VII Interactive: The Original Masterclass with Stefano De Luigi & Maciek Nabrdalik

From: May 16, 2020 @ 00:00 EDT
To: August 8, 2020 @ 23:59 EDT
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Instructors: Stefano De Luigi & Maciek Nabrdalik
Price: $2500 Special Introductory Price of $1400
Location: Online


A long-form course based around three (two-day) interactive group seminar sessions interspersed by two long interactive workshop sessions. This course includes group seminars with the tutors, one on one tutorials, and lectures by prominent guests. 

VII Masterclass is one of the most ambitious and exhaustive training programs available. It aims to develop and consolidate new talent in documentary photography and photojournalism over a period of three months. It is structured around three seminars with workshop sessions and multiple one-on-one interactions woven in between. The principal objective of this Masterclass is to allow time for progress to develop, and for the long-term structure to have a lasting contribution to your professional training. During each Masterclass, the tutors will invite international photography professionals, including critics, photo editors, and festival directors, to present and critique your work.

The course guests include VII photographers and other internationally renowned professionals.

Building on the unique and independent identity of the agency, the VII Masterclass offers you an extensive and candid view of the photographic industry as a whole. Meeting photographers from outside the agency, investigating new platforms for image sharing, readings, and learning about their editorial choices are all elements that contribute to making the VII Masterclass.

Additional Information

Group presentation language: English
One-on-one languages: English, Italian, French, or Polish

30 Hours

* Stefano and Maciek will invite other VII tutors and international photography professionals, including critics, photo editors, and festival directors, to present, answer questions, and critique participants’ work.

The list of the guests who lectured at previous Masterclasses include:

Magdalena Herrera, Geo France’s Director of Photography
Paolo Cirio, Conceptual Media Artist
Arianna Rinaldo, OjodePez magazine Director
Marco Garofalo, Official photographer of Porta Nuova project, Milan
Stefano Ferranti, Using Mind Maps for Planning your Projects
Barbara La Malfa, Public Relations and Communications
Silvia Paoli, Milan Civic Photographic Archive collections
Sara Lando, Crowdfunding for photographers
Daphne Angles, Paris-based assignments editor for The New York Times
Diego Orlando, Photo Editor & Special Projects at BURN Magazine
Alessandro Cosmelli & Gaia Light, photographers at The Buzz Project
Mauro Parissone, Director, Broadcast journalism for the digital age
Fred Ritchin, Professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University
Adeline Percept, journalist Berliner News Fabrik
Carolina Arantes, VII Masterclass Milan alumna
Mirna Campanella, public historian
Alisa Resnik, author & photographer
Michael Ackermann, photographer
Emilio Manfredi Analist, writer & journalist
Kai Wiedenhoefer, photographer
Barbara Stauss, Photo Editor Mare magazine
Michael Biedowicz, Photo Editor Zeit Magazin
Robert King, Creative Director, BILD digital
Daniel Augschoell and Anya Jasbar, Co-Editors in Chief Ahorn Magazine
Pholpo, Communication Design Studio
Carol Körting, Photo Editor Leica LFI
Felix Hoffmann, Chief Curator C/O Berlin
Michael Jones, Director of Content & Marketing EyeEm
Pierre Bessard, Publisher Edition Bessard Paris
Mathieu Asselin, Photographer
Dimitri Beck, Editor in Chief of Polka Magazine
Giancarlo Ceraudo, Photographer
Rémi Coignet, Critic
Laura El-Tantawy, Photographer
Agata Grzybowska, Alumnus of VII Masterclass
Katarzyna Sagatowska, Curator and coordinator of photography auctions
Aneta Kowalczyk and Grzegorz Kosmala, Blow up press publishing
Ania Nalecka, Book designer
Laila Abril, Photographer
Arnau Bach, Photographer
Simon Norfolk, Photographer
Myriam Meloni, Photographer
Martina Bacigalupo, Photographer and photo editor, 6 Mois.


Clea Rekhou: “The VII Masterclass has been for me the most insightful experience about documentary photography. It has allowed me to learn from inspiring masters and mentors so that I could push my boundaries further. It taught me about “owning” my projects as much as discovering the professional aspects of documentary photography. The masterclass is at the same time very concrete, pragmatic and conceptual, philosophical. I met also many inspiring ‘classmates’ who also very inspiring, inventive and touching. Thanks to all the masters for investing in new voices. Thank you Stefano! Thank you Maciek!”

Sandra Buschow: “The masterclass was such an intense time for me and I am so grateful for what I experienced during this last year – it was so emotional. I went to Warsaw with an idea for a project and I got back to Berlin with an inspiration for a very personal and intimate story which was a totally different thing! Thank you for this challenge that entered my life so unexpectedly! Above all, I would like to thank my mentor Maggie Steber who brought my story to the foreground. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to the lecturers, to Stefano, and to Maciek. It was anything but a comfortable journey for me but you have provided a space for my story to evolve in photographic expression. I am still processing the feedback and the effects of the extensive lectures, I have learned so much and I am just realizing the long-lasting impression of all the content-related discussions. Over time, some relations have turned into deep friendships and I have spent an intense and fruitful time with my new friends. With all the consequences and without the blink of an eye, I would do this masterclass again. The most beautiful thing to me is that the overall topic was passion: the passion for a story and passion for photography! And if you ask me, it’s this is what really counts.”

Yulia Grigoryants: Coming from Armenia, a small country which today doesn’t provide almost any school or course for young photographers, VII Masterclass in Warsaw was a unique opportunity for me. It was a great chance to learn from professional photographers and specialists, who shared their experience and knowledge with us. It was a unique opportunity to learn and it, basically, opened my eyes.
What is great is that this is not a one-time Masterclass, but a long-term program, that facilitates building stronger bonds between the photographer and the subject and of course between participants and the professionals. The Masterclass gave me an invaluable and enriching experience, which I will be able to carry with me throughout my career. I am deeply thankful to my mentor Maggie Steber who continues to mentor my project and me even after the workshop, giving me motivation and power to pursue and make the project deeper.”
Sayan Hazra: “Thanks to all VII masters and guests (artists, photojournalists, photo editors, curators, and publishers) for sharing their knowledge, mentoring us and inspiring us to think different, enriching our visual literacy. Working on some personal project, under the supervision of a mentor, during the masterclass is itself a life-changing experience. This was indeed a great opportunity to meet new colleagues and friends from other countries. It’s total phenomenal. One must not miss this opportunity. “
Andrew Cullen: “The VII Masterclass in Warsaw provided such a valuable opportunity to concentrate on photography. The class motivated me to make significant, rapid progress on a project that I had been working on slowly for a long time. But it also provided me with space to see and think deeply about photography and all aspects of its practice: how to conceptualize a project, how to choose an aesthetic approach that amplifies the meaning the photographs are meant to communicate, how to tell a story. The VII mentors and the visiting photographers and editors have varied strengths and philosophies, so most students are bound to find someone whose work and process resonates. And the environment the students and mentors created, at turns constructive and analytical, then intimate and open — felt like family.”

Anton Gautama: “Through this VII Masterclass in Warsaw, I learned not only in photojournalism but in general about strong visual storytelling. I feel eventually able to complete the last of the trilogy of my photobook project with my humble and lovely mentor. It was an excellent opportunity to have discussions with the mentors and participants, and build a connection and friendships (not mentioning the charming city of Warsaw). “

Prin Rodriguez: “VII Masterclass in Warsaw was an excellent opportunity to meet outstanding photographers from all over the world. During the classes and travels, I had the chance to meet amazing people who have inspired and expanded my photographic vision. I’m thankful for the availability and open-mindedness of my classmates, guests, and masters.”

Agata Grzybowska: “Masterclass VII in Berlin was really exciting and it was an inspiration for my future work. During the masterclass, I was working on my first book and I  received a few really good pieces of advice, I could learn from the best photographers. The most important thing – the masterclass gave me an opportunity to meet excellent photographers from all over the world, with whom I could exchange opinions, whom I could ask for advice and figure out new ways for my personal development. It was an amazing experience.”

Charmaine Poh: “ I’m thankful for the community of generous classmates I found, as well as hearing from photographers who have had decades of experience. Coming from Asia, it was eye-opening to learn about the industry in Europe and have conversations about images across cultures. The biggest lesson I learned was to be my own judge, and to find my own place in the industry.”

Iwona Knorr: “Meeting photography professionals like artists and photojournalists, photo editors, curators and publishers and having the opportunity to ask them all my questions was a great benefit from my participation in the VII Masterclass in Berlin 2016/2017. One-to-one discussions with the masters gave me valuable guidance on how to progress with my own project. I enjoyed the creative atmosphere during the sessions and liked to follow Masters’ critiques on the project of peer photographers from different countries and backgrounds.

Jacek Fota: “For me, the masterclass was all about meeting new people. I met many awesome and talented young photographers who I became friends with and want to sustain this relationship for years to come. I encourage participants to get a place together because it is all combining the two – learning and having a great time. Especially that this next masterclass will take place in Warsaw.

Saara Mansikkamaki: “Looking back on the time of the Masterclass, trying to understand what really happened there and how it affected me, I still find myself a bit puzzled. I’m pretty sure that taking part in it didn’t diminish the number of questions I had and continue to have, but rather gave more of them. I still question this career, this industry, my place in there.”

But I also still work on the project I started during the Masterclass, which, I guess, means that I understood something valuable. I’m still probably as bad pitching my ideas to the editors as I was a year ago, but still, I’ve managed to sell the story out to magazines. That means that I either have some sort of photojournalistic identity or that the industry is not so harsh after all. Maybe both, I hope. 

I think that the Masterclass was like some sort of storm. I enjoyed it but also thought whether I’m still gonna be alive as it ends. I was exposed there to tons of different and conflicting opinions, others’ and my own, some of which didn’t make any sense to me and some of which value I came to realize only after a good amount of time had passed. It ripped me from where I was rooted and threw me to a new soil. But the greatest thing was that I wasn’t there alone.

Gregory Michenaud: “VII Masterclass was a real, great human and professional experience. A place where you can go deeper into all facets of realizing a complete and successful photographic project from the idea till the final presentation of it. All the VII photographers, as well as fellow participants, are taking part in each step of its completion, pushing you to go farther and higher on your personal work – so useful, especially when it is a personal one.

Apart from this professional side, the friendliness of this Masterclass, gave me so much opportunities to create connexions with fellow participants, lecturers and VII photographers – contacts or friendship that are valuable, more than anything else.

Georgia Fu: “I thoroughly enjoyed and valued my VII Masterclass experience in Berlin, from meeting the wonderfully diverse participants to the inspirational VII photographers that came and worked with us. The experience taught me how to look for a story within a frame instead of just trying to capture a moment or an aesthetically pleasing image. I learned how to be more patient with my photography, how to wait for the right moment to come, instead of trying to capture everything. The experience also affirmed my belief that integrity and emotional truth are the most important things in photography. But most of all, it was meeting all the different photographers, participants, speakers and teachers, from various backgrounds, countries, and approaches to photography that made the experience invaluable. Being able to reconnect with people and hearing about everyone’s experiences over the three masterclass sessions, created an enriching and meaningful relationships, which for me was my favorite part of the masterclass experience”

Anna Liminowicz: “It was a great time! You gave me the motivation to work and continue projects. Many thanks for critical conversations and help with photo editing (especially Ashley Gilbertson and Christopher Morris ). Thank you, Stefano De Luigi, for showing me my strengths. Thanks to him, I know what should I develop in my works.

In addition, I changed the optics. The basic meaning – the one for the camera, but also in approach to the portrayed people. Thanks to Masterclass I made new friendships, we have extended our photo collective ( and Dave and Gregory from the Masterclass joined us. Thanks to the fact that photographers of VII shared knowledge about cooperation with international magazines, I could take advantage of their experience. Moreover, cooperation with BuzzFeed established during the workshops meant that money spent on education with you soon returned. Thanks for making the photographer’s world smaller and easier to work with. ”

Andrea Provenzano: “VII masterclass opened my eyes on the world of photojournalism giving me the chance to meet and discover the workflow and the approach to visual storytelling of incredible photographers, both inside the agency and between the students.

Wojciech Ryzinski: “VII masterclass in Berlin was an amazing experience for so many reasons. I’ve learned a lot about the business aspects of the photo industry. Hours of editing sessions with the masters were very intense and demanding but also really enjoyable. Seeing the projects that we worked on during the masterclass, evolving from session to session was really inspiring. I feel grateful that I had a chance to meet many talented photographers from around the world. Most importantly, I completed the masterclass having more friends than I had before it started. “

Rozette Rago: “The VII Masterclass in Berlin gave me the incredible opportunity to look at my work through the eyes of not only several photographers I look up to from the VII Photo Agency, but also more than a dozen talented photographers from various parts of the world. I carry the valuable advice I received from my mentors daily when I’m out in the field working. I also appreciated the thoughtfulness of the VII team in carefully curating our time in Berlin, taking us to various exhibitions and galleries where we met incredible artists and editors. The immersive nature of the sessions helped me focus on my work while giving plenty of time to connect with my classmates, which resulted in meaningful connections that I still lean on now. I will always be grateful for the experience, wisdom, and the friends I gained through this program.

Pallavi Gaur: “My appreciation for documentary photography was the foremost reason why I applied for the VII masterclass. My project was about photographing the ephemerality of life, the joy of small things. I felt my project was in the right company of photographers. The different methods and the fascinating observations of the mentors helped me think aloud. Also, the criticism from my peers made me stand up for what I believe in while at the same time reexamine the rigidity of the structure and play with the fluidity of storytelling in photography.”

Felipe do Valle Costa: ”The VII Masterclass was a great opportunity to get to know other photographers, students, and VII’s photographers, and understand their process and way of thinking. This was of great value and helped me think and develop my own project. Also, having other people edit and give their opinion about your photos is the best way to learn.”

Irene Van Nispen Kress: “The whole VII Masterclass experience was really great. I learned a lot from great teachers, made lovely new friends, met interesting people, got good contacts and learned a lot about the whole world of photography and it’s do’s and don’ts.  Personally, I struggled a lot with the project I was working on. It was about women who used to be a man and my reportage approach didn’t work the way I wanted it to and I how used to work on other projects. Working on an unsuccessful project can sometimes be even more interesting than working on a successful one. It made me realize even more what I need to be aware of and need to figure out in certain circumstances to tell a story in pictures.

David Shaw: “The VII Masterclass helped me to find the focus on the subject of my project and this improved my wider photographic practise. It was a fantastic opportunity to receive insight into the industry through talks and discussions and to also meet new colleagues through the other attendees.”

Lucas Sere Peltzer: “For me, the essence of this Masterclass is what it aims to reveal within you outside of the sessions. I’m grateful for the place in life it moved me to, for the people and realities I’m now bonded to. The path this experience opened for me started with a personal project and became a journey of human connection when I joined a global demand for peace. I marched with people who turned into friends I deeply connected to, with just a few films to get closer to those moments when someone reveals to you.”