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November 10, 2019 - November 15, 2019

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Photo by Ashley Gilbertson
Photo by Ashley Gilbertson / VII

Instructors: Ashley Gilbertson & Gary Knight
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Cost: $3,000 USD
Duration: 6 Days
Class size: 16
Skill level: All levels
Scholarships: Yes

VII Photo Agency is heading to Oz! Join Gary Knight and Ashley Gilbertson as they push you–kicking and screaming at times–beyond your comfort zone. They’ll guide you to capture more emotion in a narrative, to think anew about the image as a stand-alone image, and ideally, to rethink your approach to photography.

They’ll encourage you to embrace new ideas, think outside of the box; how to approach strangers; what it takes to make powerful images in confronting situations; and above all, how to photograph how a place feels over simply how it looks. The emphasis in this workshop is how to get in touch with an emotional response to a story and translate that into great photographs.

Anyone from professionals looking to hone their talents, to students looking to learn new techniques, to amateurs wanting to improve their skills are welcome, as are people looking for a weeklong adventure in one of the world’s greatest cities. Intensive lectures and demos will cover narrative development, funding, and dissemination of projects, writing, editing, ethics, and digital workflow.


There will be a maximum of 16 attendees. All participants must be 18 years or older.

The masterclass will be held in the St Kilda area of Melbourne. 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.
Melbourne is an easy city to get around. Walking is easy, the public transport system is excellent, 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 Plough Hotel in Footscray has good rooms for $120 a night. Book well in advance, though. Footscray is a fascinating neighborhood in Melbourne’s north with a storied and rough history.

The Prince Hotel was one of Ash’s favorite drinking holes of days gone by. Today it’s an upscale, affordable hotel near the workshop area.

Melbourne is lucky to host some of the worst reviewed hotels in Australia, and this gem, in the suburb of St Kilda, is close to the workshop. Don’t leave your stuff there. They charge $70 per night and could well be a story in itself.


Day 1 — Sunday, November 10 (10:00 – 15:00)

You’ll meet Ash and Gary, who will introduce themselves and their work, and will expect you to do the same. Please prepare a portfolio of maximum 20 photograph, and have ready at least three different story ideas you might like to cover for the week. There are no bad ideas. Please try to research your ideas and write at least 150 words about each.
You may find a story that’s driven by a person—a storekeeper; a yogi; a cab driver–anyone! You might be interested in profiling a business–a bar; the zoo; a classic Aussie milk bar. Or you might be interested in a scene or a place—skaters; punks; bankers; LBGTQ; a street; a suburb. The scene/issue based work is normally how we work at VII Photo, but you are welcome to work in your own manner.
Don’t feel pressured to do something you think we want, but rather work on something you want. You need to care about what you’re shooting, and whether you love the subject or hate it, we need you to be engaged. We’ll be pressuring you in other ways, and your interest in your story should be a source of inspiration. There is drama and beauty in every person and place we come across, and your talent will be to refining your ability to discover those moments.

Day 2 — Monday, November 11 (10:00 – 15:00)

Shoot in the morning, concentrating on environmental portraits of those people involved in your story idea. Return to the studio from 10am to download and edit the day’s work, and a lesson from Ash and Gary about light and composition. Shoot in the afternoon and evening.

Day 3 — Tuesday, November 12 (10:00 – 15:00)

Shoot in the morning, concentrating on wide, establishing shots of your stories and scouting different angles and aspects. Return to studio from 10am-3pm to download and edit the day’s work. A lesson in digital workflow and captioning. Shoot in the afternoon and evening if you can.

Day 4 — Wednesday, November 13 (10:00 – 15:00)

Shoot in the morning, concentrating on the candid moment. Return to the studio from 10am to download and edit the day’s work, have discussions on your progress in your project, with an emphasis on looking for holes in the story. Lesson by Ash and Gary on narrative development and storytelling in photography. Shoot in the afternoon and evening if you can.

Day 5 — Thursday, November 14 (10:00 – 15:00)

Shoot in the morning, focusing on filling holes in your story. Lessons by Ash and Gary on funding and dissemination in narrative photography.

Day 6 — Friday, November 15 (10:00 – 17:00)

Shoot in the morning, and return to the studio at 10am to edit the week’s work to prepare a final edit of 8-15 images to be shared over dinner. The final day is an intense day of editing and lessons will be given using participants’ work as well as Gary and Ash’s own work.

The workshop concludes with drinks, food, and a slideshow for the whole group at the studio of Ashley’s mentor in East St. Kilda.

Terms & Conditions

Please read our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy carefully before enrolling in a workshop. Please contact workshops@viiphoto.com with any questions.

Enroll Now


“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


Eligible applicants who wish to be considered for a VII Foundation grant to attend this workshop should complete the application here.



November 10, 2019
November 15, 2019
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Melbourne, Australia

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Manville, NJ

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  • Anush Babajanyan
  • Zackary Canepari
  • Jessica Dimmock
  • Linda Bournane Engelberth
  • Danny Wilcox Frazier
  • Ziyah Gafic
  • Ashley Gilbertson
  • Ron Haviv
  • Ed Kashi
  • Maciek Nabrdalik
  • Ilvy Njiokiktjien
  • Carlos Javier Ortiz
  • Ruddy Roye
  • Nichole Sobecki
  • Tomas Van Houtryve


  • Jocelyn Bain Hogg
  • Philip Blenkinsop
  • Stefano De Luigi
  • Gary Knight
  • Joachim Ladefoged
  • Paul Lowe
  • Christopher Morris
  • Seamus Murphy
  • Franco Pagetti
  • Daniel Schwartz
  • Maggie Steber
  • John Stanmeyer
  • Sara Terry
  • The Estate of Alexandra Boulat

Mentor Program

  • Ali Arkady
  • Leonardo Carrato
  • Fabiola Ferrero
  • Hector Guerrero
  • Christopher Lee
  • Esther Ruth Mbabazi
  • Valentina Sinis
  • Line Ørnes Søndergaard
  • Mathias Svold