VII Masterclass in Arles

From: September 29, 2022 @ 10:00 CET
To: March 26, 2023 @ 18:00 CET
The Alexandra Boulat Campus
49 Quai de la Roquette, Arles, France
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The 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 six months. It is structured around three seminars with workshop sessions and multiple one-on-one online 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. 

After successful editions in Milano, Berlin, Warsaw, Barcelona, and one fully online during the pandemic, we invite you to the VII Academy in Arles, France, where all three sessions will take place.

Session 1

September 29-October 2, 2022 

Session 2

December 15-18, 2022

Session 3

March 23-26, 2023


Additionally, VII Masterclass Leaders, Stefano de Luigi and Maciek Nabrdalik, will invite international photography professionals, including critics, photo editors, and festival directors, to present and critique your work during each session. The course guests range from VII photographers to numerous other internationally renowned professionals from the photography industry.

Unfolding world complexities—a distinctive signature of VII photographers—is an extremely difficult task, yet a necessary one for sketching the features of our new globalized society. Humanity’s most pressing issues, such as famine, climate change, conflicts, international geopolitics, and economics, are among the themes that VII photographers have always investigated, performing a challenging but vital duty that has contributed to the narration of the rapid changes of our contemporary world.

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.

The long 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 interviewed through an online panel by Jonathan Worth, an author at #Phonar
  • 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 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
  • Laia Abril, photographer
  • Myriam Meloni, photographer
  • Arnau Bach, photographer
  • Ania Nalecka, Book designer
  • Simon Norfolk, photographer

Application Process

The Open Call call for the VII Masterclass in Arles starts on May 15, 2022. The deadline for the applications is June 19th. 

Selected participants will be notified directly, and their names will be published on the VII Masterclass webpage and VII Photo Agency’s social media accounts before the beginning of the Masterclass.

The application will require a portfolio of up to 25 images and biographical information.

Fee and Payment Schedule

The total fee is 2,750 Euros.

The applicants will be informed by July 1, 2022.

Successful applicants may pay the fee once in full OR in two installments. The first installment (or full payment), must be received by July 10, 2022. The second installment must be received by August 10, 2022.

If payment is not received by the deadline, the applicant’s spot in the Masterclass will be forfeited and offered to participants on the shortlist.

Terms and Conditions

The masterclass fee does not include travel, lodging, meals or transportation.

If under exceptional circumstances, such as health or accident, the instructors are made unavailable they will be replaced with another VII photographer.

All health, travel and other potential liabilities are the responsibility of the student and should be covered adequately by their own insurance. We strongly recommend you consult with your own physician about health issues and take out travel insurance for your belongings. Please check about visa requirements which may vary depending on your nationality.


“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!”
Clea Rekhou
“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 what really counts.”
Sandra Buschow
“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”.
Yulia Grigoryants
“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."
Sayan Hazra
“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). “
Andrew Cullen
“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.”
Prin Rodriguez
“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.”
Agata Grzybowska
"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.”
Charmaine Poh
“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.”
Iwona Knorr
“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.“
Jacek Fota
“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.“
Saara Mansikkamaki
“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.“
Gregory Michenaud
“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”
Georgia Fu
“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. ”
Anna Liminowicz
“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.”
Andrea Provenzano
“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. “
Wojciech Ryzinski
“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.“
Rozette Rago
“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.”
Pallavi Gaur
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.”
Felipe do Valle Costa
“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.“
Irene Van Nispen Kress
“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.”
David Shaw
“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.”
Lucas Sere Peltzer
"To say that the VII Masterclass in Barcelona was the highlight of my year, if not the decade, would be a gross understatement. I have never before been as inspired, challenged, and encouraged as I was during this comprehensive course. This Masterclass went above and beyond what other workshops provide with inspiring and useful lectures from successful industry legends. In addition to those, the VII Masterclass format of creating a personal project, with hands-on exercises, varied feedback from different experts across the industry, and continual mentorship over the course of seven months (both in person and via Skype), really allowed us to put the concepts into practice firsthand at each step in the process of a photography project from start to finish. I realize now that my personal project is just beginning, but I am confident that I have the tools to develop, edit, and pitch this and future stories to international publications, in addition to exploring other creative avenues like books or exhibitions. I leave this Masterclass experience feeling more knowledgeable, motivated, and empowered than ever before, prepared to make my mark on the world of documentary photography. I will forever divide my career as a photographer into two parts: the time before the VII Masterclass, and after."
Trey Horvath
"The VII Masterclass was an inspiring journey and I am very grateful that I could participate. It was a unique opportunity to meet great photographers who shared their knowledge with us. For me, it was also a journey that pushed me out of my comfort zone and broadened my horizon. The Masterclass gave me the opportunity to really focus on one story and go deeper. It was an intense time, and I learned a lot about photography and about myself. I am happy I could share this experience with such a nice and talented group of photographers from many different countries and backgrounds. They were and still are a source of inspiration. It was fascinating to see how every story developed from an idea to the final presentation. I would like to thank Stefano and Maciek who are amazing photographers and mentors. They created a creative and warm atmosphere, were helpful and never lost their sense of humor. They always found solutions and guided us through a storm – especially during the last session when things got complicated due to the coronavirus outbreak. "
Katja Muller
"The masterclass must be seen as both an investment to one's career in documentary photography and a major opportunity to develop a personal project under the guidance of VII Photo Agency while getting feedback by top-notch editors. The lectures by members of the agency and guests are really inspirational but more importantly, insightful, as they allow you to witness, understand and fully appreciate the not-so-often visible parts of any successful artistic project such as the research phase and the creative process. Finally, I think it's important to highlight the support I've found in all the masters, especially Stefano & Maciek, and in the extremely talented new friends I've met during this journey in order to continue pursuing my career as a documentary photographer."
Arturo Velázquez Hernández