Photojournalism and Documentary Photography: A 12-week Seminar with Christopher Morris for South and Southeast Asian Participants

From: May 29, 2020
To: August 21, 2020
12 weeks
Class size
Scholarship eligibility
South Asia|Southeast Asia
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A U.S. Secret Service agent stands guard during the landing of President Bush's helicopter, Marine One, in Nampa, Idaho, Aug. 24, 2005. ©Christopher Morris / VII A U.S. Secret Service agent stands guard during the landing of President Bush’s helicopter, Marine One, in Nampa, Idaho, Aug. 24, 2005. ©Christopher Morris / VII


The VII Academy is taking all its courses online for the foreseeable future. We will resume residential courses at our campuses in Arles and Sarajevo when the environment is safe to do so. Access to our long term residential courses will be prioritised for students who have passed through one of our online interactive seminars.

Join Christopher Morris in this 12-week program that has been specifically adapted to working in a COVID-19 environment. It will equip you with the necessary methodological and practical tools for the research and production of photo essays suitable for publication in an editorial context. You will progress from the shooting of single pictures to the construction of short, journalistically driven photo essays, while exploring the relevant technical, aesthetic and journalistic aspect of photography. The seminar will also address issues of generating ideas, research, caption writing, and picture editing.

Over a period of 12 weeks, this interdisciplinary seminar will be led by photographer Christopher Morris and will be complemented with a series of presentations by leading industry professionals.

During the seminar, you’ll explore how to develop a lasting career in visual storytelling, 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 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 lead tutor or a guest with high-level experience in the topic being discussed.

After this lecture, 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 the end of the week, during the feedback tutorials, you will present your work for discussion with tutors and other students. Each group member will learn from the feedback for each student’s body of work. Everyone is expected to contribute to the discussion. 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 critiques 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 and 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. You will search out 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.

Key takeaways

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.


Adaptations to Covid-19

Tutors will adapt the above program to the various Covid-19 lockdown situations that the participants are going through in their respective countries and communities.

Not knowing at this time who our students are, where they live, what their current Covid-19 situation is nor how their respective situations will evolve over the coming weeks and months, we have thought of various assignments and essays that can be developed in full quarantine as well as in less rigid lockdown situations. Whatever the briefs, they will enable you to finish the seminar with the methodological and practical tools that we’ve promised to bring you.

Apply Now

The deadline for applications has passed.