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Prism 2024 was a great success!
The Prism Photo Workshop returned to Columbia College Chicago on Saturday, April 13, 2024. The workshop featured a full day of dynamic speakers who educated, encouraged and inspired.

We are grateful to our sponsors Sony Corporation and the Chris Hondros Fund, and to you, the people who have attended and supported Prism.

2024 speakers + panelists 

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Gonzalo Guzman

Photographer and Writer

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Paul Octavious

Photographer and Designer, Eye Eaters

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Tonal Simmons

Photographer, Tonal's Corner

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Oriana Koren

Photographer and Writer; Prism Photo Workshop Operations Manager

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Liz Miller-Gershfeld

Independent Executive Creative Producer

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Adrian Octavius Walker

Senior Art Director at Getty Images


Kayla Bickham

Visuals Editor, South Side Weekly

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Sarah Joyce

Photographer, GlitterGuts

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Jamie Kelter Davis

Independent Photographer

9:00 – Doors open

9:30 – Portfolio Review signup beings


10:00 – Welcome and Ice Breaker


10:15 – Crafting Your Career - Gonzalo Guzman 

10:45 –  Alternative Income panel - Alyssa Schukar with Jamie Kelter Davis, Gonzalo Guzman and Sarah Joyce

11:10 –  Break

11:20 –  Funding Your Dreams - Tonal Simmons

12:00 – Breakout: Who is your support system in your work?

12:15 – Lunch

1:15 –  Start

1:20 –  Working with Editors panel - Oriana Koren with Liz Miller-Gershfeld, Adrian Octavius Walker and Kayla Bickham

1:55 –  Networking Opportunity

2:25 –  Break

2:35 –  From Photographer to Creative Director - Paul Octavious


3:15 –  Break

3:45 - 4:45 – Portfolio Reviews

Sign up for portfolio reviews will be first come, first served on April 13th. Prepre to meet and present your work to talented and experienced photographers and photo editors, including…

  • Kayla Bickham, Visuals Editor, South Side Weekly

  • Brian Cassella, Staff photographer, Chicago Tribune

  • Liz Miller-Gershfeld, Independent Executive Creative Producer

  • Jonathan Gibby, Independent Photographer, Photo Editor and Art Director

  • Gonzalo Guzman, Independent Photographer and Writer

  • Max Herman, Photo Editor, Borderless

  • Kendall Hill, Student Programs Coordinator for the CPS Department of Arts Education

  • Erin Hooley, Staff photojournalist, Associated Press

  • Cecil McDonald, Independent Visual Artist

  • Diana Solís, Independent Photographer, Multidisciplinary Artist and Educator

  • Shane Tolentino, Visual Editor and Staff Illustrator, South Side Weekly

  • Adrian Octavius Walker, Senior Art Director at Getty Images, and

  • Michael Zajakowski, Director of Photography, CHICAGO Magazine

Gonzalo Guzman (he/him) is a queer Latinx photographer and writer based in Chicago. His work explores the experience of Latinx communities and the impact they have in the shaping of the current American landscape. Focused on fostering empathy and maintaining the authenticity of his collaborators, he hopes to share stories that broaden the perspectives of his viewers. Currently, he serves as Columbia College Chicago's photo, fashion and fine arts career advisor. In this role he creates dynamic programing and educational opportunities for students to learn how to craft their own careers in their creative industries. Gonzalo's words and images have been published in The Chicago Reader, Eater, Block Club Chicago, Borderless Magazine and WTTW.

Paul Octavious is a photographer and designer based in Chicago whose work blends storytelling with a unique visual style. He has collaborated with a range of clients, including Apple, Starbucks, and The New York Times, showcasing his versatile approach to creative projects. Beyond commercial success, Paul's photography has caught the eye of various publications, highlighting his ability to engage audiences through his lens. With a background that includes self-taught photography and a deep passion for exploring new narratives, Paul stands out for his dedication to his craft and his ability to connect with viewers on a personal level.


Tonal Simmons (tuh-nawl) (they/them), is a bi-racial Black non-binary Photographer from the Midwestern city of Kalamazoo, MI, where tall grass and even taller trees first nurtured their creative spirit. Currently based in the vibrant city of Chicago, IL, Tonal's artistic journey is a testament to the power of self-discovery and passionate exploration through community. Inspired by the authenticity of Chicago's Black Queer art scene, their artistry is a symphony of colors, emotions, and storytelling, as they skillfully weave vibrant and authentic narratives of Black and Brown 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. With every click of the shutter, Tonal reminds us that photography is more than just freezing moments in time. Their still imagery invites viewers to pause and see the fullness of Black and Brown queer personhood in bloom.

Kayla Bickham: A Chicago Heights native, I grew up in the burbs about 30 minutes outside of the city depending on who’s driving. I graduated with a journalism degree in 2019 and returned to the city a year later in pursuit of my masters in Digital Communications and Media Arts at DePaul University. There, I learned that writing was only one medium I could use to tell stories and connect with audiences. A storyteller first and creative second, I now collaborate with graphic designers and photographers all over the city to paint the stories of the south side as an editor for South Side Weekly.

Sarah Joyce is a photographer based in chicago. She's been documenting the cultures, subcultures, and countercultures of chicago for the last 10 years as a co-founder of GlitterGuts.

Jamie Kelter Davis is a Chicago-based independent photojournalist who specializes in capturing life's authentic moments across a diverse range of genres. She studied photography and graduated from Columbia College in Chicago. Initially working as a photo assistant in Chicago’s commercial studios, Jamie has experience in event, corporate, and commercial photography. However, she has ultimately found her place in photojournalism. Her work spans various topics including politics, the environment, women's issues, migration, human interest stories, and beyond. Jamie explores the nuances of human experiences, transforming ordinary moments into compelling narratives. Her photographs, featured in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ProPublica, Politico, and NPR, evoke connection and empathy, inviting viewers to see the world through her eyes. In a seemingly chaotic and divided world inundated with visuals, Jamie's work focuses on the profound impact of genuine stories, aiming to foster understanding and connection among the audience.
Oriana Koren is a polymathic artist based in Chicago. Merging language, memory, and the image as auto-fiction, Koren’s work explores the body itself as a form of archival knowledge. Koren's work revisits and revises one’s personal history allowing for the recreation and redemption of a self/body fractured by performances of race, gender, and sexuality in the context of societal legacies of erasure, abuse, and trauma. Informed by the theory of ‘wake-work’ as described by theorist, Christina Sharpe and ‘re-memory’ as explored by writer, Toni Morrison, Koren’s work is an exploration of revision, repatriation, reclamation, and redemption. Oriana is currently an visiting lecturer at Stonybrook University and operations manager at Prism Photo Workshop.

Liz Miller-Gershfeld: With a career spanning over 20 years in advertising, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside incredibly talented teams, managing projects of all sizes, and collaborating with some of the most beloved brands around the globe. Along the way, I’ve also found joy in connecting with the creative community, sharing stories, insights, and laughter as a speaker and panelist for groups like the APA, ASMP, and many others. I’ve been lucky enough to judge some fantastic photo competitions and help curate exhibitions that give back to the community. Recently, I decided to step back from my role as an executive art producer to explore new passions, especially the exciting world of AI and how it can enhance our creative work. Outside of work, you’ll often find me cycling through Chicago’s brisk winds, paddling in the lake, or setting up camp under the stars. I share my adventures with my husband, our two sons, and Louis, our dog.

Adrian Octavius Walker is a mixed media artist/photographer whose work seeks to expand the canon surrounding the nuances of Black life through tenderness and grit. His fascination with the tangible is the driving force to develop his visual language through various materials. Walker’s passion lies in using his practice to platform critical discourse around the imagination in black nostalgia. His work cast questions that inspire viewers to investigate their own biases and opportunities for community engagement. Adrian’s approach to still photography and sculpture is rooted in his commitment to archiving Black stories for the future. Ultimately, Adrian Octavius Walker uses his practice as a space to discover, document, and reminisce about the cultural impact of Black life in America.

Your tax-deductible donation will help the Workshop offer resources to visual journalists from traditionally underrepresented communities through grants, scholarships, mentoring and our annual live workshop. Contributions at any level are welcome.


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