VII Masterclass in Barcelona
September 12, 2019 - March 15, 2020
Sessions & Masters
September 12-15, 2019
with Anush Babajanyan and John Stanmeyer
December 19-22, 2019
with Maggie Steber and Ed Kashi
March 12-15, 2020
with Ilvy Njiokiktjien and Ron Haviv
About the Masterclass
VII Masterclass is the most ambitious and exhaustive training program available. Aimed at developing and consolidating new talent in documentary photography and photojournalism over the course of seven months and takes place in three sessions of four days each. The key objective of this Masterclass is to allow time for progress to develop and for the long-term structure to have a lasting contribution to your professional training. Within each Masterclass session, Stefano de Luigi, Maciek Nabrdalik and the other VII tutors will invite international photography professionals, including critics, photo editors and festival directors, to present and critique.
All three sessions will take place at Fuga Centro de fotografía in Barcelona, Spain.
For the first time in the history of the Masterclass, you will complete your personal project under the supervision of four dedicated mentors, who will monitor you through Skype calls between each session.
The course guests range from VII photographers to numerous other internationally renowned professionals from the photography industry.
Unfolding world complexities—a distinctive signature of VII photographers—is an extremely difficult task, yet a necessary one for sketching the features of our new globalized society. Humanity’s most pressing issues, such as famine, climate change, conflicts, international geopolitics, and economics, are among the themes that VII photographers have always investigated, performing a challenging but vital duty that has contributed to the narration of the rapid changes of our contemporary world.
Taking after the strong independent identity of the agency, the VII Masterclass offers you an extensive and unbiased overview of the photographic industry as a whole. Meeting photographers from outside the agency, investigating new platforms for image sharing, visiting exhibition venues and learning about their editorial choices are all elements that contribute to making the VII Masterclass.
The long list of the guests who lectured at previous Masterclasses include:
- Magdalena Herrera, Geo France’s Director of Photography
- Paolo Cirio, Conceptual Media Artist
- Arianna Rinaldo, OjodePez magazine Director
- Marco Garofalo, Official photographer of Porta Nuova project, Milan
- Stefano Ferranti, Using Mind Maps for Planning your Projects
- Barbara La Malfa, Public Relations and Communications
- Silvia Paoli, Milan Civic Photographic Archive collections
- Sara Lando, Crowdfunding for photographers
- Daphne Angles, Paris-based assignments editor for The New York Times
- Diego Orlando, Photo Editor & Special Projects at BURN Magazine
- Alessandro Cosmelli & Gaia Light, photographers at The Buzz Project
- Mauro Parissone, h24.com Director, Broadcast journalism for the digital age
- Fred Ritchin, Professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University interviewed through an online panel by Jonathan Worth, an author at #Phonar
- Adeline Percept, journalist Berliner News Fabrik
- Carolina Arantes, VII Masterclass Milan alumna
- Mirna Campanella, public historian
- Alisa Resnik, author & photographer
- Michael Ackermann, photographer
- Emilio Manfredi Analist, writer & journalist
- Kai Wiedenhoefer, photographer
- Barbara Stauss, Photo Editor Mare magazine
- Michael Biedowicz, Photo Editor Zeit Magazin
- Robert King, Creative Director, BILD digital
- Daniel Augschoell and Anya Jasbar, Co-Editors in Chief Ahorn Magazine
- Pholpo, Communication Design Studio
- Carol Körting, Photo Editor Leica LFI
- Felix Hoffmann, Chief Curator C/O Berlin
- Michael Jones, Director Content & Marketing EyeEm
- Pierre Bessard, Publisher Edition Bessard Paris
- Mathieu Asselin, Photographer
- Dimitri Beck, Editor in Chief of Polka Magazine
- Giancarlo Ceraudo, Photographer
- Rémi Coignet, Critic
- Laura El-Tantawy, Photographer
- Agata Grzybowska, Alumnus of VII Masterclass
- Katarzyna Sagatowska, Curator and coordinator of photography auctions
- Aneta Kowalczyk and Grzegorz Kosmala, Blow up press publishing
- Ania Nalecka, Book designer
The Open Call call for the VII Masterclass in Barcelona starts on June 1st, 2019. Selected participants will be notified directly, and their names will be published on the VII Masterclass webpage and VII Photo Agency’s social media accounts before the beginning of the Masterclass.
The application will require a portfolio of 25 images and biographical information.
Fee & Payment Schedule
EARLY BIRD FEE 3,200 Euros (only if you apply by July 1st, 2019)
Successful applicants may pay the fee once in full OR in two installments. The first installment (or full payment), must be received by July 15, 2019. The second installment must be received by August 15, 2019.
If payment is not received by the deadline, the applicant’s spot in the Masterclass will be forfeited and offered to participants on the shortlist.
Regular fee (for those applying between July 1st and July 15th, 2019) 3,500 Euros.
Watch: VII Masterclass Warsaw 2018-19
Watch: VII Masterclass Berlin 2016-17
Terms & Conditions
The masterclass fee does not include travel, lodging, meals or transportation.
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.
Clea Rekhou: “The VII Masterclass has been for me the most insightful experience about documentary photography. It has allowed me to learn from inspiring masters and mentors so that I could push my boundaries further. It taught me about “owning” my projects as much as discovering the professional aspects of documentary photography. The masterclass is at the same time very concrete, pragmatic and conceptual, philosophical. I met also many inspiring ‘classmates’ who also very inspiring, inventive and touching. Thanks to all the masters for investing in new voices. Thank you Stefano! Thank you Maciek!”
Sandra Buschow: “The masterclass was such an intense time for me and I am so grateful for what I experienced during this last year – it was so emotional. I went to Warsaw with an idea for a project and I got back to Berlin with an inspiration for a very personal and intimate story which was a totally different thing! Thank you for this challenge that entered my life so unexpectedly! Above all, I would like to thank my mentor Maggie Steber who brought my story to the foreground. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to the lecturers, to Stefano, and to Maciek. It was anything but a comfortable journey for me but you have provided a space for my story to evolve in photographic expression. I am still processing the feedback and the effects of the extensive lectures, I have learned so much and I am just realizing the long-lasting impression of all the content-related discussions. Over time, some relations have turned into deep friendships and I have spent an intense and fruitful time with my new friends. With all the consequences and without the blink of an eye, I would do this masterclass again. The most beautiful thing to me is that the overall topic was passion: the passion for a story and passion for photography! And if you ask me, it’s this what really counts.”
Anton Gautama: “Through this VII Masterclass in Warsaw, I learned not only in photojournalism but in general about strong visual storytelling. I feel eventually able to complete the last of the trilogy of my photobook project with my humble and lovely mentor. It was an excellent opportunity to have discussions with the mentors and participants, and build a connection and friendships (not mentioning the charming city of Warsaw). “
Prin Rodriguez: “VII Masterclass in Warsaw was an excellent opportunity to meet outstanding photographers from all over the world. During the classes and travels, I had the chance to meet amazing people who have inspired and expanded my photographic vision. I’m thankful for the availability and open-mindedness of my classmates, guests, and masters.”
Agata Grzybowska: “Masterclass VII in Berlin was really exciting and it was an inspiration for my future work. During the masterclass, I was working on my first book and I received a few really good pieces of advice, I could learn from the best photographers. The most important thing – the masterclass gave me an opportunity to meet excellent photographers from all over the world, with whom I could exchange opinions, whom I could ask for advice and figure out new ways for my personal development. It was an amazing experience.”
Charmaine Poh: “ I’m thankful for the community of generous classmates I found, as well as hearing from photographers who have had decades of experience. Coming from Asia, it was eye-opening to learn about the industry in Europe and have conversations about images across cultures. The biggest lesson I learned was to be my own judge, and to find my own place in the industry.”
Iwona Knorr: “Meeting photography professionals like artists and photojournalists, photo editors, curators and publishers and having the opportunity to ask them all my questions was a great benefit from my participation in the VII Masterclass in Berlin 2016/2017. One-to-one discussions with the masters gave me valuable guidance on how to progress with my own project. I enjoyed the creative atmosphere during the sessions and liked to follow Masters’ critiques on the project of peer photographers from different countries and backgrounds.”
Jacek Fota: “For me, the masterclass was all about meeting new people. I met many awesome and talented young photographers who I became friends with and want to sustain this relationship for years to come. I encourage participants to get a place together because it is all combining the two – learning and having a great time. Especially that this next masterclass will take place in Warsaw.“
Saara Mansikkamaki: “Looking back on the time of the Masterclass, trying to understand what really happened there and how it affected me, I still find myself a bit puzzled. I’m pretty sure that taking part in it didn’t diminish the number of questions I had and continue to have, but rather gave more of them. I still question this career, this industry, my place in there.”
But I also still work on the project I started during the Masterclass, which, I guess, means that I understood something valuable. I’m still probably as bad pitching my ideas to the editors as I was a year ago, but still, I’ve managed to sell the story out to magazines. That means that I either have some sort of photojournalistic identity or that the industry is not so harsh after all. Maybe both, I hope.
I think that the Masterclass was like some sort of storm. I enjoyed it but also thought whether I’m still gonna be alive as it ends. I was exposed there to tons of different and conflicting opinions, others’ and my own, some of which didn’t make any sense to me and some of which value I came to realize only after a good amount of time had passed. It ripped me from where I was rooted and threw me to a new soil. But the greatest thing was that I wasn’t there alone.”
Gregory Michenaud: “VII Masterclass was a real, great human and professional experience. A place where you can go deeper into all facets of realizing a complete and successful photographic project from the idea till the final presentation of it. All the VII photographers, as well as fellow participants, are taking part in each step of its completion, pushing you to go farther and higher on your personal work – so useful, especially when it is a personal one.
Apart from this professional side, the friendliness of this Masterclass, gave me so much opportunities to create connexions with fellow participants, lecturers and VII photographers – contacts or friendship that are valuable, more than anything else.“
Georgia Fu: “I thoroughly enjoyed and valued my VII Masterclass experience in Berlin, from meeting the wonderfully diverse participants to the inspirational VII photographers that came and worked with us. The experience taught me how to look for a story within a frame instead of just trying to capture a moment or an aesthetically pleasing image. I learned how to be more patient with my photography, how to wait for the right moment to come, instead of trying to capture everything. The experience also affirmed my belief that integrity and emotional truth are the most important things in photography. But most of all, it was meeting all the different photographers, participants, speakers and teachers, from various backgrounds, countries, and approaches to photography that made the experience invaluable. Being able to reconnect with people and hearing about everyone’s experiences over the three masterclass sessions, created an enriching and meaningful relationships, which for me was my favorite part of the masterclass experience”
Anna Liminowicz: “It was a great time! You gave me the motivation to work and continue projects. Many thanks for critical conversations and help with photo editing (especially Ashley Gilbertson and Christopher Morris ). Thank you, Stefano De Luigi, for showing me my strengths. Thanks to him, I know what should I develop in my works.
In addition, I changed the optics. The basic meaning – the one for the camera, but also in approach to the portrayed people. Thanks to Masterclass I made new friendships, we have extended our photo collective (www.inproduction.pl) and Dave and Gregory from the Masterclass joined us. Thanks to the fact that photographers of VII shared knowledge about cooperation with international magazines, I could take advantage of their experience. Moreover, cooperation with BuzzFeed established during the workshops meant that money spent on education with you soon returned. Thanks for making the photographer’s world smaller and easier to work with. ”
Andrea Provenzano: “VII masterclass opened my eyes on the world of photojournalism giving me the chance to meet and discover the workflow and the approach to visual storytelling of incredible photographers, both inside the agency and between the students.”
Wojciech Ryzinski: “VII masterclass in Berlin was an amazing experience for so many reasons. I’ve learned a lot about the business aspects of the photo industry. Hours of editing sessions with the masters were very intense and demanding but also really enjoyable. Seeing the projects that we worked on during the masterclass, evolving from session to session was really inspiring. I feel grateful that I had a chance to meet many talented photographers from around the world. Most importantly, I completed the masterclass having more friends than I had before it started. “
Rozette Rago: “The VII Masterclass in Berlin gave me the incredible opportunity to look at my work through the eyes of not only several photographers I look up to from the VII Photo Agency, but also more than a dozen talented photographers from various parts of the world. I carry the valuable advice I received from my mentors daily when I’m out in the field working. I also appreciated the thoughtfulness of the VII team in carefully curating our time in Berlin, taking us to various exhibitions and galleries where we met incredible artists and editors. The immersive nature of the sessions helped me focus on my work while giving plenty of time to connect with my classmates, which resulted in meaningful connections that I still lean on now. I will always be grateful for the experience, wisdom, and the friends I gained through this program.”
Pallavi Gaur: “My appreciation for documentary photography was the foremost reason why I applied for the VII masterclass. My project was about photographing the ephemerality of life, the joy of small things. I felt my project was in the right company of photographers. The different methods and the fascinating observations of the mentors helped me think aloud. Also, the criticism from my peers made me stand up for what I believe in while at the same time reexamine the rigidity of the structure and play with the fluidity of storytelling in photography.”
Felipe do Valle Costa: ”The VII Masterclass was a great opportunity to get to know other photographers, students, and VII’s photographers, and understand their process and way of thinking. This was of great value and helped me think and develop my own project. Also, having other people edit and give their opinion about your photos is the best way to learn.”
Irene Van Nispen Kress: “The whole VII Masterclass experience was really great. I learned a lot from great teachers, made lovely new friends, met interesting people, got good contacts and learned a lot about the whole world of photography and it’s do’s and don’ts. Personally, I struggled a lot with the project I was working on. It was about women who used to be a man and my reportage approach didn’t work the way I wanted it to and I how used to work on other projects. Working on an unsuccessful project can sometimes be even more interesting than working on a successful one. It made me realize even more what I need to be aware of and need to figure out in certain circumstances to tell a story in pictures.”
David Shaw: “The VII Masterclass helped me to find the focus on the subject of my project and this improved my wider photographic practise. It was a fantastic opportunity to receive insight into the industry through talks and discussions and to also meet new colleagues through the other attendees.”
Lucas Sere Peltzer: “For me, the essence of this Masterclass is what it aims to reveal within you outside of the sessions. I’m grateful for the place in life it moved me to, for the people and realities I’m now bonded to. The path this experience opened for me started with a personal project and became a journey of human connection when I joined a global demand for peace. I marched with people who turned into friends I deeply connected to, with just a few films to get closer to those moments when someone reveals to you.”