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Born Free: Exploring Long-term Photo Projects in Today’s South Africa

January 11, 2019 - January 17, 2019

Instructors: Ilvy Njiokiktjien, Sara Terry
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Cost: $2,000 USD
Duration: 7 Days
Class size: 16
Skill level: Advanced amateurs (“mid-level”) and professional
Scholarships: No

About the workshop

Born Free takes place in South Africa nearly 25 years after the election of Nelson Mandela as president. The born frees are youngsters who are part of Mandela’s human legacy. This is the generation that grew up with having the same opportunities and racial segregation is a thing of the past. But instead of enjoying freedom and prosperity, this generation also struggles—sometimes more so than their parents—with unemployment, poverty, and inequality. Official segregation may be a thing of the past, but class segregation seems to have taken its place. But it is also a generation of great ambition.

This is a workshop devoted to long-term project work. Ilvy and Sara will work with advanced amateurs and professionals who are planning to begin a long-term project, or who are already working on one. (Projects set in South Africa are highly encouraged, although other Africa-based work can also be addressed in the workshop). Sara and Ilvy, both experienced long-term project photographers, will share their experience and knowledge about researching and planning, gaining access, maintaining momentum, editing, planning for books and exhibitions, and the role of written words and interviews. In group and individual sessions, they will also help you determine what approach is best for your projects – reportage, landscapes, portraits, street or a combination. Students will shoot every day, with daily editing and group critique sessions, as well as one-on-one time with Ilvy and Sara during the week. In addition, two South African guest photographer/lecturers will present work and lead discussions about students’ Born Free projects in two separate evening sessions.

Notes: Before attending the Born Free masterclass please make sure to read about South Africa’s history. We recommend reading the famous biography of Nelson Mandela (‘Mandela’), but also The Book of Forgiving by Archbishiop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. There are great photography books on South Africa and the born free generation. Check out the work of Jodi Bieber, Mikhael Subotsky, Zanele Muholi, David Goldblatt, Pieter Hugo, Alf Kumalo, Kevin Carter, Neo Ntsoma, Per-Anders Pettersson and Greg Marinovich. 


Day 1:

8am-12pm: Introduction to workshop and confirmation of project approach

12pm-dark: Pitch your project idea to the group. Explain what you will be working on in the upcoming week.

8pm: Group dinner

Day 2: Shooting begins at sunrise

11am-1pm: Sara will present her work and talk about her long term projects.
1pm-2pm: lunch
2pm-dark: shooting
Presentation and group critique
*Group critiques are required if not shooting.

Day 3: Shooting begins at sunrise

11am-1pm: Ilvy will present her work and talk about her long term projects.
1pm-2pm: lunch
2pm-dark: shooting
Presentation and group critique
*Group critiques are required if not shooting.

Day 4-6: Shooting begins at sunrise

11am-3pm: editing and one-on-one critiques
3pm-dark: Shooting
Presentation and group critique
*Group critiques are required if not shooting.

Day 7:

The masterclass will rendezvous in the morning to discuss the work. Sara and Ilvy will help you edit and sequence your work culminating in a slideshow. One image of each participant will be posted on VII’s Instagram feed.


“I must say, I was blessed to attend Ilvy’s speech as part of the “Holland meets Bangalore” program held in Bangalore, India. Her speech was crisp but it was very informative and full of positive vibes which motivated me to think differently. Since then I started following her work and every posts on social media and taking her help to get my work reviewed. Most importantly, she is a very humble, down-to-earth soul, and ready to help others who want to learn the art of story telling.” – Sayan Hazra, Photographer from India.

“Sara Terry helped me bring my vague idea of a project to life when I took her long-term documentary photography project course. She created an environment where we all felt safe enough to share our ideas without judgement and in return we received honest guidance and feedback. We all made great strides not only in our long terms projects but in our work in general. Sara’s feedback and suggestions for forward movement were so focused and sparked ideas that helped me carve a cohesive project out of years of photos. Her thoughtful critiques taught me so much about editing my work and helped me find my own visual voice. She shared incredible long term projects with the class and work that has continued to inspire me in my own project. I signed up for her next long-term project course before the first class even ended!”  – Amantha Walden, Photographer

Terms & Conditions

To reserve a space on a workshop, a deposit of 25% of the full workshop fee is required. Final and full payment of the balance is due no later than 120 days prior to departure. A participant’s reservation will be canceled if full payment has not been received by 120 days prior to departure. The deposit if not refundable. We strongly advise participants to take out trip cancellation insurance.

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.

Terms & Conditions

Please read our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy carefully before enrolling in a workshop.

Enroll now


Early bird special

Pay the full workshop fee by July 11, 2018 and enter this code at checkout to receive a 10% discount: SAJM04PCF741



January 11, 2019
January 17, 2019
Event Categories:
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Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa



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