Student Zahara Abdul and instructor Nichole Sobecki discuss work from a day of shooting at Foundry Photojournalism Workshop 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda. ©Sofie Hecht Photography

Our classes are designed to improve your photography and visual journalism skills no matter your skill level. This year, classes will be held online in small, intimate groups and taught in nine languages. Participants, teachers and guest lecturers will come together virtually in December 2021 to celebrate their photographic stories and learn new skills.

Our teachers are some of the world’s most influential photographers and visual journalists. They offer perspectives gained from long experience working internationally. 

Please note that our instructors and presenters are subject to change.

Ali Arkady - Arabic and Kurdish languages

Ali Arkady is an artist, photographer, and filmmaker from Khanaqin, Iraq. A graduate of Khanaqin Institute of Fine Art, he has been working as an independent photographer since 2006. In 2014 Ali joined VII Photo Agency as part of their VII Mentor Program, and is now an Emeritus member.

Ali’s work has focused on wounded and disabled Iraqis during the war, as well as the daily life of his countrymen. He has done intimate work on the plight of the Yazidis, an ethnic group residing in Syria and Iraq, after their expulsion by Daesh (Islamic State). More recently Ali produced some of the most important evidence of war crimes in the past 30 years when covering Iraqi forces in the battles for Mosul: he portrayed humanitarian conditions and conflicts with sensitivity and an unflinching eye.

Ali chose to cover the deteriorating situations of his people following the regime change of 2003. He has presented a compelling work titled ‘Iraq: Situations’ for the internationally acclaimed project ‘Over My Eyes’ produced by DARST which features several of the most important Iraq contemporary photographers.

He won the Most Resilient Journalist Award (2019) for his exceptional courage and persistence, the prestigious Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents (2017), and had his work shown as part of the Venice Biennale (2017).

His current projects include covering immigrants conditions in Europe, as well as documenting Middle East artists who left their country.

Eric Bouvet - French language

Eric Bouvet began his photographic career in 1981 after studying art and graphic industries in Paris. He has covered major international events including the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, Tiananmen Square in China, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Prague’s Velvet Revolution, the U.S. attack on Libya, the release of Nelson Mandela, the Olympic Games, and the migrant crisis in Europe.

His work has been published in many international magazines including Time, Life, Newsweek, Paris-Match, Stern, The New York Time’s Magazine, and The Sunday Times Magazine. For the past 20 years, he has given workshops in Arles and many European countries.

Along the way, Bouvet has received five World Press Awards, as well as two Visa d’Or Awards (Perpignan Photo Festival), the gold medal for the 150th anniversary of photography, the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, the Public award from Bayeux-Calvados, the Front Line Club award, and the Paris-Match Award.

Vanessa Charlot - English language

Vanessa Charlot is an award-winning documentary photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker, lecturer and curator. Her work focuses on the intersectionality of race, spirituality, economics and sexual/gender expression. She shoots primarily in black and white to disrupt compositional hierarchy and explore the immutability of the collective human experience. The purpose of her work is to produce visual representations free of an oppressive gaze. Vanessa seeks to humanize Black bodies through her photography, restoring the dignity and vitality of those often shot as subjects divorced from context, motives, and histories. Her work invites us all to question our relationship to what we think about when we see Black bodies as static images and in motion.

She has worked throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Southeast Asia.  Her photographs have been commissioned by the New York Times, Gucci, Vogue, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Apple, New York Magazine, Buzzfeed, Artnet News, The Washington Post and other national and international publications. She lectures at the International Center of Photography. In 2021, she was awarded the Courage in Journalism Award presented by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Michael Robinson Chávez - Spanish language

Michael Robinson Chávez, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, became seduced by photography after a friend gave him a camera to take on a three-month trip to Peru in 1988. A native Californian and half Peruvian, Robinson Chávez is currently on his second tour as a staff photographer at The Washington Post. Prior to that, he worked for The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and the Associated Press. He has covered assignments in over 70 countries including the collapse of Venezuela, violence in Mexico, California’s historic drought, the Egyptian revolution, gold mining in Peru, life in India and Brazil’s slums, the 2006 Hezbollah/Israeli war and the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Robinson Chávez was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2020 as part of a staff entry from The Washington Post covering climate change. He is also a three-time winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for Photojournalism and was named International Photographer of the Year in 2020 by Pictures of the Year International. He is a member of Metro Collective, a frequent lecturer and has taught photographic workshops in over 20 countries.

Manoocher Deghati - Farsi language

Manoocher Deghati has been photographing news, conflicts and social issues around the globe since 1978, starting with the Iranian revolution and subsequent war between Iran and Iraq. After being exiled from his native country of Iran in 1985, he worked for several major agencies (Black Star, Sipa, Keystone, AFP) and important international magazines, such as Time, Life, Newsweek, Paris Match, GEO, and National Geographic Magazine. In addition, he has held management positions and photographed for the United Nations on four continents. In 2002, he founded the AINA Photojournalism Institute in Kabul. After directing the photo operation for The Associated Press in the Middle East for four years, he has decided to teach and work as an independent photographer from his new home base in Southern Italy.

Ziyah Gafic - Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian language

Ziyah Gafic is an award-winning photojournalist and videographer based in Sarajevo focusing on societies locked in a perpetual cycle of violence and Muslim communities around the world. He covered major stories in over 50 countries including conflicts in Chechnya, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Ziyah’s work received many prestigious awards such as multiple awards at World Press Photo, Grand Prix Discovery of the Year at Les Rencontres d’Arles, Hasselblad Masters Award, City of Perpignan Award for Young Reporters at Visa pour l’Image, Photo District News, Getty Images grant for editorial photography, TED fellowship, Prince Claus grant, and Magnum Emergency fund grant. His work is regularly published in leading international publications. Ziyah authored several monographs including Troubled Islam – Short Stories from Troubled Societies, Quest for Identity, and the most recent, Heartland. Ziyah is TED speaker and Logan fellow.

Mary Gelman - Russian language

Mary Gelman is a Russian photographer with VII Photo Agency based in Saint Petersburg. In 2016, she received a BA in sociology, and she graduated from the School of Modern Photography Docdocdoc (Saint Petersburg). She was a participant in various international and local workshops. She works as a photojournalist and teacher. The most important part of her professional life is personal projects. She explores the larger world through close personal narratives. Mary focuses on issues of gender and body, boundary and identity, discrimination and the human relationship with the environment.

Mary Gelman’s photography has been published in The Washington Post, National Geographic, Internazionale, Buzzfeed, and other international magazines.

Nichole Sobecki - English language

Nichole Sobecki is an American photographer and filmmaker with VII Photo Agency based in Nairobi, Kenya.

After graduating from Tufts University, Nichole spent the early years of her career in Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria, focusing on regional issues related to identity, conflict, and human rights. From 2012-2015, she led Agence France-Presse’s East Africa video bureau and was a 2014 Rory Peck Awards News Finalist for her coverage of the Westgate mall attacks in Kenya. Nichole’s work has been recognized by Pictures of the Year, the One World Media Awards, the Alexandra Boulat Award for Photojournalism, The Magenta Foundation, and The Jacob Burns Film Center, among others, and her work has been exhibited internationally.

Maggie Steber - English language

Maggie Steber, a documentary photographer specializing in humanistic stories, has worked in 67 countries. Her honors include a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation in 2017, the Leica Medal of Excellence, World Press Photo Foundation, the Overseas Press Club, Pictures of the Year, the Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri, the Alicia Patterson Grant, the Ernst Haas Grant, and a Knight Foundation grant for the New American Newspaper project. Steber has worked in Haiti for three decades. Aperture published her monograph, “Dancing on Fire.”

In 2013, Steber was named as one of eleven “Women of Vision” by National Geographic Magazine with an exhibition that traveled to five cities. Steber served as a Newsweek contract photographer and as Assistant Managing Editor of Photography and Features at The Miami Herald, overseeing projects that won a Pulitzer.  Her work is included in the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim Foundation Collection, and The Richter Library. She exhibits internationally. Clients include National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, AARP, The Guardian, and Geo Magazine. Steber teaches workshops internationally including at the World Press Joop Swart Master Classes, the International Center for Photography, Foundry Workshops, and the Obscura Photo Festival.

Dar Yasin

Dar Yasin - English language

Dar Yasin is an Indian photographer and journalist based in Srinagar. He was one of three photojournalists from Associated Press to win the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography in 2020 for his pictures of India’s crackdown on Kashmir.[2]  He has extensively covered the Kashmir conflict, South Asia Earthquake and its aftermath, and the historical opening of the bus route between divided Kashmir.

He has covered the Afghan War, Afghan Refugees and Daily life of war-torn Afghanis. Dar has also covered the Rohingya refugee crisis who fled large-scale violenceand persecution in Myanmar. His works have appeared in all majo r newspapers and news magazines around the globe. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Dar’s work has earned him dozens of international photo awards including NPPA’s Best of PhotojournalismPOY-Asia, and the inaugural Yannis Behrakis International Photojournalism Award for a compelling collection of photographs chronicling the ongoing conflict in Kashmir. In 2017 he received the NPPA Humanitarian Award which is presented to an individual for playing a key role in the saving of lives or in rescue situations. His work has also been exhibited in Visa Pour L’images in Perpignan.


Adriana Zehbrauskas - Portuguese language

Adriana Zehbrauskas is a Brazilian documentary photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her work is largely focused on issues related to migration, religion, human rights, underrepresented  communities and the violence resulting from the drug trade in Mexico, Central and South America. She contributes regularly to the The New York Times, UNICEF and BuzzFeed News and her work has been widely published in outlets such as The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Stern, Le Monde and El País, among others.

She has won numerous international awards and is one of the three photographers profiled in the documentary “Beyond Assignment” (USA, 2011, produced by The Knight Center for International Media and the University of Miami. She’s a recipient of the first Getty Images Instagram Grant and was awarded Best Female Photojournalist –Troféu Mulher Imprensa (Brazil). She’s an instructor with the International Center of Photography (ICP- NY), the World Press Photo Foundation, and the Gabriel García Márquez’s Fundación Gabo, and serves as a jury member to dozens of grants and awards worldwide. 

In this video, hear from Tafadzwa Ufumeli about his book and workshop experience at Foundry Kigali 2019, and see Fatma Fahmy's handmade book, "Once There Was a Tram", about Alexandria's 19th century tram network.
Video from Daniel Schwartz’s class in Kigali, Rwanda during Foundry 2019.

Our guest presenters.

Our special guests give presentations and lectures on various topics to educate all Foundry participants.

Suzie Katz

Suzie Katz is a photographer, speaker, educator, producer, and is giving back to the world that has given her so much by creating and running an educational non-profit organization called PhotoWings. Their mission is to highlight and help facilitate the power of photography to influence the world. They help photography to be better understood, created, utilized, seen, and saved. Through PhotoWings, Suzie concentrates on bringing the photos, knowledge and skills gained through photography to the world across generations, cultures, and disciplines. To document and more richly utilize their legacy, PhotoWings has created, along with many innovative partners, 100’s of hours of interviews, presentations, and other educational content incorporating these ideas for replication, adaptation, or inspiration.

Frank Meo

Frank Meo has represented photographers for thirty years. His collaborations have produced hundreds of award-winning ad campaigns, art shows, provocative editorial content, and successful books. He has facilitated photographic productions with every major advertising agency and many Fortune 500 companies. He’s a sought-after moderator, portfolio reviewer, and curator as well as a passionate advocate of the photographic community through a variety of channels: Creative Business Workshop, where he addresses topics such as estimating, negotiation, client relationship building and retention, effective promotion, industry trends, and best practices; and PROJECTIONS, a monthly moderated event showcasing the talent of visionary photographers to an audience of creatives. Frank has consulted, collaborated, and curated numerous photographic books: Nancy Borowick’s “The Family Imprint: A Daughter’s Portrait of Love and Loss,” Tim Mantoni’s, “Behind Photographs,” and Bob Zahn’s “Slab City.” He has judged numerous photo competitions, including PDN Photo Contest, Sienna Photo Awards, Moscow Photography Awards, and Lucie Awards, and he’s been a nominator for the prestigious ICP Infinity Awards. He’s a popular speaker at learning institutions that include Syracuse University, New School, Parsons, ICP, SCAG, and SVA and for trade organizations that include ASMP, Eddie Adams Workshop, and APA.

For more information about instructors from previous Foundry events, please visit PhotoWings. They have photos, interviews, evening presentations, and Lessons In The Field content from each year.