VII Workshop: Narrative Photography with Ashley Gilbertson & Ed Kashi

From: September 25, 2017 @ 00:00 EDT
To: September 30, 2017 @ 23:59 EDT
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Ashley Gilbertson
Ashley Gilbertson
Long time friends and collaborators, Ashley Gilbertson and Ed Kashi, are known for unique approaches to stories for high profile clients including The New York Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker and NGO clients including UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders. Gilbertson and Kashi met in 2009 in New York and have been close friends ever since, seeing one another regularly for snacks, schivtzes and perhaps too many espressos. Between meals, they’ve also worked on editorial pieces together, including the award-winning It’ll Be Better Next Year and The Undecided.

Gilbertson and Kashi have taught various sold out workshops in the past, though they have never hosted a week long masterclass together. Gilbertson almost never does workshops of this length due to commitments to shooting, so this is perhaps an even rarer opportunity than usual.

The two bring unique talents to the class that participants can learn from, including thinking outside of the box, approaching strangers, making powerful images in confronting situations, and above all, how to photograph how a place feels over how it looks. The emphasis in this workshop is how to get in touch with your feelings and how to translate them into great photographs with feeling.

Ed Kashi
Ed Kashi

Anyone can make a strong photograph – as evidenced by a cursory glance at some of the 2 billion photos uploaded every day. What makes a great photograph? Emotional content. Mood. Feel. This masterclass will be beneficial to anyone looking to push the boundaries of their photography–how to capture emotion in a narrative; the image as a stand alone image; the approach itself.

This workshop will be designed from courses Gilbertson and Kashi have independently taught at institutions including International Center of Photography, Yale University, Syracuse University, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Maine Media Workshops. Your time actually out shooting will be maximized without compromising the time for instruction and lectures and constructive critiques.

Anyone from professionals looking to hone their talents to students looking to learn new techniques are welcome, as are people looking for a New York adventure with a couple of insiders.

The program will begin with three days of preparation in narrative photography and technique in New York City’s East Village. We will conclude the workshop with three days of editing as we shoot and post production including toning and captioning. A slide show and dinner will be held for participants one the final night in President Trump’s residence on Fifth Avenue. If he reneges on his offer, then we’ll have it at Ashley’s apartment.


Six-day schedule including one weekend day.

Prior to the masterclass, you will have the opportunity to work by e-mail with Gilbertson and Kashi to develop an idea that you can photograph during the masterclass. Your idea can be developed further when the masterclass starts. Beginners are encouraged to consider geographical boundaries –parks, squares, blocks, within New York City they might like to photograph, such as Gilbertson has in downtown New York and those with higher levels are experience are encouraged to find stories within the city itself.

The days will be organized as follows:

Day 1 – Instructors introduce themselves with work; our personal history and goals with our photography. Attendees will present work and explain their story ideas and explain what they would like out of the workshop.

Day 2 – Shoot in the morning concentrating on environmental portraits of those people involved in your story idea. Return to classroom from 1 pm to download and edit the day’s work, and lesson from Gilbertson and Kashi about light and composition.

Day 3 – Shoot in the morning until lunchtime, concentrating on wide, establishing shots of their stories and scouting different angles and aspects of their story. Return to classroom from 1 pm – 6 pm to download and edit the day’s work. Lesson in digital workflow and captioning.

Day 4 – Shoot in morning, concentrating on the candid moment. Return to classroom from 1 pm to download and edit the day’s work, have discussions on your progress in your project.  Lesson in narrative development and story-telling in photography.

Day 5 – Shoot in the morning concentrating on completing your story. Return to classroom 1 p.m. to download and edit the day’s work. Lesson in funding and dissemination.

Day 6 – Spend the whole day in the classroom editing the week’s work to prepare a final edit of 10-15 images to be shared in a group critique in the afternoon, where we will go over sequencing in a group session to prepare our final show.

Class concludes with dinner and slideshow for the whole group.

Narrative Photography with Ashley Gilbertson & Ed Kashi



The masterclass fee is $2,750.

There will be a maximum of 12 attendees. All participants must be 18 years or older. Reserve your spot with a 40% deposit.

The masterclass will be held in downtown New York. Healthy snack food will be provided as will coffee each day. Attendees are responsible for all other food, travel, transport, accommodation and any other costs associated with attending.

New York City is an easy city to get around. Walking is easy here, the subway system is excellent and inexpensive, and there is a bike share program for people who would prefer to ride.

We strongly recommend using Airbnb for budget accommodation. Inexpensive hotels in the city are few and far between.

The Jane Hotel in the West Village has good, small rooms for $79 a night. Book well in advance, though.

There is an "hourly” hotel in the Meatpacking district that charges $200 per night and could well be a story in itself.

Please contact [email protected] for further information and read the Terms & Conditions here.


“This was the best street photography course I’ve ever attended. I’ve attended several in-person workshops for which I’ve often paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars but this course beats them hands down in terms of the amount of useful content addressed by Ash. I also really enjoyed the fact that Ash Gilbertson is not just some random street photographer and he brings the rigor of many years of hardcore photojournalism to the table as well.” — Dotan Saguy, 2016

“During the last five years as working as a freelance photojournalist, I have attended a wide variety of workshops and classes trying to improve my abilities as a visual storyteller. One thing I have learned is that being an outstanding photographer has no direct correlation to one’s ability to teach this skill to others. Some of the best creators in the world are also some of the most difficult to learn from.

No so with Ed Kashi, who is as gifted an educator as he is a documentarian. Patient, approachable, and warm, learning from Ed is more like being mentored by a talented friend. While some workshop environments can lead to stress and anxiety over one’s future, Ed finds a way to bring out the best in his students in a supportive way.  

Make no mistake – a workshop with Ed is not a time to be lazy or self-congratulatory. He will push you to produce the best work that you’re capable of, and makes no illusions about the difficult nature of professional work as a photographer. Getting in a classroom with Ed will not be a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination, but the challenge will be one that you can leave feeling good about.” — Luc Forsyth, Photojournalist and Videographer, 2017


If, under exceptional circumstances, such as health or accident, Ashley Gilbertson or Ed Kashi 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.