©Ziyah Gafic/VII
©Tomas van Houtryve
©Ziyah Gafic/VII
©Ashley Gilbertson/VII

The VII Foundation

The VII Foundation’s mission is to transform visual journalism by empowering new voices and creating stories that advocate change. In a world where beliefs and actions are increasingly out-of-sync with facts and realities, transforming visual journalism is an urgent task.


The VII Foundation trains and equips emerging visual journalists from communities underrepresented in the media. These practitioners have a front-seat perspective on urgent challenges that concern us all. The VII Foundation teaches essential skills and strategies to ensure the truth is documented and made available to a global audience seeking to make decisions and choices based on facts, not hearsay.  

Our training is tuition-free and conducted by leading professional journalists who have worked for decades on the frontlines of some of our societies’ most complex and difficult challenges. In this era of an underfunded, dying global media enterprise, our trainees help ensure the global conversation continues and is fuelled by first-person reporting vs. unsourced, uncredited rumors and factual manipulation. In addition to empowering over 1,200 new voices in journalism from more than 100 countries, we host public conversations and critical debates that ask tough questions about the context, purpose, and impact of images. We create large-scale and long-term documentary projects, exhibitions, and films that reveal complex realities; advocate for change; and serve as resources for policymakers, the public, and journalists worldwide. 

The VII Foundation consists of VII Photo, acquired in 2023, along with three educational initiatives: VII Academy, VII Community, and VII Insider.


Worshippers gather in front of the Dome of the Rock to celebrate prophet Muhammad’s mystical “Night journey”. According to Islamic tradition the prophet Muhammad was ascended to heaven with help of the archangel Gabriel and returned with important guidelines for Muslims including 5 daily prayers. Jerusalem, February  2022. ©Ziyah Gafić / VII. / Les fidèles se rassemblent devant le Dôme du Rocher pour célébrer le mystique “Voyage nocturne” du prophète Mohammed. Selon la tradition islamique, le prophète Mohammed s’éleva au ciel avec l’aide de l’archange Gabriel et revint avec des consignes fondamentales pour les musulmans, y compris les 5 prières quotidiennes. Jérusalem, 2022.
© Ziyah Gafić / VII.
©Ziyah Gafic/VII

MONUMENTAL: The Dome of the Rock by Ziyah Gafić and Notre-Dame de Paris by Tomas van Houtryve fosters discussions on faith, national identity, power politics, social cohesion, colonization, division, and political violence through the symbolism of two monumental religious buildings: The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, and Notre-Dame de Paris.

July 01 - SEPT 29



Wilmarie Deetlefs, 24, together with her boyfriend, Zakithi Buthelezi, 27, on a night out in Johannesburg, South Africa on Nov. 1, 2018. They are both part of South Africa’s ‘born free generation,’ youngsters who were born around the ending of the racial segregation system, apartheid. ©Ilvy Njiokiktjien/VII

©Ilvy Njiokiktjien/VII

VII Photo contributing photographers Philip Blenkinsop, Eric Bouvet, Ashley Gilbertson, Ed Kashi, Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Daniel Schwartz, and Danny Wilcox Frazier will run a series of three-day and half-day workshops at The VII Foundation’s Alexandra Boulat Campus in the heart of Arles. All workshops include a private group session with James Nachtwey.

JUNE 29 - JUL 01

Summer Workshops


James Nachtwey

Join us in Arles for a rare rendezvous with James Nachtwey, one of the most celebrated photojournalists of our time. During this open conversation and Q&A, James will showcase a collection of seminal photographs from his illustrious career. He will discuss his approach to assignments, using a well-known body of work as a case study, and answer your questions. 

July 01, 18:00

James Nachtwey Talk


IMAGE GENERATED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Prompt: An award winning documentary photograph of a lone soldier and the victim of a war crime in the style of a VII photographer (created via Midjourney on 6 June 2023). Image created for a discussion on A.I.

Given the danger synthetic visual media poses to the power of images in reliably documenting events and issues, this session will address this question: what can independent practitioners and media organizations do to ensure authenticated visual content retains a central place in visual journalism?

July 03, 15:00

Artificial Intelligence and the Threat to the Real


A portrait of Cinta from the Netherlands from the book "Outside the Binary." © Linda Bournane Engelberth / VII
©Linda Bournane Engelberth/VII

This event will feature book signings by acclaimed VII Photo contributing photographers Ali Arkady, Philip Blenkinsop, Eric Bouvet, Linda Bournane Engelberth, Ed Kashi, Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Finbarr O’Reilly, and Daniel Schwartz. Join us from 9 AM to 1 PM CEST at The Alexandra Boulat Campus in Arles.

July 05, 09:00 - 13:00



Les fidèles musulmans s'adonnent à la prière du vendredi en direction de La Mecque, au sud, à l’extérieur du Dôme du Rocher. Le Dôme du Rocher est à la fois source d’inspiration et de controverse. Peu d’endroits sur Terre ont une telle signification spirituelle pour tant de croyants. © Ziyah Gafić / Facing south toward Mecca, Muslim worshippers perform Friday prayers outside the Dome of the Rock. A source of both inspiration and contention, few places on Earth carries so much spiritual meaning to so many of different faiths. © Ziyah Gafić
©Ziyah Gafic/VII

Using The VII Foundation exhibition, MONUMENTAL: The Dome of the Rock by Ziyah Gafić and Notre-Dame de Paris by Tomas van Houtryve, as a launch pad, this discussion will feature presentations on photography’s history and politics of representation in France and Israel/Palestine.

July 05, 15:00

Monumental Photography




Dispatches in Exile provides migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina with basic media training to tell their own stories in partnership with The International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Celebrating the first collective exhibition by VII photographers at The Alexandra Boulat Campus in Arles: See Through the Noise
A book, exhibition, education, and advocacy project. In this signature collection, world-renown journalists and authors take us into societies that have suffered searing conflict—and survived. Funded by the Gross Family Foundation.
The VII Foundation, Generation Human Rights, and Photoville's initiative, the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) Interactive Classroom Program and Mobile Exhibit Bus Tour was a global human rights learning project. MVP taught 8th-12th grade students about sustainable development and solutions to extreme poverty, drawing connections between local realities and those abroad.
Yves Saint Laurent by Alexandra and Pierre Boulat is an extensive body of photographic work capturing the most significant moments throughout French fashion and costume designer Yves Saint Laurent’s career.
Since 2004 visual artist Ismar Čirkinagić has been gathering, preserving, and identifying plants from the sites of mass graves across Bosnia-Herzegovina and photographing the landscapes in which they were found.