Past Workshop

Masterclass with Jonas Bendiksen in Venice

Join Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen for this unique workshop in Venice, with book publisher Stuart Smith from GOST books, in collaboration with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini

Jonas Bendiksen Disciples of Vissarion at a communal lunch during a Christmas pilgrimage. Christmas for them is January 14th, Vissarion’s birthday. In 1988 the man born as Sergei Torop lost his job as a traffic po (...)
Jonas Bendiksen David Shayler meditating. David Shayler the Christ was born December 24th, 1965 in Middlesbrough, an industrial town in North East England. A former MI5 agent, he blew the whistle on the secret ser (...)
Jonas Bendiksen INRI Cristo’s disciples rolling him around on the compound grounds on his rolling pedestal. INRI (born Alvaro Theiss) takes his first name from the initials of the inscription the Romans placed on (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Disciple of Moses praying during the wedding. According to their theology, the wedding day is the starting point of the End of Days. Moses Hlongwane is known to his thirty or so disciples in South (...)
Jonas Bendiksen Moses’ driver did not have a valid license, so Moses, the King of Kings, issued his own. Moses Hlongwane is known to his thirty or so disciples in South Africa as The King of Kings, The Lord of Lor (...)

Magnum and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini are very proud to launch applications for a unique programme whereby students will participate in an immersive project development masterclass in an intimate group setting.

Led by Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen, whose recent body of work explores the mechanisms of faith, the workshop will focus on belief and ritual. Bendiksen will work with participants who want to develop photographic projects relating to these thematics.

In his latest book, The Last Testament, co-published by GOST books and Aperture, Jonas Bendiksen chronicles seven men who all publicly claim to be the biblical Messiah returned.

“I’ve always been interested in reading the Bible and other religious texts. Faith has always been a bit of a mystery to me, one that I’ve always found fascinating to explore […] People who believe in a God that takes a personal interest in humans’ lives seem to look upon the universe from a different perspective than non-believers. In a similar way, I wanted to touch and feel what a world where Christ has returned would be like.”

Co-organized by the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, and hosted in the beautiful Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the participating photographers will have the opportunity to develop their personal project and get feedback from Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen and book publisher and designer Stuart Smith.

They will also benefit from guest lectures from Magnum specialists, anthropologist of religion and photographer Manoël Pénicaud (CNRS-IDEMEC), and sociologist of religions Francesco Piraino (KU Leuven – Cini). 

Organized into intensive sessions of lectures, discussions, practical exercises, and group portfolio reviews – this workshop will help you to develop your individual project objectives and give you insight on how to edit and publish photo books. Through individual mentoring and wider discussions on the contemporary editorial environment, the masterclass will contextualize and shape the vision of each involved photographer and define the process of conceiving and executing a long-term project.

Working with the archive of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the participants will also get the opportunity to develop their editing skills during practical exercises led by the tutors. 

Jonas Bendiksen Followers of Vissarion arrive in the innermost Vissarionite village of Obitel Rassveta during a Christmas pilgrimage. For them Christmas is January 14th, the birthday of Vissarion. In 1988 the man (...)

This workshop offers:

• Practical advice and lectures from Jonas Bendiksen, Stuart Smith and guest speakers from the photo industry
• Group portfolio reviews including advice on existing work and professional development
• Magnum staff and guest guidance
• Individual project development tutoring
• Editing, designing and mentoring sessions for a coherent body of documentary work aimed at a book output
• Presentation of the work in Venice, at the Giorgio Cin Foundation
• Accommodation on the island San Giorgio Maggiore

Where & When

Giorgio Cini Foundation, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy

24, 25, 26th of September 2019, 9.30am to 5pm


The workshop will be held in English


€700 (incl. VAT) per workshop.
Terms and Conditions apply.
See the bottom of this page for more details.

The fees include 4 nights accommodation in individual room in the facilities of the Abbey, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and snacks during the workshop. The fees does not include travel.

Selection and Requirements

The workshop is open to 15 applicants and places will be allocated upon selection based on portfolio and personal statement.


This workshop is fully booked

Scholarship Opportunity

Magnum Photos and the Giorgio Cini Foundation are offering one scholarship place for a student in Art and Design, Sociology, Photography, Journalism or History. The workshop will be free of charge. The selected student will be selected by Magnum and CINI.

Please email for more information.


For enquiries relating to this project please email Coline Plançon:

Jonas Bendiksen Moses preaches to his flock during the wedding. Moses Hlongwane is known to his thirty or so disciples in South Africa as The King of Kings, The Lord of Lords, or simply: Jesus. God first told Mose (...)



Jonas Bendiksen was born in Norway in 1977. He began his career at the age of 19 as an intern at Magnum Photos’ London office, before leaving for Russia to pursue his own work as a photographer. Throughout the several years he spent there, Bendiksen photographed themes from the fringes of the former Soviet Union, a project that was published as the book Satellites (2006), as well as solo exhibitions internationally.

 In 2005 he started working on The Places We Live, a project on urban slums across the world, which combined photography, projections and voice recordings to create three-dimensional installations. This resulted in both a worldwide exhibition and book in 2008.

 His latest project, The Last Testament, about seven men who claim to be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, was released as a 460-page book in fall 2017. It is also now an exhibition travelling internationally.

 Bendiksen has received numerous awards, including the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, New York, awards from Pictures of the Year International Awards and World Press Photos, The Telenor Culture Prize and many others. 

His editorial clients include National Geographic, TIME, The Sunday Times Magazine, Le Monde, The Guardian Weekend and numerous other publications worldwide. 

Bendiksen joined Magnum Photos in 2004, and lives outside of Oslo with his wife and three children.


Stuart Smith is the director and cofounder of GOST Books, an independent visual arts and photography publisher founded in 2013. Designing since the late 80s, he established SMITH in 1994 and has become renowned for his specialisation in typography and award-winning photo books.

Terms and Conditions

• All fees must be paid on application
• Magnum Photos reserves the right to cancel groups with less than 9 participants. Students will be given a full refund. In the event of cancellation, students will be given at least 2 weeks advance notice
• Magnum Photos reserves the right to change or alter the program advertised
• For International applicants, Magnum Photos is not responsible for reimbursement of travel expenses in case the workshop is cancelled. We highly recommend that you buy refundable tickets and/or travel insurance
• Refunds to applicants who wish to cancel their place on the workshop can only be given up to 21 days in advance of the date of the workshop. After this point, refunds cannot be issued


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