CRITICAE 2022 / Online Documentary Photography Masterclass

Explore personal stories

Photography is a medium for communicating stories and ideas – a space for critical meditation on the world, but also a realm for self-reflection. What is the relationship between the intimate and the impersonal in photography? How do we tell stories that belong to us? Is there a separation between the “personal” and the “general” in today’s complex realities? How do we define our relationship with the medium in an age where everyone is empowered to tell their own story with a camera?

Guided by photographer Laura El-Tantawy, participants will be introduced to photography as a vehicle for individual storytelling. The program will dive into different modes of “personal” stories, by questioning the documentary and its different media (photos, sounds, animated images & words). You will explore critical and poetic, collaborative and idiosyncratic, philosophical and intuitive, emotional and analytical aspects.

The program will take place online over a period of 8 months. To participate, simply fill out the form with your personal data, share a link to your portfolio and apply for free. If your application is accepted, we will notify you and guide you to enroll in the program.

At the end of the program, one or more participants will be selected for an exhibition at the PhMuseum Lab – an international exhibition opportunity and a chance to present your work in a public place.

How it works

  • Group lessons and seminars

    With 4 online group lessons and 3 seminars, Laura El-Tantawy will share her experience and working methods related to contemporary photography, guiding you in the development of your project and introducing you to the theoretical frameworks of critical and personal documentary strategies.

  • One by one

    With these 4 individual online sessions of 60 min, you will have time to engage in specific discussions aimed at working on your ideas and improving your methods. The sessions are tailor-made according to your specific needs and those of your project.

  • Studio

    To give you an insight into the industry and offer additional information, we have invited expert practitioners to run 5 interactive studio tours. They will divulge the methodologies behind their work and offer a better understanding of their role in the photography industry.

  • Final meeting + exhibited work

    At the end of the program, one or more photographers will exhibit at the PhMuseum Lab, our headquarters in Bologna, Italy. All participants will further benefit from dissemination opportunities through the PhMuseum channels.

head teacher

Combining group sessions and individual sessions, Laura El-Tantawy will share her expertise and methods, guiding you in the development of your project. You will be introduced to theoretical and practical documentary-making strategies in the form of tailored feedback to complement your work as well as potential presentation formats. In addition, at the end of the masterclass, Laura and the PhMuseum team will offer an exhibition at the PhMuseum Lab (Bologna, Italy) to one or more participants. An international exhibition opportunity and a chance to present your work in a public place. Discover the complete works of Laura El-Tantawy here.

Workshop visits

In CRITICAE, you will benefit from unique access to the studios of recognized practitioners in the form of interactive virtual tours of the studios. A way to enrich your experience and learn relevant ideas from other artists. Each studio visit includes a presentation by a guest artist followed by an informal Q&A session. More info soon.

  • June 2022
    • SESSION 1 – (Group) Welcome and presentation of participants’ work (6 Hours)
    • SESSION 2 – (Seminar) Introduction to documentary modes / personal stories in documentary photography (4 Hours)
  • July
    • SESSION 3 – Individual sessions (1 hour)
    • SESSION 4 – Workshop visit #1
  • August
  • September
    • SESSION 5 – (Seminar) Discussion on ethics, aesthetics and conventions, critical documentary strategies (4 Hours)
    • SESSION 6 – Workshop visit #2
    • SESSION 7 – (Group) Presentation of Participants’ Work (6 Hours)
  • October
    • SESSION 8 – Individual sessions (1 hour)
    • SESSION 9 – Workshop visit #3
  • November
    • SESSION 10 – (Seminar) Discussion on the enhancement of documentary work, finalization of a presentation (4 Hours)
    • SESSION 11 – Individual sessions (1 hour)
    • SESSION 12 – Workshop visit #4
  • December
    • SESSION 13 – Workshop visit #5
    • SESSION 14 – (Group) Presentation of Participants’ Work (6 Hours)
  • January 2023
    • SESSION 15 – Individual sessions (1 hour)
  • February
    • SESSION 16 – (Group) Final Open Discussion (4 Hours)
  • October November
    • Exhibition of selected photographer(s) at the PhMuseum Lab, Bologna (Italy)

Why participate?

  • Acquire

    This program gives you first-hand experience of an international photographer like Laura El-Tantawy, enhancing your theoretical and practical approach to documentary photography.

  • Exposure
    your project

    At the end of the masterclass, all participants will have completed their projects, ready to present in final form. In addition, one or more participants will exhibit their projects at the PhMuseum Lab in 2023.

  • To expand
    your network

    Engage with a select group of peers and professionals from around the world, who can become a resource for you in the future. Take advantage of PhMuseum channels to promote your work.

  • Soft

    In these uncertain times, take the opportunity to commit to a program that will always be accessible to you. Plus, you have the opportunity to learn from home while working or studying.

  • Competitive
    the price

    Take advantage of a top-of-the-range program at our introductory price, one of the most competitive on the market. If you do not have the resources, you can also apply for 1 fully funded scholarship.

How to register

Simply click apply now and send us your portfolio. All applications will be reviewed by the PhMuseum team. What we will consider is the potential of your current project, the strength of your ideas and the coherence of your portfolio. If your application is successful, you can then enroll in the program.

Participation fee

May 5 – If you apply before this date, you may be eligible for the full scholarship. Please be sure to send a motivational paragraph that explains why you would benefit from participating in the program.

May 12 – If you apply before this date, you may be eligible for the Early Bird rate of €1,600. All applications submitted for the scholarship will automatically be eligible for the early registration fee.

May 26 – If you apply before this date, you can join the program by paying the regular fee of €1,850. As places are limited, we recommend that you do not wait until the last day.

Please note that should you be offered a place, PhMuseum will be happy to provide you with a letter of support when you seek external funding opportunities. For example, in previous editions of our masterclasses, candidate fees were fully funded thanks to the generous support of IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists or other national programs.

Technical details

All online classes take place on Zoom. We will grant you a specific link each time and you must log in at least 15 minutes before. To attend, you will need Mac OS X 10.11 or higher or Windows 7 or higher.* In addition, a stable internet connection, a quiet environment and access to Google Drive.

Want to know more?

Write to us at [email protected]

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