Photopia Cairo x VII Academy Level 1 Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program

From: October 21, 2022
To: January 13, 2023
12 weeks plus an in-person workshop during Cairo Photo Week 2023 in February.
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Scholarship eligibility
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Giving no consideration to the rules or any logic at all, two young men walk on the train roof. Al-Minofiya, Egypt, 2019. ©Ahmed Qabel for VII Academy

VII Academy has partnered with Photopia Cairo to extend our online Level 1 Program to an in-person workshop in Egypt in February 2023.


Over a period of 12 weeks, this interdisciplinary Level 1 Program online will be led by VII Photo Agency’s Ali Arkady in collaboration with Photopia Cairo.

During the course, 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.

The program will be concluded by an in-person session by instructor Ali Arkady in Cairo to meet up with the participants, review the final projects, select the final edit, curate and attend their exhibition as part of Cairo Photo Week 2023 (planned to open on Feb 9th). The two-day class will be at Photopia Cairo in East Cairo and the exhibition will be in downtown Cairo.


This program 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 and situations you are researching.


Photopia is a photography schoolstudio, a store & gift shop, gallery & co-working space, curator & publisher and lately the founder and brand owner of Cairo Photo Week. 

Photopia’s school in Cairo offers a wide range of photography education through courses, workshops, talks, and master classes. Photopia is a genuine hub for photographers that offers technical and artistic advice to any photography enthusiast, whether professional or an amateur.