Amplify x VII Academy Level 1 Seminar

From: September 9, 2022
To: December 12, 2022
12 weeks
Class size
Scholarship eligibility
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From the story Chennai Eviction, one of two projects recognized by the Amplify Grant in 2021. Slums are often seen as dirty, unappealing places, as a blight on the rest of the city that needs to be removed by all means possible. It is this process of “beautification” that I aim to question and explore by focussing on the inhabitants of the slums in Sathyavani Muthu Nagar and Valluvar Kottam in Chennai. I started this project in December 2019, when the slums in these areas were being demolished with barely any prior warning. ©Palani Kumar


Over a period of 12 weeks, this interdisciplinary Level 1 Seminar online will be led by Arko Datto and Tanvi Mishra.

During the seminar, you’ll explore how to develop a lasting career in visual story telling, including conceiving, researching and planning story ideas. You’ll be exposed to confronting ethical challenges as you navigate the moral maze of documenting the lives of others.

Problem-solving photo assignments will help you to unlock ways to work intuitively, intellectually and emotionally, so that your photography becomes more instinctive, powerful and subtle.

Expect a transformative experience, where your current way of working will be challenged and refined through a series of one-on-one sessions, group sessions, and online live webinar lectures.


Each week will commence with a lecture on a relevant concept in photojournalism and documentary practice. This lecture will be given by the tutor or a guest with high-level experience in the topic being discussed.

The tutor will brief you on the weekly assignment that you will have to work on. The assignments will represent key subjects and approaches in narrative photojournalism and documentary photography.

During the week, you will work individually to produce photographs within weekly deadlines.

At  weekly feedback tutorials, you will present your work for discussion with tutors and other students. Each group member will learn from the feedbacks for each student’s body of work. Everyone is expected to contribute to the discussion about each student’s work. You will also be encouraged to work in pairs or small groups outside of the feedback tutorials to edit and critique each other’s work.

The first weeks are tightly structured with regular assignments and feedback on your work. In the second half of the program, you will begin to shoot short photo essays of a few images, building up towards a longer essay then a final extended project to be photographed and submitted at the end of the program.

You will need to identify and research ideas for these short and longer projects that should be local to you and allow for repeated access through the program. Find subjects that really fascinate you and make sure that you can get access to. The more engrossing you find the subjects you photograph, the better your pictures will be.


This seminar will develop your ability to work on short photo essays in an editorial context. It will help you to:

  • Respond professionally and creatively to photojournalistic briefs;
  • Shoot single documentary pictures and picture stories or series;
  • Edit your work;
  • Work to a deadline;
  • Professionally present yourself and your work to an editor;
  • Develop the social skills needed to get access to people at work and leisure and get permission to photograph them;
  • Understand the visual potential of ideas / situations you are researching.

About Amplify Photo

Amplify is a fund for marginalized Indian photographers. Amplify was born out of the idea to dismantle India’s predominantly upper caste, privileged male eye through which the country’s story has been told for ages. Amplify wants to disrupt the traditional Indian photography ecosystem and establish a counter-culture and provide marginalized storytellers with the resources to be the authors of their stories. In 2021, two photographers were recognized with grants: Palani Kumar and Ranita Roy. Ranita was also the recipient of a VII Academy scholarship to a VII Photo Agency workshop led by Maggie Steber called, “You’ve Done The Work; Now What?”

Apply Now

We invite Indian citizens and residents who meet one of the following criteria to apply for the Amplify Grant and consideration to attend this seminar:

  • Anyone identifying outside the normative of male and female.
  • Women- regardless of class, caste, religion, orientation, or identity.
  • Men from marginalized groups only.

Submission details are outlined on Amplify Photo’s website–click the button below.

Application deadline: June 6, 2022 at 2359 EST.

Apply now