time.

July 22nd

The group wraps up anything that needs to be completed at camp and then returns to Wirken Photography Studio for final finishes on their stories. Group celebration at night.


Tuition: $2,800 per person

Includes a bed in the workshop cabin,top or bottom bunk, for four nights, plus three meals a day at the camp ground cafeteria as well as the group celebratory dinner in Kansas City. Students are responsible for travel to and from Kansas City, Missouri as well as at least one hotel room in Kansas City post camp before going home. Students will not need a rental car.

Equipment:  At a bare minimum each student should bring their standard photography equipment including at least one digital SLR camera, a wide angle lens (preferably a 35mm), a telephoto lens and a flash.  It is highly recommended that they also bring a laptop computer.  The multimedia elements of the workshop will require an audio recorder and microphone. Attendees can purchase from us ahead of time (to be picked up at camp) or bring their own (ask about our recommendations).  If they want to learn video they will also need a camera that can record video as well as still images.



2017 Camp Wirkshop Multimedia Films

Attendees of Camp Wirkshop choose the level of multimedia they wish to commit to but everyone has to produce a multimedia film.   The films below are some of the films from our 2017 students.

These films were made by Camp Wirkshop class of 2017 students who had never made films before. Some were shown at a benefit and helped to raise over $35,000 in support of Camp Encourage. 


Behind the scenes 2017. Photos by Craig Fritz

For more information on Camp Encourage as well as the campground click the links below:

Camp Encourage

Tall Oaks


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