Loading Events

« All Events

VII Summer School of Storytelling

July 6, 2018 - July 12, 2018

Photo by Ziyah Gafic
Photo by Ziyah Gafic / VII.

Instructors: Paul Lowe, Ziyah Gafic, Sara Terry
Location: Sarajevo, Lukomir, Srebrenica, Bosnia
Cost: $2,000 USD
Duration: 7 Days
Class size: 20
Skill level: All levels
Scholarships: Yes

About the workshop

This intensive weeklong workshop featuring three tutors will explore how to develop and refine your distinctive personal visual style and vision. It will focus on planning long-term projects, and how to conceive, research and fund them. It will also focus on developing your own individual personal visual style. Expect a transformative experience, where your current way of working will be challenged and refined through a series of one to one tutorials with each of the tutors in turn. We will push you hard to find what is truly your own unique photographic identity. You will learn to conceptualize long-term projects, and how to work through the challenges that come with long-term work, including creative blocks and funding. You’ll also learn when and how to include verbal storytelling as part of your visual work. During the workshop, you’ll be given problem-solving photo assignments to help unlock ways to work intuitively and emotionally, so that photography becomes more an act of creativity and less a matter of technology and intellect. The workshop includes two field trips, to Lukomir and Srebrenica, where participants will be able to experience shooting on location.

VII photographers left a lasting mark in the history of photojournalism with the work they produced during the war in Bosnia, making some of the most iconic images of 20th century during the conflict and its aftermath. All 3 of the tutors have lived and worked in Bosnia over the last 25 years, and between them have documented the war and post war situation in depth from a range of perspectives.

Bosnia is an emerging state still coping with the long term effects of devastating civil war that raged thru the country from 1992-1995. Despite the Dayton peace agreement signed in 1995 that guaranteed return of refugees and restitution of private property, ethnic tensions remain high and the international community remains a strong factor in maintaining a somewhat dysfunctional state. Although hardly visible the country remains divided along the ethnic lines. Bosnia is located in Southeastern Europe and its capital, Sarajevo is easily reachable from Western Europe or the USA.

Bosnia today offers unique insight in what civil war does to a secular, prosperous country.

The workshop will include field trips around the city of Sarajevo, and to the remote mountain village of Lukomir and to the annual commemoration of the victims of the 1995 genocidal massacre at Srebrenica.

Sarajevo is a unique mix of East and West, and with its long and complex history is a fascinating city to visit and explore, with the four religions of Islam, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and Judaism living side by side.

Lukomir is Bosnia’s highest and most isolated mountain village. The traditional lifestyles of the Dinaric highlanders are still practiced here, providing a unique window into Europe’s past. Traditional dress is still worn, and goes hand in hand with the more familiar signs of everyday life, such as electricity and running water. The village is on the edge of the breathtaking Rakitnica Canyon, which drops 800m below, as well as the neighboring Obalj and Visocica mountains. You will be able to visit the villagers and learn first-hand how they live in this beautiful but difficult environment. There will be an optional hike to the Peruce Waterfall (about 40 meters tall) before returning to Gornji (upper) Lukomir. Lukomir is one of the few, if not only, places in Bosnia untouched by war.

Srebrenica is a small town in Eastern Bosnia (100 miles from Sarajevo) and the site of the first act of genocide on European soil since the Holocaust. Every year on July 11th funerals of the identified victims take place in memorial center in Srebrenica as a part of commemoration of the genocide, and thousands of mourners attend the ceremony.


Outside of the presentations and one-on-one tutorials, you’ll free to explore and shoot in the cosmopolitan city of Sarajevo. During the workshop each tutor will give a presentation of their work on Bosnia, and there will be sessions on developing and funding long-term projects, how to develop visual style, and how to strategically develop new skills and abilities over a long term period. You’ll also be assigned tasks to complete on the field trips, based on the results of the one-on-one tutorials.

July 6

Arrival and welcome drink in the evening.

July 7

Session 1: outline of workshop schedule and aims

Session 2: Developing visual style

Session 3: One-on-one tutorials begin: 30min with each tutor in turn over the course of the workshop

Session 4: Presentation by Paul Lowe of his work on Bosnia

Evening: Group Dinner in local restaurant

July 8

Session1: Presentation by Sara Terry of her work on Bosnia

Session 2: On-on-one tutorials continue

Session 3: Developing long term projects with Sara Terry

Evening: leave for overnight trip to Lukomir

July 9

All day in Lukomir, return early evening

July 10

Session 1: Presentation by Ziyah Gafic of his work on Bosnia

Session 2: Group Review of Lukomir shoot

Session 3: The poetics of vision with Ziyah Gafic

July 11

All day trip to Srebrenica for the annual commemoration of the 1995 Massacre.

July 12

Session 1: Group Review of Srebrenica shoot.

Session 2: One-on-one tutorials continue

Session 3: Final round up and Q&A session with all 3 tutors

Closing dinner.


“Sara is a phenomenal teacher of photography–not just the act, but the thought and feeling behind each image. You’d be hard pressed to finder a faster, smarter reader of photographs: Sara understands almost instantly the heart of an image or a body of work, and can help shepherd a work that is not fully realized to its full potential. The workshop I took with Sara, in which she offered validation for a tricky conceptual project while also helping me strengthen and expand its framework, was easily the most valuable I’ve ever participated in.”  – Andrew Cullen, Photographer

“Sara Terry is among the brightest, most challenging and interesting instructors I’ve had the pleasure to study under and my educational experience includes a master degree, so I’ve had a lot of instructors, and a dozen plus photography classes in recent years.  Beyond being a substantial photographer, Sara has an extensive knowledge of the work of other photographers and is quick to recommend a reference when applicable to a student working in the same vein.  She is also knowledgeable in literature and poetry and can recommend reading material that might inform or inspire a student working in a particular genre.  But what I like best is her criticism, it can be pointed and challenging, she doesn’t soft pedal and it usually feels right on.” – Andy House, Thesis Film Mentor, American Film Institute

“When it comes to Ziyah, he is an exceptionally good mentor and a photographer. He has the mystical ability to create extraordinary photographs, tell impactful stories along with the potential to teach the novice or the experienced with patience and understanding. Ziyah goes into the depth of an image or a body of work and provides a constructive critical feedback to further develop a strong body of work. He analyses the story of a particular project in detail, helping the photographer to strengthen his/her visual narrative chasing its potential.  I recently had the pleasure to get mentored by him over my ongoing project. It shaped my work according to my way of seeing and understanding ,which I feel is most important to develop for a better sustainability. The Mentorship led me to win the prestigious Documentary Project Fund 2018 along with the Toto-Tasveer Award for Photography 2018.” – Taha Ahmad, Photographer – India

“Ziyah was of fundamental importance for my photographic training.

It was thanks to his guidelines that one of my projects took shape. Starting from my basic idea, Ziyah has been of great help identifying clearly what would have been the various phases of the work.

Subsequently, through several editing sessions, all the images were analyzed with care until the essence that I wanted to give to my work emerged.

In the end the project received several awards and was recently published in National Geographic.

I recommend Ziyah to anyone who wants to approach photography from a more meaningful and professional point of view.” – Sulejman Bijedic, photographer – Italy

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.

The workshop fee does not include travel, lodging or meals. Only transportation to/from field trips is included in the price.

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.

Enroll now



Please email workshops@viiphoto.com for a scholarship application.


July 6, 2018
July 12, 2018
Event Categories:
, , ,

Contact us

VII Photo Agency

PO Box 621
Manville, NJ

+1 646-694-8447

Licensing & Assignments

Redux Pictures
+1 212-253-0399

Stay connected

Visit the store

VII Photo Store

The VII Online Bookstore features rare, limited edition, and signed photography books by the photographers of VII.



  • 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
  • Stefano De Luigi
  • Gary Knight
  • Antonin Kratochvil
  • Joachim Ladefoged
  • Paul Lowe
  • Christopher Morris
  • Franco Pagetti
  • Daniel Schwartz
  • Maggie Steber
  • John Stanmeyer
  • Sara Terry
  • The Estate of Alexandra Boulat

Mentor Program

  • Ali Arkady
  • Furkan Temir