Finding Your Visual Voice

From: October 12, 2019
To: October 16, 2019
5 Days
Class size
Scholarship eligibility
Worldwide|Worldwide non-G20
Additional info

Participation via the VII Academy through 2 scholarships or through a paid placement via VII Photo website.

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This is a workshop about the emotional and sub-conscious content of photos–about how to make photos that come from that place, and that help truly define your own voice as a photographer. It is NOT a workshop about making “good” photos. It’s about setting aside technical know-how–and the obstacles that often come with that–to access intuitive, reflective ways of working that will lead you to make photos that only you can make. Rather than focusing on the “how” of making and composing photographs, this workshop focuses on problem-solving assignments that are designed to engage students with the emotions and personal connections involved in creating photographs that truly reveal a personal visual voice.

Photo by Jon Kidder Photo by Jon Kidder

“Part of this workshop is inspired by those I learned from, but most of it is informed by the fact that I became a photographer at a time in my life when I lost my faith in words. As someone who had grown up believing in the power of words to convey truth and inspire action, as someone who had been a reporter for nearly twenty years, I was shocked to encounter a situation in my life where words utterly failed me. Almost by accident, I picked up a camera–first as a way to try to communicate with the person who could not be reached through words, but ultimately as a way to communicate with myself, with my own thoughts and feelings during what was a painful, yet ultimately transformative time. Although my work as a photographer has taken me back into journalism, and long-term documentary projects, I have never lost my connection to this personal approach to shooting, and to understand that every truly revelatory image is as much about the person taking the picture as it is about the subject.”

— Sara Terry


Day 1:

Morning: Prior to the class, students will be given one assignment to be completed and brought the first day for review and visual “introductions.”
Afternoon: Assignment 1, shoot anywhere in NYC.

Day 2:

Morning: Review/discuss work from Assignment 1, shoot Assignment 2, anywhere in NYC.
Afternoon: Review/discuss work from Assignment 2, shoot Assignment 3, anywhere in NYC.

Day 3:

Morning: Review work from Assignment 3, shoot Assignment 4, anywhere in NYC.
Evening: Group dinner!

Day 4:

Afternoon: Review work from Assignment 4, begin Assignment 5, a 24-hour assignment

Day 5:

Afternoon: Review work from Assignment 5, review finished “sentences.” Overview discussion and questions about creative process.


“Sara’s workshop was among the most powerful and nurturing educational experiences of my life. She’s teaching a dimension of photography which is difficult to put into words, but is nevertheless essential to creating satisfying, impactful work. Highly recommend this workshop.”— Connor Huff, Photographer 

For the first time, I actually feel that I have a unique voice (even though it still needs a lot of work).  I’ve always thought my process for picture taking as very cerebral, but the workshop opened my eyes to the subconscious part of picture taking, and not to fight it, but embrace it.— Jon Kidder 

“Working with Sara is unique. As a photographer/storyteller trying to find my way, I thought it was obvious black and white answers I was seeking. During and after Sara’s workshop I found that an obvious answer isn’t the objective, but reaching for and expressing feeling is what I needed to see and feel as an artist, both in my work and in myself. Somehow Sara is able to get you to look inward, often more than outward, and help find these feelings. Through that inward search I am able to find myself in my best work, and ask myself questions in order to find answers I didn’t know existed.”— Jordan Sirek, Photographer 

“Taking the Visual Voice class with Sara Terry unlocked me on several levels. I had been stuck in creating work from a very literal place which frustrated me to no end. In this class, Sara assigns questions that, initially, seem too simple, yet when faced with making images in response to the questions assigned, I was first stumped, then challenged and finally, pushed in the best directions.  With her feedback each week, I was able to access a more emotional place from which to shoot. And a more accepting, nonjudgmental space opened inside me which allows for all creativity to flow. I’ve never had a teacher like Sara before. She pushes me so that I’m accountable for my work and growth. I’m incredibly grateful for her guidance and encouragement. I think of her like an oracle who sees so much before we do in our own work, and she has a beautiful, brilliant way of shepherding us into seeing what’s underneath the surface in our work, our lives, and ourselves.” — Joan Lederer 

“Sara Terry’s workshop is like no other I have ever taken.  The goal is to understand who you are as a photographer and how that impacts your photos.  It is very much about looking inward.”— Saman Assefi, Photographer 

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Eligible applicants who wish to be considered for a VII Academy scholarship should complete the application form linked below.

Requirements: None; open worldwide.
Scholarship application deadline: August 13, 2019. Apply for a scholarship

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Participation through a paid placement via VII Photo website.

Enroll now