Get an insider's perspective on the culture of Crete while refining your documentary skills

© Stella JohnsonThis workshop is for photographers who want to make images in the humanistic genre with an artistic slant for a personal body of work on Crete. Greek-American Stella Johnson has spent the last 3 years photographing and teaching workshops in Crete and has made invaluable contacts for her students.

Participants in the Crete Documentary Workshop learn how to approach the local baker or the women drinking coffee with their neighbors on their stoops. Stella helps students begin a documentary project with a family of farmers or fishermen and demonstrates how to make intimate, well-crafted photographs that grab the viewer while capturing the essence of the subject. The goal is to learn how to make contact and to follow through with one subject. Stella teaches how to develop a personal style of shooting, see and use all sources of light, abstract the details and make strong compositions. She assists students in determining and defining their interests and ideas while learning how to shoot compelling images that tell a story.

The class works with Greek teaching assistants who photograph with the group and act as translators and guides. This adds to the experience of getting an insider’s perspective of the culture, which is incredibly helpful and illuminating.  

The class takes a historical look at photographic documentary traditions and major practitioners. Participants are out each day photographing an area, a segment of the culture or a person, depending on individual documentary interests. Stella meets privately and in class for daily critique as she reviews images, shares her professional experiences working on stories in remote destinations and explores what it takes to develop the strong relationships necessary to work on long term projects.  

Who Should Attend

This workshop is for slightly less-experienced photographers and amateurs who want to hone their eye and jump-start a documentary project. 

ALL STUDENTS MUST be knowledgeable about their camera gear, digital work-flow and able to solve technical problems in the field. 

ALL PARTICIPANTS must be experienced and savvy travelers, used to dealing with the intricacies of bureaucracy, transportation and technical SNAFUs. 


This is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son or daughter or partner. Non-photographic companions may join the group sessions and meals but are not involved in the critique or review sessions. Companion supplement is $150. 


Plan to arrive in Chania by Sunday, May 31.  The workshop begins that evening with a group dinner and introductions. The first day of classes is Monday, June 1. 


The workshop ends Saturday, June 6 with a group dinner and presentation of all participants’ work. Departure is the following day, or you can remain on to explore more of Crete. 


This workshop is conducted using digital cameras. If you wish to shoot film, you may so do, but we suggest that you take it home for processing. 

What to Bring

Besides your SLR and Point-and-Shoot digital cameras, bring a body of your creative work with you to share—a portfolio or CD of images. Bring a notebook or journal, a small tape recorder or iPod with mic to record the discussions along with ambient music and sound effects. 

Camera Gear

Digital SLR and Point-and-Shoot digital cameras are suggested. Two bodies are recommended, along with lenses from 28mm to 50 mm. Bring at least 5 extra cards (1 Gg each), extra batteries, battery charger and a laptop with image management software. Make sure you have a back-up system on which to download each day’s work. This can be your laptop or a storage device, similar to Expon’s P-3000 or LaCie. 

You may shoot traditional film, but plan on taking it home for processing. 

Research and preparation

Research and preparation are important parts of any adventure. The more research done before the workshop, the more effective the time in country.  


The Porto del Colombo Hotel is highly recommended. 

Stella recommends, stays at and conducts class at the Kasteli Studios  for a less expensive alternative. 

You will find hotels listed and described at   


The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop. Lunch and dinners are organized at various restaurants, or students may find themselves dining with a local family or at a tavern in a small village while photographing in the field. Expect to be paying approximately $50 a day on meals. 


It will be warm in June, but not hot. Evenings may be cool. Bring good walking shoes as there will be lots of tramping around. Bring a hat, sun block and a rain poncho. 

Additional Travel Information

Getting to Crete is fairly straightforward. Flights from JFK to Crete depart daily, with stops in Madrid and Athens before reaching Crete the next afternoon. Visas are not required, but valid passports are.

Visit the ThinkTank web site for tips on traveling with camera gear internationally. and log on to read the informative tips from leading photographers as they travel the world with gear.

Terms and Conditions for Destinations Workshops

1. Reservations & Payments

A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop.  Final payment in full is due 45 days prior  to the date of departure for your workshop.  Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.

2. Cancellations

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark, or upon receipt of an email providing notice of cancellation. If you provide written notice of cancellation  60 days or more prior to the departure date for your workshop, your deposit, and any additional payment, will be refunded in full, less an administration fee of $55.00. If you provide written notice of cancellation less than 60 days prior to the departure date for your workshop, your full deposit will be forfeited; any additional funds paid to Maine Media for the workshop will be refunded.  No refunds of any amount will be made to persons who (i) fail to provide written notice of cancellation, or who (ii) begin a workshop, but fail to complete the workshop.

3. Basis of Rates

All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

4. Insurance

It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries or illnesses.

5. Itinerary Changes

The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.

6.  Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for all travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered. If you are a U.S. citizen, Maine Media will notify you if your destination requires a visa.  Non-U.S. citizens are required to contact the appropriate consular office for entry requirements for their workshop. Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.

7. Medical Issues

All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.

8. Liability Waiver

Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.   Click here to download.

9. Responsibility & Photography

To ensure a safe photographic experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive; or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop. 

Sign and Return Waiver Form


© Stella Johnson

Course Dates

This course is not offered at this time.
Check our full workshop listing for other alternatives.

Please email us or call 1-877-577-7700 with any questions.



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