3 Week Documentary Photography Workshop - Kenya

3 Week Documentary Photography Workshop - Kenya


Note: This program is scheduled for February 2016 and does not limit itself to residents of Montreal.

This incredible workshop is a residential course where students will live together in a beautiful cottage and explore the world of documentary photography. The actual relationship starts considerably before by way of a set of online workshops and a book club where students will prepare themselves for their time in a sunny Africa. Students will gain exposure to several documentary photographers, gain access and insight to a variety of presentations and set out to hone their photography skills in time before they come to Kenya. 


Week 1 - Introductions and Integrations

All workshop attendees are picked up from the airport and transported to the guest house in Naivasha. All students should have landed in Nairobi by 31st January and be prepared to be taken to Naivasha. Week 1 is rather relaxed, involving some short refresher courses in photography, a series of screenings and discussions in the world of documentary photography, lectures about the history of the region and several group activities. There will be a day trip to Nairobi during the week to discover the art scene as well as a general discovery of the history of this region with trips to the Museum, among other visits. 

Afternoons can be spent on a number of activities in the picturesque area such as hiking, sailing, horse riding, etc. 

On the 4th day, students will be introduced to their research assistants as well as decide on 5 documentary projects that are pre-selected by the Ambient Life team. A fair amount of briefing material on the subject will be presented as well as coordinating with their research assistants for additional research material and information. 

Over the weekend, students are free to do as they please but a camping trip to the Aberdares National Park will be organized by Ambient Life, presenting itself with several nature photography opportunities. 

All food is cooked at location and provided by Ambient Life - In the evenings, we will dine together and invite photojournalist to showcase their work and speak about their experiences. Some of these photojournalists will be advisors to the groups.

WEEK 2 - Projects begin

On day 4 of week 1, students had already picked one of 5 projects (2 students per project) and further engaged in the research process. Students will perform additional research, learn about the issue and meet with our network partners to further educate themselves. They will then decide on their target audience and together with their research assistants, devise interview questions as well as a broader strategy on how to best progress with the project and the narrative to take - at all times questioning their biases and having a goal of objectivity. Each group will be assigned a photography mentor that will guide them through various challenges and offer them advice on their work. 

We will provide transportation and reasonable accommodation in the field where required. Projects will be ranked on intensity but we will at all times ensure the safety and security of our students. 

Project deadlines are set for Saturday afternoon. Students will then work on putting together a presentation to be showcased on Saturday night, giving each other feedback on their discoveries. 

The photographs will then be presented to our curator - who will prepare the images for the end of program exhibition in Nairobi. 

Sunday will be rest day

WEEK 3 - Take 2 - Second Project

Based on the feedback and experience from the first project, students will take on a second project with project teams changing. They will follow a similar approach of research and discovery, preparation of interview questions, get feedback from their advisor and proceed to the field for their project. This will, again, be projects that are picked by Ambient Life as a means to smooth out logistical challenges. 

Students will then present a final conclusion of their work as with the first exhibition, working with our curator that will be preparing for the exhibition at the end of the program.