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Meet the WPS Team

E. David Luria - Founder and Director

DC architectural landmark photographer E. David Luria founded Washington Photo Safari in 1999 as a sideline to his own architectural photography business and as a second career after 33 years in the non-profit management sector.

Washington Photo Safari made DC the first city in the United States to offer regularly scheduled local Photo Safaris. Due to many 5-star customer reviews, Washington Photo Safari has been awarded Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence every year since 2014. It has trained an average of 5 amateur photographers every day since 1999, one-third of whom have returned as repeat clients on 2 or more safaris. Now in its 19th year of operation, the organization has developed a manual that helped spawn similar Safari programs in 20 other cities around the USA and Canada.

Mr. Luria is a DC-based professional commercial photographer specializing in architecture, landmarks, restaurant and event photography. Trained in Paris at the Parsons School of Design by a protégé of Henri Cartier-Bresson, he is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers, the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers, and the Society of Photographic Educators.

His images of Washington DC have appeared on 30 magazine covers, on 80 postcards and in over 100 publications, including calendars of the US Capitol Historical Society , in the monthly publication WHERE-Washington, and in the coffee-table book “Washington DC Visions”. Since 1997 he has also been the official photographer for the Washington Post’s Apartment Showcase Magazine, displayed at all major intersections and METRO stops. He has photographed over 300 restaurants and has done event and convention photography for dozens of non-profit organizations.

In addition to serving as the prime instructor for Washington Photo Safari, Mr. Luria has also done photography instruction for the Capital Photography Center, the National Cherry Blossoms Festival, the National Spelling Bee, the Kreeger Museum, the staff of National Public Radio, the marketing staff of the US Department of Agriculture, Professionals in the City, and many local camera clubs. Mr. Luria has appeared as photographic expert on WAMU.FM’s Kojo Nmandi Show, an NPR affiliate, and also as a luncheon speaker at the National Press Club.

An honors graduate of Amherst College, Mr. Luria is a US Army veteran fluent in Spanish, French, and German. Prior to becoming a professional photographer, Mr. Luria spent a long career as a senior executive with several international non-profit organizations, such as CARE, Partners of the Americas, and World Learning. Since 1996 he has also served weekly as a volunteer information specialist with the Travelers Aid Society at Reagan Washington National Airport.

Essdras M Suarez - Instructor

A Portrait of Essdras Suarez on a boat

Essdras M Suarez is a Pulitzer Prize winner photographer based in Alexandria, Virginia who has had his images published in National Geographic, Time Magazine, NY Times, the Washington Post and many other publications.

He was a staff photographer at the Boston Globe until 2014. While there he received national and international accolades for his coverage of stories such as the Boston Bombing Marathon, which earned him to share in the 2013 Spot News Pulitzer. He also covered national stories such as Newton Massacre, Tsunami aftermath, and Columbine Shooting where he earned his first Pulitzer. He is also well known and awarded for his portrait and travel photography.

Early in his career as a photojournalist Suarez was well known as one of Nikon Legends. He is also a USDOS expert speaker in Photojournalism specializing in Latin America and he has worked in over 50 countries. He currently teaches photo workshops nationally and internationally with regular monthly workshops in Cuba from Nov-May.

In 2015, he became the Chief photographer for Million Eyez, an internet-based platform that allows photographers to input their photos into live articles.

Essdras was born in Panama and has been married for 25 years. He is a Bachelor of Science in Journalism graduate of the University of Florida, which also granted him an Alumnus of Distinction award in 2010.

Lauren Ackil - Instructor

Children playing at a park

Lauren Ackil is a freelance photographer offering corporate, family, architecture and real estate photography services in the greater Washington, DC area. A former Capitol Hill staffer and government affairs consultant, Lauren turned her love of photography into her profession after becoming a mother. Her first photography classes were with David Luria as one of his early Washington Photo Safari students. The confidence gained during those photo safaris inspired her to complete a professional photography program. She earned her photography certification from the Washington School of Photography and is a member of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA). Multi-lingual in English, French and Spanish and a mother of twins, Lauren loves connecting with people from all over the world and of all ages. She is passionate about taking photos and equally passionate about helping others learn how to fully utilize their photography equipment.

Sean Quintilian - Instructor

Wooden structures in front of a mountain range

Since he first bought a used Pentax K1000 in 1989 Sean Quintilian has traveled over much of North America in search of outstanding wildlife and nature photographs. His body of work includes images from 14 U.S. National Parks and dozens of National Wildlife Refuges, with over 100 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles recorded. Sean has spent over 600 days on location over the past 17 years including 20 weeks in Yellowstone National Park alone. His work has appeared in publications, exhibits, and even a CD jacket. His fine art prints have graced the walls of many offices and homes. During the past three years, Sean has started a growing portrait and wedding business. Sean lives in Abingdon Maryland with his wife Jessica and daughter Juliana.

Sherryl Belinsky - Instructor

A portrait of Sherryl Belinsky

Sherryl is an award-winning photographer who lives in Northern Virginia. She started her love affair with photography over 40 years ago, when she bought her first SLR (film) camera – a Pentax K1000, and her boyfriend (now her husband of 41 years) who was studying Fine Art at George Washington University taught her the principles of photography. Over the years, she has continued to practice and fine-tune her skills as a photographer, although when her two sons were young, they were the subjects of the majority of her photos! As her sons grew older and she had more “free time”, she picked up her camera and started looking for a variety of subjects again. Her favorite types of photography are flower and nighttime (especially fireworks!).

She bought her first digital camera in late 2001, and her latest, a mirrorless, interchangeable lens digital camera, in late 2019. About 10 years ago, she started going on safaris with WPS and taking workshops, which has enabled her to learn new techniques and refine her ever-expanding skillset

Vickie Gray - Instructor

Vickie Gray Photographer

Vickie Gray, who has been on 7 WPS photo safaris, is a portrait and commercial photographer with a studio in Baltimore. Prior to embarking on her photography career she spent over 25 years as a legal marketer, managing the reputation, brand and external image of high-profile law firms in DC, Philadelphia, NYC and Miami as well as in Baltimore. She was named one of Baltimore’s “Top Portrait Photographers” for 2021 by, and one of Baltimore’s “Top Fashion Photographers” by Peerspace. To see her work, visit, or follow her on Instagram at @baltimoreportrait photographer.

Alain Gutierrez - Instructor

Alain Gutierrez

Alain Gutierrez is a Washington DC-based professional street, travel and architectural photographer and teacher of photography. He is founder and owner of Thru Alain’s Eyes and has led several photo expeditions to Cuba. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Havana and has been working as a photographer and writer for more than 18 years. Of his work, Alain says: “I spend most of my time photographing the daily life I see around me. I am living now in a time of great change in my country and I believe it is important for me to document what I see and share it with the rest of the world.”

Kevin Hacker - Instructor

A portrait of Ken Hacker

Kevin Hacker is a National Geographic published photographer, who has won awards in Landscape and Portrait photography as well. He is a Virginia native, and is going to school at the University of Central Florida located in Orlando. He is a past student of the Washington Photo Safari and hopes to bring the positive experiences he learned there to his new students.

Julie Gould - Instructor

Pet Photographer Julie Gould 2022

Julie Gould grew up with dogs and taking photographs around the world with her family. She was photo editor of her college newspaper and majored in Communications with a specialty in photography. With a master’s degree in urban planning, she pursued a 30-year career in housing and community development finance.

In her encore career, she started Bright Eyes Photos in 2015, a growing pet and their families’ photography business serving the metro DC region, to pursue her twin passions of dogs and photography! Her style is based on a documentary, journalistic viewpoint. She has been on several safaris in West and South Africa.

On assignment for the Petco Foundation, her images of Molly, a 3-legged pit bull rescued by an Amtrak police officer who adopted her, were the centerpiece of Petco’s “Be a Lifesaver” national campaign in the summer of 2017. She is a volunteer at a local animal shelter, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington (AWLA), as well as other non-profit animal rescue and training groups like Homeward Trails, Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and Vets Moving Forward. She is a member of the Professional Photographers of America and has taken extensive training since 2015.

When she is not working with animals, she enjoys hiking the National Parks around the U.S. and iconic hikes around world.

Eddie Arrossi - Instructor

Eddie Arrosssi Photography

Eddie Arrossi is an independent photographer in the Washington DC area specializing in photojournalism, weddings, and corporate events who covers local news events for the Spanish New Agency EFE. Raised in Argentina, Eddie began his work at age 16 and became one of the more prominent travel photographers in Buenos Aires, developing a large portfolio of images that appear on post cards and travel books sold throughout Argentina’s capital city and at Iguacu Falls. He has also photographed extensively on his travels to Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, the UK, Holland, and the Czech Republic. Now a resident of Bowie, MD since 2002, Eddie frequently serves as an instructor for Washington Photo Safari. His work can be seen at his website

Elody Crimi - Instructor

Elody Crimi

Elody is an award-winning photographer and instructor, specializing in landscape and fine art photography. Davanti Photo, her studio at Artists and Makers 2 in Rockville, MD, offers both photographic services and workshops for the digital camera, as well as Photoshop, HDR, Smartphone photography and private instruction. She is also the Photo Curator in the Archives Dept. at Washington National Cathedral, and the co-author of Jewels of Light, the guide to the stained-glass windows at the Cathedral. She has a BA in Art from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and received her certificate in Professional Photography from the Washington School of Photography. In addition, she was with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) for 37 years in the Creative Services Division in various managerial and financial roles.

Hollis Clayton, PhD. - Instructor

Hollis Clayson, PHD

Hollis Clayson, PhD., one of the foremost art historians in the country, is a retired professor of art history and Bergen Evans Professor of the Humanities at Northwestern University, and author of “Illuminated Paris, Essays On Art and Lighting in Belle Epoque Paris,” who provides  perspective on the compositional elements of paintings that we examine in our “It’s The Composition, Stupid,” photo safaris at the National Gallery of Art.