Responsive knapp


The Camera as Polotical Apparatus:
An Unromantic Take on Documentary Practice

NOTE : The workshop due to be held in June 2020 has been cancelled Covid-19. An online version will be held over the summer of 2020 with the selected participants. 


1. - 5. June 2020 (cancelled)
Atelier NOUA, Bodø, Norway
Participation fee : EUR 450
Application deadline : 1. February 2020
There is no application fee.

12 participants have been chosen by a panel. 


"“There is no need for the western political artist, too often a disaster tourist, to sail the seven seas looking for injustices to denounce. Inequality and exploitation saturate the ground on which we stand, they are in the grain of everyday life.” - Victor Burgin.

The workshop invites participants to think, discuss and challenge their beliefs on what critical art and documentary photography is and can be. As photographers, how does our point of view and engagement affect how and what we photograph? Is documenting enough in today’s world? Are we in danger of succumbing to a certain aesthetic laziness in the way we photograph pain and misery, and is there an alternative? We believe that art and documentary photography still has an important role in criticising, revealing and in other ways actively catalysing change in today’s world. The way we as photographers approach what we do can mean the difference between visual tourism, a cry of outrage or effective criticism.

From planning and developing to promoting and funding a project, the participants will have an opportunity to clarify the next steps for their existing politically or socially engaged long-term work.

Part I. From outrage to productive criticism
Where to aim and how to create an efficient critique? We’ll discuss how to navigate the seemingly endless possibilities – from coming up with ideas, to developing a coherent storyline and form, collaboration, access to the subject, planning, visualizing and more.


Part II. Delivering the message and the form of the project
As the project develops, its final form and presentation should be kept in mind. The options are many, but we will talk about how to “set your own rules” by pinpointing what is most suitable for a specific project.

Part III. Show me the money
Funding is the Achilles heel of documentary photography. Photographing climate changes with a grant from Shell Oil Corporation – a disaster or a possibility? There is little money to go around, and what there is not always “clean”. Sponsors, prizes, grants, print sales – navigating these unclear waters is key in making choices that can affect the ethics of your work.

General requirements
Participants should be working on or have recently completed a long-term project. Bring your work-in-progress (small/medium prints are recommended as well as digital files), as well as your portfolio.





Mathieu Asselin (FR / VEN, 1973) works and lives in Arles, France. He began his career working in film productions in Caracas, Venezuela, but shaped his photographic practice in the United States. His work consists mainly of long-term documentary research projects, such as his latest book 'Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation', which received international recognition by winning the Kassel PhotoBook Festival Dummy Award in 2016, the Aperture Foundation First Book Award in 2017, was selected for the Deutsche Bürse Photography Foundation Award in 2018 and the Prix de l'Elysee 2018/2019. His work has recently been exhibited at venues including Les Rencontres d'Arles in France, the Photographer's Gallery in London, the Fotomuseum Antwerp in Belgium, the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt and the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Mathieu Asselin holds a master's degree from the École National Supérieure de la Photo in Arles, France



Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo (CH) - Independent artist and curator, currently completing his PhD at the National Photography School in Arles, France (ENSP). After one year at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, he graduated in Photography in Chile and completed his Masters of Fine Arts at the Villa Arson in 2014. Since 2005, he has been designing and curating exhibitions in Chile and Europe, including Mapuche at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris and Monsanto: a Photographic Investigation at Les Rencontres d'Arles.  His photographic research is focused on the critical and historical understanding of the introduction of the photographic medium in South America; and the complex intersections of identities in ancient cultures. His work focuses on interdisciplinary theories that have shaped knowledge, techniques and beliefs, by which societies have re-configured the concepts of imagination, representation, embodiment, and identity.