Farmer’s in Straholesie, Chernobyl Outskirts 2010 © Maciek Nabrdalik / VII Alyona, Saint-Petersburg: “Pig, sow, cow, oink-oink – I heard more often than my name. All the people in kindergarten and school insisted that I quit dancing, a fat girl in dancing, sounds like a scandal!” October 27, 2018. From the story, “No Shame”, which features stories of overweight people from Russia who experienced fat shaming in the past or still have to face it.* © Mary Gelman / VII
The VII Academy is taking all its courses online for the foreseeable future. We will resume residential courses at our campuses in Sarajevo and Arles 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.
Over a period of 12 weeks this interdisciplinary seminar will be led by photographers Mary Gelman and Maciek Nabrdalik 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 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 photographer 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 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 feedbacks 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 that 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.
ADAPTATIONS TO COVID-19
The 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 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 confinement 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.
*Full caption for Mary Gelman’s image above: Alyona, Saint-Petersburg: “”Pig, sow, cow, oink-oink – I heard more often than my name. All the people in kindergarten and school insisted that I quit dancing, a fat girl in dancing, sounds like a scandal! Once at school, we rehearsed a dance, and while I was dancing, about ten boys from the class surrounded me. They were grunting and laughing at me. I always loved to dance, but I left this as each time I tried I was kicked and bullied. It was a lot harder at home. My mother was ashamed of me, my father beat me. He always thought I ate too much and controlled me. He dumped a plate with food on my head or smashed it against the wall. I was afraid to eat and could starve for weeks”. Mary Gelman’s photoessay”No shame” features stories of overweight people from Russia who experienced fat shaming in the past or still have to face it. The subjects of the project are people of different genders and sexualities, different occupations and professional activities. They refuse to stay silent and put up with the system that makes millions of human lives miserable.
Eligible applicants (see details at the top of the page) who wish to be considered acceptance to this tuition-free program should complete the application form linked below. Please register for AwardForce, and then select the category of “VII Academy” and then the name of this program.
Scholarship application deadline: July 10, 2020.