VII Summer School of Storytelling

From: July 6, 2018 @ 00:00 EDT
To: July 12, 2018 @ 23:59 EDT
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Photo by Ziyah Gafic / VII.
This workshop is supported by LINKE Lab.

Instructors: Paul Lowe & Ziyah Gafic
Location: Sarajevo, Lukomir, Srebrenica, Bosnia
Cost: $2,000 USD
Duration: 7 Days
Class size: 20
Skill level: All levels
Scholarships: Yes (Deadline has passed)

About the workshop

This intensive weeklong workshop taught by Ziyah Gafic and Paul Lowe will explore how to develop and refine your distinctive personal visual style and vision. It will focus on planning long-term projects, and how to conceive, research and fund them. It will also focus on developing your own individual personal visual style. Expect a transformative experience, where your current way of working will be challenged and refined through a series of one to one tutorials with both tutors in turn. We will push you hard to find what is truly your own unique photographic identity. You will learn to conceptualize long-term projects, and how to work through the challenges that come with long-term work, including creative blocks and funding. You’ll also learn when and how to include verbal storytelling as part of your visual work. During the workshop, you’ll be given problem-solving photo assignments to help unlock ways to work intuitively and emotionally, so that photography becomes more an act of creativity and less a matter of technology and intellect. The workshop includes two field trips, to Lukomir and Srebrenica, where participants will be able to experience shooting on location.

VII photographers left a lasting mark in the history of photojournalism with the work they produced during the war in Bosnia, making some of the most iconic images of 20th century during the conflict and its aftermath. Both tutors have lived and worked in Bosnia over the last 25 years, and between them have documented the war and post-war situation in depth from a range of perspectives.

Bosnia is an emerging state still coping with the long term effects of devastating civil war that raged thru the country from 1992-1995. Despite the Dayton peace agreement signed in 1995 that guaranteed return of refugees and restitution of private property, ethnic tensions remain high and the international community remains a strong factor in maintaining a somewhat dysfunctional state. Although hardly visible the country remains divided along the ethnic lines. Bosnia is located in Southeastern Europe and its capital, Sarajevo is easily reachable from Western Europe or the USA.

Bosnia today offers unique insight in what civil war does to a secular, prosperous country.

The workshop will include field trips around the city of Sarajevo, and to the remote mountain village of Lukomir and to the annual commemoration of the victims of the 1995 genocidal massacre at Srebrenica.

Note: Transport for field trips around Sarajevo, Lukomir, and Srebrenica is included in the workshop fee.


Outside of the presentations and one-on-one tutorials, you’ll free to explore and shoot in the cosmopolitan city of Sarajevo. During the workshop each tutor will give a presentation of their work on Bosnia, and there will be sessions on developing and funding long-term projects, how to develop visual style, and how to strategically develop new skills and abilities over a long term period. You’ll also be assigned tasks to complete on the field trips, based on the results of the one-on-one tutorials.

July 6

Arrival and welcome drink in the evening.

July 7

Session 1: outline of workshop schedule and aims

Session 2: Developing visual style

Session 3: One-on-one tutorials begin: 30min with each tutor in turn over the course of the workshop

Session 4: Presentation by Paul Lowe of his work on Bosnia

Evening: Group Dinner in local restaurant

July 8

Session1: Presentation by Sara Terry of her work on Bosnia

Session 2: On-on-one tutorials continue

Session 3: Developing long term projects with Sara Terry

Evening: leave for overnight trip to Lukomir

July 9

All day in Lukomir, return early evening

July 10

Session 1: Presentation by Ziyah Gafic of his work on Bosnia

Session 2: Group Review of Lukomir shoot

Session 3: The poetics of vision with Ziyah Gafic

July 11

All day trip to Srebrenica for the annual commemoration of the 1995 Massacre.

July 12

Session 1: Group Review of Srebrenica shoot.

Session 2: One-on-one tutorials continue

Session 3: Final round up and Q&A session with all 3 tutors

Closing dinner.


“Sara is a phenomenal teacher of photography–not just the act, but the thought and feeling behind each image. You’d be hard pressed to finder a faster, smarter reader of photographs: Sara understands almost instantly the heart of an image or a body of work, and can help shepherd a work that is not fully realized to its full potential. The workshop I took with Sara, in which she offered validation for a tricky conceptual project while also helping me strengthen and expand its framework, was easily the most valuable I’ve ever participated in.”  – Andrew Cullen, Photographer

“Sara Terry is among the brightest, most challenging and interesting instructors I’ve had the pleasure to study under and my educational experience includes a master degree, so I’ve had a lot of instructors, and a dozen plus photography classes in recent years.  Beyond being a substantial photographer, Sara has an extensive knowledge of the work of other photographers and is quick to recommend a reference when applicable to a student working in the same vein.  She is also knowledgeable in literature and poetry and can recommend reading material that might inform or inspire a student working in a particular genre.  But what I like best is her criticism, it can be pointed and challenging, she doesn’t soft pedal and it usually feels right on.” – Andy House, Thesis Film Mentor, American Film Institute

“When it comes to Ziyah, he is an exceptionally good mentor and a photographer. He has the mystical ability to create extraordinary photographs, tell impactful stories along with the potential to teach the novice or the experienced with patience and understanding. Ziyah goes into the depth of an image or a body of work and provides a constructive critical feedback to further develop a strong body of work. He analyses the story of a particular project in detail, helping the photographer to strengthen his/her visual narrative chasing its potential.  I recently had the pleasure to get mentored by him over my ongoing project. It shaped my work according to my way of seeing and understanding ,which I feel is most important to develop for a better sustainability. The Mentorship led me to win the prestigious Documentary Project Fund 2018 along with the Toto-Tasveer Award for Photography 2018.” – Taha Ahmad, Photographer – India

“Ziyah was of fundamental importance for my photographic training.

It was thanks to his guidelines that one of my projects took shape. Starting from my basic idea, Ziyah has been of great help identifying clearly what would have been the various phases of the work.

Subsequently, through several editing sessions, all the images were analyzed with care until the essence that I wanted to give to my work emerged.

In the end the project received several awards and was recently published in National Geographic.

I recommend Ziyah to anyone who wants to approach photography from a more meaningful and professional point of view.” – Sulejman Bijedic, photographer – Italy

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Please email [email protected] for a scholarship application.