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VII Interactive: Bookmaking Online Masterclass with Philip Blenkinsop & Daniel Schwartz

May 19, 2020 - June 30, 2020


Instructors: Philip Blenkinsop and Daniel Schwartz
Price: $2,000 Special Introductory Price of $1,200
Location: Online


The workshop addresses the critical period between the last phase of a photographic project and the moment when you decide to look for a publisher. In other words, the period when you need to exercise the author’s authority but still want to listen to those with experience in making books.

At times, this period can be marked by mental exhaustion, self-doubt, and disorientation — all of which, per se and in the realm of a book especially are not negative emotions. Nothing you had envisaged in the field seems to work when projected onto pages. The best images, or those which you deem to be the best, prevent you from seeing the ones that matter. Gaps yawn in the narrative, and nothing is at hand to bridge them. You stare at your work and your work stares back at you. You are locked in a struggle that is neither stalemate nor armistice. What you need is a breakthrough, to see your work from the outside — a perspective not always within reach.

Photographer, designer, and editor are different callings, and as a photographer, one is not necessarily the best editor of one’s own work. A myriad photographers wander the streets, with great work waiting to be published, however, not every body of great photographs makes a seminal book.

Consequently, with the end goal being the ‘photo book,’ we will, as our starting point for the workshop, discuss the most critical issues —  i.e., the motivation for and the raison d’être of the book, its timeliness, function, and audience; the publisher’s role; the impact and legacy of the book.

Subsequently, the conceptual, practical, and creative questions will be addressed — including the narrative, page architecture and design, formatting, layout, and typography. Finally, and because there are as many avenues toward a book as there are authors, the workshop will address authenticity and authorship.

The practical side of the workshop is reserved for the maquette (or: dummy) and its ‘making-of.’ Participants will work with existing bodies of work or those close to completion.

The workshop aims to define a book that transmits the author’s narrative to the viewer and is in itself an adequate three-dimensional representation of content and proposition.


Week 1

Book and Page

A telescoped history of the illustrated book.

Introducing examples of different forms of illustrated books, their architecture and specifications.

The function of a maquette and the tools needed.

Week 2

Content and Form

Presentation of students’ projects.

Tutors presentation «The Book Way» and case studies.

Week 3

The Metamorphosis of Form

Students present their changing edits / narratives.

We discuss some of the dilemmas confronting us.

Week 4

Guest Intervention

A UK book-publishing professional reviews students’ maquettes as they evolve and discusses questions of feasibility.

Week 5

Confusion and Enlightenment

Fine-tuning and hands-on fabrication of the finished maquette.

This is a time for last-minute alterations, additions, and the inevitable u-turn or two.

Documenting your maquette for online display.

Week 6

Final Presentation

Videos of students’ maquettes and discussion of lessons learned.

Excerpts of each student’s book will be presented on the VII Instagram feed.

The workshop is composed of six (two-hour) interactive class sessions, between which, six (two-hour) interactive team sessions take place.

  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Class Size: 14
  • Class Sessions: 6 (1 per week @ 2 hrs)
  • Guest Interventions: 1
  • Team Sessions*: 6 (1 per week @ 2 hrs)

*Students will be paired for the ‘team’ sessions. Pairs will be chosen with a view to juxtaposing students with contrasting styles, subject material, and approach wherever possible, regardless of age, race, or gender.

Additional Information

Group presentation language: English

Total hours per student: 24

Total teaching hours: 96 (6 weeks @ 16 hours per week)

Enroll Now



Philip Blenkinsop

“Philip, for the first time in my life, during your workshop I could say yes to photography with my entire heart & soul.” — Habiba Nowrose

“Philip’s words and images have opened my eyes.” —  Fabio Bucciarelli, Robert Capa Gold Medal recipient

“Philip, you are an inspiration and you know how precious (and rare) it is to be around inspired, talented and genuine people. Thank you for taking the time to understand where I am today with photography and leading me to take the next step with thoughtful and implementable guidance. It has been a fascinating week upon which I believe I will build for the rest of my life.”    Patrick Firouzian

“Philip, a special thank you for putting me in a position to understand a lot of technical things, framing, shooting and use of the 35mm, but most of all, thanks for showing me the most important things you have, your human side, your motivation in teaching and last but not least to make me better understand the value of a word; one of those words that everyone uses and profers, but none or very few apply in life. Ethics. Thank you very much. For me this is the beginning of a new path. I’ll try to stay focussed and make use of your teachings. This is one of those life experiences that I will treasure.” — Roberto Bianconi

Daniel Schwartz

“I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and appreciated your time with me last week. The editing session you did with Sara [Terry] was fantastic. I felt honored and happy that you put so much energy and thought into your deliberations. I learned so much over that time.” — Jonathan Dayman

“Thank you one more time for your advice and all your kindness. I enjoyed listening to you and I will remember it for a long time. I admire your work, I particularly like From Burma Road to Wall Street. You are a great photographer but above all great, sensitive human being.” — Malgorzata Hryniszyn



May 19, 2020
June 30, 2020
Event Category:


VII Interactive

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Manville, NJ

+1 646-694-8447

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+1 212-253-0399

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