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.

Joseph Tessmer - Instructor

A portrait of a bride and groom by the ocean

Instructor Joseph Tessmer has been awarded the Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsman and Associate Fellow of Photography professional degrees. He has completed his term as governor of the Virginia Professional Photographers Association and is actively involved in the Washington metropolitan photographic community. Hundreds of his photographs have been published in national and international magazines. He has taught a variety of photography courses at the amateur and professional level. In recent professional competition, one of his images won best of show and two others received Court of Honor ribbons and have been included in the photography international loan collection. Currently, his work is on display at Dulles International Airport to welcome visitors to Washington.

Robert Case - Instructor

A portrait of Bob Case

Robert is a Primetime Emmy Award nominated Director of Photography who works regularly for National Geographic, the Smithsonian and the Discovery Networks, directing and shooting broadcast documentary programs and films. Along with his broadcast work, Rob has put his 30-plus years of experience to work leading video and still photography safaris in Africa, Europe, and the Near East. Rob is excited to join the team of esteemed photographers of the WPS in offering video to the menu of selections!

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 37 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 mirror-less, interchangeable lens digital camera, in late 2016. About 5 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

Judy Reisman - Instructor

Lilly pads on a lake

After a 20-year career as a technical translator for the World Bank, Judy turned to photography full-time, switching from writing with words to writing with light. Teaching at the Washington School of Photography brought her joy in sharing her passion for photography with others as well as accolades from her students. She now hosts photo tours in Frederick County and in the Shenandoah Valley for the Washington Photo Safari and does pet and people portraiture and fine-art nature prints for private clients as well as private tutoring. Judy is a very enthusiastic instructor who tries to accommodate the instructional needs of all participants, regardless of where they are in their photographic journey.

David Heckman - Instructor

A boy and his dog

David Heckman is a professional working photographer who specializes in events, travel, architectural and portrait photography. He has studied at the Washington School of Photography and is a “graduate” of the Washington Photo Safari. Mr. Heckman’s current focus is on family and pet portraiture for private clients as well as fine-art studio work.

David Sendzul - Instructor

A tiger lounging at the zoo

DC resident David Sendzul is an avid nature and wildlife photographer whose images have appeared for many years on our website, on calendars, and in prints. He has participated in 23 of our safaris over the last 13 years. He knows the best angle at each enclosure within the Zoo.

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.

Mark Baxter - Instructor

a portrait of M. Baker

Mark Baxter has been an amateur photographer for over 10 years. While he enjoys photographing scenic locations and capturing “out-of-the-box” shots, his other interests in technology, aviation, and model aircraft led him to aerial photography. Utilizing drones, he is able to capture perspectives rarely seen by land-based photographers. In 2016, he founded SkySight VIP, a multi-state aerial photography and videography business based in Frederick, Maryland, which contracts work for residential & commercial real estate clients, performs missions for inspection, insurance, and construction companies, and has shot several special events around Maryland. He has a military and law enforcement background and has worked to create training programs for public safety agencies. He also holds FAA certification as a Part 107 Remote Pilot.

When he is not working on a project, he enjoys hiking the National Parks around the U.S. with his wife, and they especially enjoy Zion National Park.

Julie Gould - Instructor

A woman and her dog

Julie Gould grew up with dogs and taking photographs around the world with her family. She was photo editor of my 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.

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 Photographer’s of America association and has taken extensive training since 2015.

Eddie Arrossi - Instructor

A bride and groom dancing

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 www.eaphoto.com.