Meet the New Spéos and Magnum Graduates

Meet this year’s graduates from the Creative Documentary & Photojournalism Program run by Magnum and the Spéos School of Photography in Paris

From the series "Blood, Guts, and Bubble Gum" © Rea Brayshaw

On the evening of May 9, 2023, visitors at the Magnum Gallery in Paris were greeted by a packed room of people, a buzz of noise and conversation, and a celebratory atmosphere in the air. It was the night of the exhibition opening presenting the work of the 13 photographers of this year’s Creative Documentary & Photojournalism Program

For the past 10 months, each student had taken part in a rigorous course covering all aspects of professional photography, split between the Spéos School of Photography — which has been teaching students since 1985 — and Magnum Photos. The purpose is not to teach students simply how to make photographs, but how to become professional photographers. 

This year, students were taught by a wide range of tutors and guest speakers over the two semesters, including weekly mentorships from 14 Magnum photographers in total. For one day per week, photographers such as Antoine d’Agata, Stuart Franklin, Lúa Ribeira, and more would lead sessions on developing a unique vision and voice through visual storytelling, conducting practical assignments and sharing their personal experience and expertise through a series of workshops. 

Complimenting the mentorships from the photographers themselves were a number of lectures from external organizations and NGOs such as Action Contre la Faim, as well as specialists in commercial, editorial, and cultural projects from Magnum — designed to give a real 360 approach to the creative documentary and photojournalism industry today. 

Throughout the second semester, students worked on developing a personal project under the guidance of the Magnum photographers, from brainstorming ideas to a finalized project. The exhibition in May — curated by Michael Sargeant, who leads Magnum’s digital projects and ecommerce team, —was one of two which presented these final projects to the public. 

Below, we share a selection of images from the 13 projects of the 13 photographers, alongside their project statements, written by the students themselves.

Karim Tebache: Amateurs 

The project Amateurs follows Mixed Martial Arts fighters in Paris through training and their first amateur fights. It delves into the physicality and vulnerability dictated by the fighting process, in a sport where fights take place inside a fence built for the athletes’ safety, but that promoters and fighters readily call a “cage.”


Mixed Martial Arts fighters embrace after a fight. Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 2023. © Karim Tebache

Rea Brayshaw: Blood, Guts, and Bubble Gum

There is a world that exists in the fine line between fantasy and reality, life and death, the beautiful and the grotesque.  Few exist in this purgatory, and their ways are yet to be understood.  Among these witches, wizards, and sorcerers there are those who can stop time and grant immortality.  They go by the name of “taxidermists.”


© Rea Brayshaw

José Minor: Luz en la Sombra (The Light in the Shadow)

The street, the hotel and my room.
Independent and hard-to-swallow stories that inhabit the same present and space
“What seems distant is closer than we think”

A blossoming arises when there is a type of will, a motive
…it does not come “suddenly,” the wound is visited with pain and the memory is fed with vice

 LOOK STRAIGHT and face the wall itself

Witnessing an apparently broken space and lost in one’s own mental labyrinth, falling into carelessness, needing a break,

 Deep breath, LOOK STRAIGHT

 a mirror is created

Outside in and inside out, noise is heard in the silence
 it is the search for integration, light entering through the cracks in the wall

“The light in the shadow”

Planted on the ground and relaxed, I look at myself from the front, and in that expansion is where I lightened my weight.
a bloom arises


© José Minor

Ines Caballero: Les enfants Talibés du Sénégal

In Senegal, Quran schools (known as Daaras) are becoming increasingly popular. Pupils, known as “talibé children,” are placed there by their families from an early age to receive a religious education. This tradition, deeply rooted in West Africa, is aimed at memorizing all the verses of the Quran. The teacher is a highly respected figure known as a “Marabout” or “Quranic Master.”

Daraas used to be found at the very heart of rural communities and were pillars of local society. With successive economic crises and the poverty of remote regions, these traditional teaching structures have moved to urban areas, leading to a proliferation of “false marabouts,” more motivated by personal enrichment than by educating children.

While some marabouts still offer appropriate support that respects children’s rights, others abuse their influence to exploit talibé children, forcing them into begging — which is forbidden in Senegal — and into precarious living conditions. Malnutrition, disease, violence and humiliation become their daily lot.

In the absence of official statistics, it is estimated that there are almost 200,000 talibés in Senegal, according to a map drawn up by the NGO Global Solidarity Initiative.


A talibé in front of a blackboard at a daara in Dakar translates specific Arabic words into Wolof, one of the languages spoken in Senegal. He recites aloud negative terms, bad behavior or bad acts (...)

Asavari Gujral: After Dark

This two-year documentary project is a story about Stalingrad, a neighborhood on the border between the 19th and 10th arrondissements in Paris. The area has a reputation for being a rough neighborhood with a high crime rate and illegal activities.  I’ve focused on the residents in their daily life and the environment of this area. 


© Asavari Gujral

Flavio Francesco Dario: Alla Deriva

The ​​Tremiti Islands in Italy are experiencing depopulation and decay, resulting in a sense of melancholy, nostalgia, peace and relief. I focused on conveying the emotional weight of the stories of the locals and the current state of the place, while also highlighting the resilience and hope of the community that calls these islands “home.” This is where landscape and documentary photography converge in portraying a sense of place and atmosphere.


The Interior of one of the rooms in the ecclesiastical complex of San Nicola Island. Tremiti Islands, Apulia, Italy. © Flavio Francesco Dario

Huseyin Abdik: In Between

Assyrians lived between Euphrates and Tigris, also known as the “fertile crescent.” They were the first followers of Jesus Christ. Their descendants were living in modern-day Turkey, Iraq, and Syria. Assyrians today celebrate 6762 years on an “Akitu” day in Duhok, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. I covered these celebrations, held annually on April 1. They gather from all around the world to celebrate their new year in their ancestral lands. There are still Assyrians living in this area who are trying to keep their culture alive, along with their identity and religion. They have their political party in the Kurdish Parliament and their brigade in the Pesmarga force. They are still practicing Christianity (and keeping the heritage of their first Christian ancestors). What pulls me into this subject is their resilience and will to maintain their tradition and identity alive despite the hardships they’ve endured in the past centuries.


© Huseyin Abdik

Manu Gim: The Reconciliation Bridge

The Reconciliation Bridge is a visual documentation of explorations:

  • a physical expedition to the ancient Roman aqueduct bridge of Pont du Gard and its surrounding vestiges in the South of France;
  • an emotional and mental foray into horizons, lights, and time as a photographic language; and
  • a spiritual reconciliation of my past self as a student of art history and present self as a photographer, in the same manner as a photograph merges the past and the present into a single frame.

The images are presented in a strictly geographical sequence, channeling the flow of the water as it would have traveled two millennia ago. This project is envisioned as the genesis of a visual catalog of the entire 50 km of the aqueduct.


© Manu Gim

B Godwin: Behind Closed Doors

This is a view behind closed doors in a middle-class American suburb during a raging drug epidemic, a family portrait of generational trauma and addiction over a 34-year period. In 2020, 93,655 people died of drug overdoses in the United States, more than in any other one-year period in history. That same year my sister died from drug and alcohol use. My mother is an opioid addict and will predictably be part of the overdose statistics for 2023. My family, the same as millions of other families, are nameless casualties of this ongoing public health crisis. 

This is our story.


© B Goodwin

Sergi Llanas: Tacones de hierro (Iron Heels) 

Tacones de hierro is the portrait of the resistance that sex professionals exert against institutional, xenophobic and transphobic violence in large European cities like Barcelona and Paris. There are many transgender women, especially sex workers, who suffer violence and exclusion in Latin American countries, where life expectancy is much lower than average due to the risk of living intolerantly. Susana, Xiomara, Claudia and Sofía moved to Barcelona and Paris in search of better opportunities.

Thus, Tacones de hierro is a visual journey through the realities of Susana, Xiomara, Sofía and Claudia, which far from paternalistic dynamics, has no other reason than to show something that is there, that exists.

Seizing their speech is a mechanism used by institutions and social privilege to make them vulnerable to a system that wants them excluded. Prohibitionism and abolitionism, far from protecting their rights, relegate their activity to secrecy. This is the image of how they empower themselves and their profession.

In gratitude to Susana, for her friendship and hospitality. To Xiomara, for her love and trust. To Sofía, for giving meaning to this project. And to Claudia, for her honest stories. Thank you for the rebellion, solidarity and affection.


© Sergi Llanas

Daniil Kobizskiy: .raw

This project is a raw glimpse of someone’s life. Someone who left Russia. Raw” in the Oxford dictionary, in terms of:

  1. Food: not cooked 
  2. Materials: in its natural state; not yet changed, used, or made into something else
  3. Information: not yet organised into a form in which it can be easily used or understood
  4. Emotions: powerful and natural
  5. Part of body: red and painful because the skin has been damaged
  6. Person: new to a job or an activity, and therefore without experience or skill



© Daniil Kobizskiy

Jodhi Mater-Pike: Look Into My Eyes

Look Into My Eyes is an ongoing documentary project examining the intimacy and companionship between people and love dolls. The people photographed live with their dolls in a similar fashion to what we would see in conventional couples — domestic, sexual and romantic scenes play out. The approach to connecting with a love doll is likely familiar to us. We may have spent long hours in childhood creating the lives of our action figures, pets, and dolls. Life is breathed into them as we imagine their personality, speak with them, act out scenarios and create memories together. These objects become the personification of different parts of ourselves, our desires and the attachment we long for with others. This story is about a group of people seeking to create a source for the things that they long for. More importantly, it demonstrates the ubiquitous and foundational needs of intimacy, connection and feeling understood.


A doll named Elizabeth stands against a cabinet in Anthony's bedroom in England. © Jodhi Mater-Pike

Virginia Morini: 1103 – visioni dalla collina / visions from the hill

Tredozio counts 1103 inhabitants, while only 20 years ago counted 10 times more. It is located up in the hills of the Appennino Tosco Romagnolo, with no train station to reach it. Tredozio was the homeland of my ancestors, now the village for me is an old woman, it is me, it is all of us with every filthy aspect of our existence, it is the archetype of human beings. The village is the theater of life and all its inhabitants are the characters we all play in our own story.

“They run around in circles. Perfect appendages of Christ.
He made a promise
If you keep living on the hill you will be saved
When you are here nothing bad can happen
The place that god preserved from evil
When you are here the wolf won’t chase you
When you are here the hunter won’t kill the wolf
As long as you can tell who is who
On the hill the creatures have no shades
The danger lays in the belief
Souls project no shadows
Who will protect who?”


© Virginia Morini

Submissions are still open for the next academic year of the Creative Documentary and Photojournalism Program in Paris. Classes begin in September 2023.

Find out more details and watch the online Open Day here.

Stay in touch
Monthly updates on the latest assignments, photographer projects and collaborations with brands.
Know when our quarterly 7-day square print sale is coming.
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Be the first to know about recent Magnum Shop drops. From new books and limited editions, to special offers, you can find it all on the weekly Magnum Shop newsletter.
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.