In his 2016 book The Documentary Impulse, Stuart Franklin charts the motivation to visually tell stories and represent the world far back beyond the invention of the camera, extending his focus all the way back to cave painting. From prehistory onwards, Franklin explores the genesis of photographic representation in visual culture and many of the practical and ethical issues that form the backdrop to the current landscape of the industry. More recently, in Ambiguity Revisited: Communicating with Pictures, Stuart looks at how pictures convey meaning to the spectator.

Using his photography and research as a starting point to explore your own practice, Stuart aims to help you go beyond the practicalities of technique and understand your work within the weight of this context. “Photography is as much about reaching inside yourself, your own inner core, as it is making sense of the world around us” says Franklin.

The workshop is taking place online. You will have a total of one hour of personal mentoring with Stuart and three afternoons of group critiques during which you will brainstorm ideas, receive personal assignments, practice the art of editing and sequencing, and work towards developing a visually coherent approach to your work.

You will be asked to shoot new work before each session, which will be used as a basis for receiving critical feedback.

Embark on this five-week photography workshop and explore what draws you to take photographs.

This workshop offers:

– Mentoring by Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin
– Personalised shooting assignments
– Individual portfolio reviews
– Group portfolio reviews
– Training on editing and sequencing
– A feature on the Magnum Learn Instagram channel

This workshop is for both amateur and professional photographers, and for those interested in exploring the relationship between text and image.

Deadline for applications is Sunday 8 November 2020.


Timing of the workshop will mostly be 2-6pm BST but the final time will be confirmed once we have a clear idea of which time zone each of you are based.

Week 1
Wednesday 18
Introductory lecture by Stuart Franklin
Course and participants introductions

Thursday 19 & Friday 20 November
How to start a photo story: brainstorm under the guidance of Stuart Franklin and assignments
Divided in two groups of ten.
Participants will be asked to join either on Thursday or on Friday.

Week 2
Wednesday 25, Thursday 26 & Friday 27 November
One-to-one reviews – 30 minutes per participant, on appointment
Participants are present only at the time of their appointment.

Week 3
Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 December
Group critiques, divided in two groups of 10.
Participants will be asked to join either on the Saturday or on the Sunday.

Week 4
Wednesday 9, Thursday 10 & Friday 11 December
One-to-one reviews – 30 minutes per participant, on appointment
Participants are present only at the time of their appointment.

Week 5
Thursday 17 & Friday 18 December
Editing, sequencing, presentation of each project to the group.


Magnum Photos is proud to offer one scholarship opportunity for an emerging photographer under 30 years old.
Applicants should show commitment, motivation and enthusiasm in pursuing a career in photography. We especially encourage women, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, people from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and those from the LGBTQ+ community to apply.

Applicants should be available from 18 November till 18 December.

Your application should include:
– a motivation letter explaining your interest in photography, why you want to join the course and how you would benefit from it.
– a portfolio of no more than 20 images (as jpegs or pdf)
– a recent CV including your date of birth.

Deadline to apply to the scholarship: Sunday 25 October.

Applications should be sent to Sonia Jeunet using WeTransfer.

Photography is as much about reaching inside yourself, your own inner core, as it is making sense of the world around us.

Stuart Franklin
(...) Stuart Franklin

About Your Tutor

Stuart Franklin combines a direct documentary-style with a strong personal vision. He has photographed some of the most important news events of the 21st Century as well as producing many acclaimed personal projects, exploring subjects relating to the Anthropocene. Franklin says his practice “repaints the boundaries of documentary in order to create a sense of freedom”. His core interest today is in producing work, mostly about nature-society relations, that is open to multiple interpretations.

It was in 1989 that Franklin took his acclaimed photographs in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, where a demonstration for freedom ended in a massacre. After that, he began to move away from news into magazine feature photography. Between 1990 and 2008 he photographed about twenty stories for National Geographic Magazine. During this time, Stuart decided to pursue a better theoretical understanding of some of the issues he confronted, by embarking on a period of academic study in 1995. He graduated with a first class degree in Geography from Oxford University and went on to complete his doctoral thesis there in 2001. Franklin was awarded a professorship in documentary photography in 2016.

He has been published by numerous global publications including The Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Geo, Art Magazine, Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic Magazine.

Franklin joined Magnum Photos in 1985 and has been a full member since 1989, serving as the agency’s elected president between 2006-2009.

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