The Foundry Photojournalism Workshop has been training young and emerging photojournalists around the globe annually since 2008, when it’s first workshop kicked off in Mexico City.
Since then, workshops have been held in Manali, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Chiang Mai, Sarajevo, Antigua, Bali, Cape Town, back in Mexico City, and Kolkata.
Fast forward eleven years and this year Foundry Photojournalism Workshop has returned to Africa (Rwanda) and entered a new chapter under the leadership of The VII Academy, the educational arm of The VII Foundation. Photojournalist Ron Haviv is at the helm.
The vision, though, has remained the same: a tuition-free workshop lead by photographers from the region where the workshop is held and from abroad, who bring with them a commitment to a better future through responsible visual journalism. Its mission, from the start, was to reach photographers in Majority World countries that couldn’t afford to attend traditional workshops. (The teachers and staff volunteer their time.) Each year, the VII Academy and PhotoWings will offer more scholarships to students. “The energy at Foundry, of giving back to the next generation, creates an incredible learning environment for both students and educators,” says Ron Haviv.
PhotoWings is a nonprofit organization dedicated to utilizing the power of photography to further deep thinking, communication, and action.
This year’s workshop was in Kigali, Rwanda and among this year’s instructors were Sarah Waiswa, Daniel Schwartz, Krisanne Johnson, Andrew Esiebo, Edward Echwalu, Nichole Sobecki and Marielle Furrer. They lead workshops on everything from engaged storytelling to authorship and bookmaking.
Students are required to arrive at the workshop with story ideas to develop during the course of the week. The work produced is then critiqued with personal and collective feedback. Each instructor gives a presentation, but the majority of the students’ time is spent on their own body of work; they’re out shooting or putting it together or gathering with their class to share and critique each others’ work and to discuss problems they may face. At the end of the week, all stories are edited down to twelve images for the final evening of the workshop.
Sarah Waiswa—one of this year’s instructors—said that the “stories created by the students were varied, and ranged from the [Rwandan] genocide, to shedding light on women playing powerful roles in their communities, to the Kigali Party scene.” After the workshop, some of the final work was exhibited in Kigali, and also appeared on @everydayafrica. Some of the students have gone on to either win or be shortlisted for grants, or to get into major university programs.
Ron Haviv highlighted the work of three students who went the extra mile.
Bizimana, from Rwanda, was first introduced to photography at the age of 8 by the organization Through the Eyes of Children. He was living in an orphanage, having lost his parents to the Rwandan genocide. Bizimana’s work focuses on the next generation of Rwandans and “how to shine a light on the problems they face in their everyday lives.” He is also teaching photography along with fellow orphans Gadi and Mussa. Together they are known as the Camera Kids and are the subject of an upcoming documentary. Bizimana was awarded the Golden Scarf award for his selfless contributions to his fellow classmates at the workshop. The story he produced explored the idea of motherhood in a very personal way.
Fatma Fahmy, from Egypt, is a rising photographer working in a country where journalism is under attack. Based in the conservative city of Alexandria, she created a historic document about the life of the tram and its role in the city. During Foundry she created a book dummy of her work. After Foundry, Fahmy was awarded the Daniele Tamagni Grant to attend the Market Photo Workshop in South Africa.
Dieudonne Driole, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a photographer living and working for a variety of clients in a war zone. He works to tell the story of what is happening to his people. As a father, he is greatly concerned with the future of Congo and wants his work to raise awareness of the constant issues that affect daily life around him. Having never received formal training as a photographer, he felt it necessary to attend Foundry. In order to reach quality internet to upload his application he needed to cross several militia lines, putting himself in jeopardy. UN forces arrested him before then helping him to safety. When he arrived at the DR Congo and Rwanda border an outbreak of Ebola started. Foundry had to get a Rwandan government official to bring him across to attend the workshop. Dieudonne was given an award as the photographer with the most perseverance.
Next year’s Foundry Photojournalism Workshop is in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Keep an eye on their website for details.