The Amsterdam Visual Storytelling Masterclass sets itself apart with a long-term and in-depth approach to helping working photographers improve all aspects of their creative and business practices for success in today’s challenging marketplace. The masterclass aims to help participants develop as photographers and marketers of their own work.
Deadline for applications is October 31, 2018. It is free to submit your application, but those who are accepted must pay the total fee of €1,975 (ex VAT). 12 photographers will be selected to participate. You can apply here.
“The scope of this masterclass allows us to explore the possibilities and opportunities for each project in detail, with constructive input from the fellow photographers as well as from the diverse group of masters.”
New Strategies for Photographers
Photojournalists and documentary photographers can no longer count on traditional buyers for their income: rates have dropped for archive sales, and the number of assignments have gone down dramatically. But that does not mean that documentary photography is “dead” or even “in decline.” Photographers are now able to initiate, create and publish their own projects by using many new tools that are available to them. The Amsterdam Masterclass is created around this idea: that photographers are able to take matters into their own hands and learn to work through the conception, creation, and publication of their own projects.
This masterclass is established to help a core group of talented, promising photographers develop new skills and refine their vision and strategy over an extended period of time. The course doesn’t just take place over a weekend. Instead, it’s a 7-month-long intensive program that aims to help photographers become even better at what they should be doing: making the right images for the right story, and getting those stories out into the world.
A group of 12 selected participants will meet over a period of 7 months at LensCulture’s editorial offices in Amsterdam. Under the guidance of Lars Boering and Jim Casper, participating photographers will be pushed to take on the next step in their careers.
For each session, the group is joined by other masters who will share expertise and insights about their specialties in the photographic business. The masters are industry professionals who play leading roles within the community: directors of photography for magazines and news media, international photography critics, award-winning photographers, photobook designers, festival curators, collection consultants, art directors, new media experts, publishers, and others. Our aim is to give true insight into how to successfully move your career forward.
Meeting Dates in Amsterdam
First session: 7-8-9 December 2018
Second session: 8-9-10 March 2019
Third session: 7-8-9 June 2019
In the time between each meeting, the participants and masters will stay connected with each other via video conferencing and other ways.
Masters Invited to Participate in the Upcoming Sessions
The following experts have been invited to participate and lead day-long sessions during this masterclass:
Teun van der Heijden, Award-winning Photobook Designer
Magdalena Herrera, Director of Photography, GEO France
Francis Hodgson, Art Critic, Author, Curator, and Co-Founder of Prix Pictet
Donald Weber, Photographer, Author, Educator, Expert on Grants and Fundraising
Arianna Rinaldo, Creative Director, Cortona on the Move Festival, Art Director, Curator
Marc Prüst, Photography Consultant and Curator. Book Developer, Festival Organizer
Rebecca McClelland, Head of Department Art Production, Saatchi & Saatchi, Creative Director, Ian Parry Scholarship
“There is a real need for this Masterclass because too many good photographers are struggling with the rapidly changing market for documentary photography. Instead of providing quick feedback, we want to provide more profound insight into what photography’s relevance is today, and use those insights to build stronger careers for the participating photographers.”
-Marc Prüst, participating master
Each photographer will work on their own project, discussing goals and strategies with the group, presenting work in progress, and critiquing each other’s work. In addition, fundamental topics will be covered in depth.
These topics include: the image (the heart of what it’s all about), use of the light, composition, structure of a photographic image, and story editing. We will have in-depth sessions on the content of the story: journalistic elements like storytelling, ethics, research, and setting up a long-term project. We will cover how to pitch stories to publications as well as commercial and non-profit agencies, and we will explore other options for funding. We will also focus on how to get your story out there by preparing for publications or exhibitions, and introducing your work to the right people. Topics include some strategies for writing winning grant proposals, and we’ll introduce the participants to the principles and ideas behind the use of social media for photographers – an area of increasing importance in today’s marketplace.
Each meeting will be organized around group discussions and individual meetings aimed at developing the projects. For each session, two guest lecturers are invited to work with the group. In between the sessions, Boering and Casper will be available to answer questions, direct participants to the right people in the business, and assist participants in the creation of their projects.
“I love meeting with industry professionals and the participating photographers during these sessions. Together they have profoundly impacted my own understanding of what it means to be a photographer today.”
- Lars Boering
Teacher and Consultant
With over 17 years of management and leadership experience within the cultural, creative and social sectors, Lars has acted as an advisor to photographers internationally, taught at masterclasses and academies, and has been involved as a curator for festivals, museums, publishing houses and other institutions. He assumed the role of Managing Director for World Press Photo in January 2015.
Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder, LensCulture
Since 2004, Jim has been immersed in the world of photography, sharing his discoveries with a worldwide audience that has grown to over 3 million monthly. He’s become an expert at presenting and promoting photography and visual stories on the web and via social media. He collaborates with photographers to create compelling edits and sequencing for their work, as well as text and captions that immediately engage readers, helping them gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the photographer’s stories and subject matter. Jim serves on several award juries every year, and served as a board member for the Society for Photographic Education (SPE), the largest association of photography educators in the world.
If you want to know more:
Contact Jim Casper
Deadline for applications is October 31, 2018. It is free to submit your application; those who are accepted must pay the total fee of €1,975 (ex VAT). 12 photographers will be selected to participate. You can apply here.
Notes from last year’s participants
“For me, the masterclass was a game changer. It made me see things in a different light, and because of that, new opportunities arose. The 12 photographers attending the masterclass were so very different, and it was very inspiring and educational to see how they developed and dealt with their own struggles. In the 3rd session of the masterclass, it was great to see how everybody had grown.
My career in The Netherlands was going very well, but I didn’t know how to extend this to my experience abroad. This masterclass was a confirmation that it is possible to venture outside of The Netherlands; it built my confidence and gave me direction.
The series I was working on for 1.5 years and continued working on during the masterclass was exhibited this summer at Cortona On The Move, the international photo festival in Cortona, Italy. The main goal I had for this masterclass was to broaden my horizons, and I achieved that. The exhibition in Italy is only the start. I followed the advice of Lars, Jim, Marc and the other lecturers, and put myself out there. For example, I participated in (very successful) international portfolio reviews in France and Italy, and as a result of those reviews, more great things are on the horizon!
The masterclass gave me direction for where to go with my project, and how to put it out there. The editing sessions were very helpful as well. It was very interesting to see how different people make different edits of your work.
The main thing I got out of the masterclass was the conviction that much more is possible than you might dare to think, as long as you work hard and know your strengths and believe in yourself.”
— Ernst Coppejans
“Before I attended the masterclass, I was kind of insecure about introducing my work, as it is very personal. I don’t like to take up a lot of space. While listening to the other presentations, I discovered that my way to overcome this fear is to look at my work and my photography as a brand, and each brand needs promotion.
Besides feeling more at ease while introducing and promoting my work, it became much easier to take a step back and define the the unique qualities of it. That led to new insights about where I wanted to improve myself, and helped me write concise statements and grant applications.
I would definitely recommend the masterclass to photographers looking for a way to professionalize their work. The masterclass is a great way to obtain connections from all over the world, learn from each other’s work and way of thinking (through sessions of only asking questions, for example), and establish a more active role in developing your brand and your career as a photographer.
The exhibition I worked on while attending the masterclass has been a great success. Titled I Survived Another Day, its run-time was extended in Museum Belvedere after the initial closing dates, and has been exhibited for a total of five months (see a little preview on my website). While this exhibition was still running, another (smaller) duo exhibition opened in the Wall House, as part of the Groninger Museum.
I also received the great news that I am shortlisted for the Lucie Scholarships with a series of new work I’m making. I am currently searching for ways to present this new series of work.
The most valuable part of the masterclass for me where the lectures. There was so much new information that I hadn’t thought of before. Also, the lectures were very different from one other, with a lot of perspective from different people working with photographers. That taught me about different methods for introducing myself, the importance of keeping in touch, and how to reach an audience.”
— Laura Hospes
“The masterclass as a whole helped me focus on what I personally like in photography instead of looking and concentrating at what is ‘popular’ and what other photographers are doing.
One of the most valuable parts of the masterclass for me was the moment I realized that I was not working ‘from the heart’. It prompted me to make the decision to start all over again with the series, and change it into a highly personal story.
I would definitely recommend the masterclass to other serious photographers. There were so many wonderful people flying in to share their knowledge with us. And, not in the least, real friendships develop during the masterclasses.”
— Rob Severein
“The masterclass helped me step outside of making the work and to continue editing and writing about it.
Following the class, I was invited to exhibit my series FOG in Noorderlicht’s exhibition The Romantic Landscape. I am exhibiting in the 5th Barcelona Biennial and Shutter Hub Open this month, and my series FOG is featured on Inside the Outside website.
I am publishing the first of my series, Velvet Black, as a 36-page hand-bound book this month, and it has been accepted to be sold at Impressions Photo Book Fair in Bradford. The Open Eye gallery shop in Liverpool also stocks my Green on White postcard book.
The masterclass helped me see how other people viewed my work and how I was speaking about it. It helped me find the next stage in the work. But it also helped me realize that it takes a long time to self publish, and to work with that in mind.
I especially recommend the masterclass for anyone who needs to develop or define their approach to what they are doing.”
— Fleur Olby
If you are ready to take your photography career to the next level, submit your application today. Limited to 12 participants.