VII Masterclass Berlin

From: September 1, 2016 @ 00:00 EDT
To: March 31, 2017 @ 23:59 EDT
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Update: Thank you to all of those who applied to VII Masterclass Berlin 2016/17. We received applications from 28 different countries around the world!

The names of the students selected to participate in the masterclass are below:

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VII Masterclass in Berlin, Germany
Dates: September 2016 – March 2017
Fee: €2100

General Information

The VII Masterclass offers a teaching path for 14 participants, who will enroll in the tradition that has always distinguished the VII agency in forming new generations of photographers. The Masterclass take place over a period of seven months, spread over 3 four-day sessions on a quarterly basis.

With the objective of making a decisive contribution to the participants’ professional training, there are scheduled encounters with International photography professionals in each session of the Masterclass, such as photo editors and festival directors, as well as photographers from the VII Agency.

Each participant will complete a personal project during the Masterclass under the supervision of an assigned master photographer, who will also monitor the student through a number of Skype calls.

The Masterclass is open to all, regardless of age and photographic identity.

The Master photographers from the agency are: Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Stefano De Luigi, Ashley Gilbertson, Maciek Nabrdalik, Chris Morris, Tomas Van Houtryve. There will be ten other International speakers who will take part in the training program.

The training will be supervised by Stefano De Luigi, VII photographer, and Linda Ferrari, from the Photo-Berlin project.

The sessions will last 4 days:

  • Day 1: 14 to 19
  • Day 2: 10-13.30 / 14-19
  • Day 3: 10-13.30 / 14-19
  • Day 4: 11-17

The Masterclass Venue will be in Berlin Kreuzberg c/o GlogauAIR.


The VII Masterclass is an educational initiative which aims to sustain participants in the making of  long term projects, laying the foundations for their photojournalistic identities. After the 2014/2015 Milan event, Berlin will play host to the upcoming VII Masterclass, which will take place over a period of seven months. Among the photographers who attended the very first VII Masterclass, some have obtained international recognition, such as Carolina Arantes (Prix Fondation Lagardère) and Nadege Mazars (Magnum Foundation Grant 2016).

During the VII Masterclass, participants will have direct access to six teaching Masters over three scheduled sessions of four days each. They will also be supported and monitored by a Master of their choice through a monthly Skype call, in order to evaluate progress and solve any potential issues.

Within each of the three Masterclass sessions, participants will benefit from the contribution of a number of guests hailing from the editorial, artistic and visual culture worlds. Diversity in the contributions offered is a distinctive feature of the Masterclass curriculum and reflects the commitment of VII Photo to further widen the horizons of photojournalism.

The photojournalism industry has deeply changed over the past 15 years and a different kind of training has become mandatory for the new generation of photographers, who are now required to increase their skills and expand their knowledge through interaction with disciplines culturally aligned with photography.

For this reason, some of the themes explored in the last VII Masterclass program were – amongst others – video art, crowd-funding, exhibition design, digital archiving and the concept of mental maps, which enable better and alternative work organization.

The VII Masterclass is open to all photographers, with no age limit or nationality restrictions. Classes will be taught in English. Participants will be selected by a jury after the submission of a 20-image portfolio and a text illustrating the project that they intend to develop following the year’s theme: The other.

The project

The theme of the second VII Masterclass, The Other focuses on a fundamental issue of contemporary society: The Other is what is different to us. The Other is not us, but it is also us.

The Other is an immigrant, if we are still living in our homeland, or a foreign native that we don’t understand, if we are the expatriated.

It is an ill person, when we are in good health, or someone privileged, when we are less fortunate. The Other is our most truthful mirror, even though we often think that this mirror is distorted.

As a consequence, photographers have a duty to reflect on encountering The Other, in order to instill a positive change in people’s mentality, through the stories they portray.

First session | September 27 – 30, 2016

Finding your story and your own style

The first session of the second VII Masterclass will focus on the importance of finding a personal style and how to hit upon the right story to tell.

Two VII photographers will guide participants through this process, starting from the experience of one of the participants of the previous Masterclass.

A guest historian will illustrate the many stories that it’s possible to uncover in the city of Berlin, and a guest journalist will help participants to acquire and use the necessary skills that are needed to search through the news and develop a narrative.

To complete the picture, two internationally acclaimed photographers, who turned their quest for a personal and unique style into a professional career, will give a presentation of their most recent projects.

VII Photographers: Stefano De Luigi, Ashley GilbertsonVII Photographers: Stefano De Luigi, Ashley Gilbertson

Confirmed guests:

  • 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 & jurnalist
  • Kai Wiedenhoefer,photographer

Second session | December 19 – 22, 2016

Editing your work

The second session of this Masterclass will help participants to enhance and refine their editing skills. Contributions by numerous photo-editors hailing from the publishing industry will offer participants a chance to interact with the professional world of news publishing, showing them that editing one’s work is just as essential to a photographer as the selection of reality when framing a subject or scene.

From a specialized magazine dedicated to photo essays and reportages (MARE), to Germany’s leading weekly newspaper supplement (Zeit Magazin), passing through a national newspapers, ending with a monthly magazine, this session is entirely centered on the selection process, a natural step after the identification of a story and a personal style (1st session).

VII Photographers: Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Maciek NabrdalikVII Photographers: Jocelyn Bain Hogg, Maciek Nabrdalik

Confirmed guests:

  • 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
  • Michael Pfister, Photo Editor Zeit Online

Third session | March 16 – 19, 2017

Self-promotion tools

The third and final session of this Masterclass will analyze the tools that are required for promoting a photographers’ work and reaching out to a wider audience. The main subjects of discussion will be: creating a personal website that works perfectly well on portable devices and is fully connected with a photographer’s presence on social networks; the importance of being published in news magazines; the new publishing industry, which, over the years, has created a community of supporters and not just one of “passive” readers; the importance of having one’s work exhibited in specialized venues for a photographer’s career.

VII Photographers: Chris Morris, Tomas Van Houtryve

VII Photographers: Chris Morris, Tomas Van Houtryve

Confirmed guests:

  • Pholpo, Communication Design Studio
  • Carol Körting, Photo Editor Leica LFI
  • Felix Hoffmann, Chief Curator C/O Berlin
  • Michael Jones, Director Content & Marketing EyeEm
  • Pierre Bessard, Publisher Edition Bessard Paris


Submissions to the VIIMasterclass will be accepted between 1st  June and 17th July 2016.

The results of the selection process will be communicated directly to the successful applicants and their names will be published on the VII Photo website on 30th July.

The Masterclass is open to all, regardless of age and photographic identity.

To apply for the VII Masterclass, participants must send an email to [email protected] by 17 July containing the following information:

  • Fill out the registration form, available for download here.
  • A project of no more than 20 pictures developed with any device. Send either a link or a portfolio attached to the email, individual images numbered in display order with long side of 1200 pixels at 72dpi
  • A 200 word biography
  • A description (400 words max.) of the project that you intend to develop during the master classes, on the theme: The Other.

A team of master photographers from the VII agency will compose the jury that will select the participants.

The results will be announced by 30 July, 2016.


The Masterclass fee is € 2100 (VAT excluded) and includes 12 days of lessons, 4 30-minute Skype calls, food and drinks during the lessons and dinner on the 2nd day.

  • Not included: flight, accommodation, any other meals. Any extra personal expenses are to be paid by the participant. A laptop and a camera are recommended but not essential if you prefer to bring your projects on a USB key and to work with your smartphone.
  • Method of payment: through PayPal on the email address that will be provided to those selected.  Payment should be made within 3 days. You can make a single payment of €2100 (VAT excluded), or two payment of €1050 (one by 4 August, 2016 and the other by 1 September, 2016).

The course will go through only when the minimum number of paying participants is confirmed.