Program for Narrative and Documentary Photography

Program for Narrative and Documentary Photography

Program for Narrative and Documentary Photography

©Alejandra Orosco for VII Academy. The three sisters look at Calca town from their place at El Sauso.

Level 1

The academy’s Level 1 courses in the Program for Narrative and Documentary Photography are 12-week courses that are taught live online. 

In our Level 1 classes, we focus on regional eligibility so that our tutors can tailor the class material to best appeal to these groups. 

Level 1 provides a solid foundation of practical skills — controlling the camera, fulfilling a basic brief based on editorial commissions, and writing captions — and introduces fundamental good practice strategies: ethics, capturing video for social media requirements, and running a solo business. 

The syllabus is built around multiple mini-assignments to be done by students from one week to the next.

In 2023 we ran the following classes: 

Level 2

Level 2, also taught over 12 weeks, extends all the concepts in Level 1 to a higher level and adds a more formal writing component taught by specialist writing tutors. This course, which is not region-specific, is held in English because it is the de facto business language. 

VII Academy held two Level 2 courses in 2023, one taught by Maciek Nabrdalik with writing instructor Stacy Mattingly and the other taught by Nichole Sobecki with writing teacher James Hill.

Level 3

Level 3 of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Photography is an in-person, four-week seminar at VII Academy’s Alexandra Boulat Campus in Arles. This seminar is reserved for students who have completed the previous courses with a B grade or higher. (Those who have not achieved this are encouraged to retake Level 2). The Level 3 classes are taught in person and include more theoretical concepts, integrating multi-disciplinary academic reading and research, writing, journaling, art disciplines, and workshops. Participants are actively learning six days a week with a comprehensive schedule. At the end of their stay in Arles, the students leave with an edit of a long-term project and multiple creative projects. They are ready to report on issues that matter to their communities and the wider world and understand their own work and role in the context of journalism and the media. They are better professionals, able to run their solo freelance business, work to deadlines, and create meaningful bodies of work. 

In June, The Alexandra Boulat Campus in Arles opened its doors to the participants of our first Level 3 course. Eleven VII Mentees and VII Academy Fellows traveled from the USA, Europe, Africa, and Asia to take part. See more from their time in Arles here. 

By the end of 2023, we will have completed the first two Level 3 seminars.

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