Explore historic and modern Poland while you hone your photography skills.

Date: May 20-Jun 1, 2018
Levels: Intermediate, Advanced
Workshop Fee: $8100
Class Size: 8



Image Credit: ©Eva Rubinstein

Explore historic and modern Poland while you hone your photography skills. Learn how to capture the early morning and late afternoon light, and photograph at night in the medieval streets of Krakow Poland’s best-preserved city. While traveling through the countryside learn how to create dramatic landscapes, at the concentration camps learn how to photograph interiors, and in the city squares learn how to work with people creating intimate portraits.

The complicated history of Poland makes this an intriguing destination to experience and to photograph. Poland’s heritage goes back over 1,000 years, and during its golden age in the 16th century Poland was the largest nation in Europe. In 1980 with the “Solidarity” movement the country has emerged from years under communist rule to a modern Polish state.

After WW11 the cities were rebuilt, reconstructing the medieval architecture of its main squares, churches, castles and residential neighborhoods. Today modern Poland is renown for its modern architecture, such as Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews designed by the Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamaki.

Our workshop begins in Warsaw with a private tour of the National Museum’s photography department. The collection features works by Polish photographers from the 1920’s, and from the avant-garde to the present. The museum has an intriguing past. During WW11 the museum’s director and a group of employees conducted a clandestine operation to secure the museum’s works of art. The badly damaged museum was rebuilt and eventually reopened with its saved works.

Image Credit: ©Arlene Collins

Photograph the surviving buildings along the ‘memorial route’ the only remaining street in Warsaw’s ghetto, at dusk we photograph in the Jewish cemetery with its worn tombstones, and at night photograph the city from the Palace of Culture of Science rooftop.

Located within the city of Lublin is the concentration camp Majdanek one of the best-preserved camps. The camp opened in 1941, primarily for Soviet prisoners of war and was liberated by the Soviet Army in July 1944. Today, the original SS quarters, men’s bathhouse, watchtowers and barracks still exist. Photograph this authentic site! The Nazis, who rather liked the city, kept Krakow intact. Known for its medieval architecture, gothic Old Towns, and Jewish heritage Krakow provides a variety of opportunities to photograph in the chic Podgorze artistic area, and in the Jewish quarter. Today Krakow is a diverse and sophisticated city. Perfect your people photography in Rynek Glowny, Krakow’s energetic main square, hone your architecture photography photographing Wawel Hill’s elegant townhouses and home to the Royal Castle and a majestic cathedral with its ice-cream scoop domes, and in the suburb of Kazimierz the Jewish quarter and now home to a hip artistic community of cafes and art galleries.

Image Credit: © David Nicholas, Auschwitz

Enter Auschwitz (Oswiecim) under the infamous inscription ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ Work Makes You Free. Opened in 1940 Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest concentration camp, covering about 40 Sq. Kilometers, and initially served as a detention center for Polish political prisoners. It evolved into an ideal death camp locale due to its central location to German occupied countries and close proximity to the railway lines. Over 1,000,000 Jews and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state were exterminated. Late in 1944 the camp’s commandants began destroying proof what the horror, blowing up buildings and burning documents. Today, see the reconstructed barracks, watchtowers, crematoriums, gas chambers, prison blocks, memorials and museum.

Lodz pronounced “Woodge” is Poland’s third largest city, formerly a textile-manufacturing center and now a hub of art and design. We will photograph in the huge Gothic factory Manufaktura, formerly a textile factory that is now a modern center with stylish shops and restaurants, capture the street life of the fashionable Piotrkowska St., and document the Lodz Ghetto, with the Radegast Station from which more than 150,000 Jews from the Lodz Ghetto (Litzmannstadt) were deported and the sculpted monuments in the cemetery. Explore Lodz’s museums, galleries, and capture the details of the Gothic churches, and dynamic street life of this vibrant city.

Tuition note: At the time of registration, we will collect the $1500 deposit, along with a non-refundable $55 registration fee.  At that point, Arlene Collins will handle all other details, arrangements and final billing directly with you.


– Private tour of the Warsaw Museum Photography collection with the curator
– Gain confidence photographing people and street scenes in foreign cultures
– Learn how to photograph in challenging lighting situations
– Learn how to photograph landscapes, interiors and architecture
– Visit Krakow, Warsaw & Lodz main attractions
– Receive on location instruction and immediate feedback on your work


These workshops are for the serious amateur who has a working knowledge of their camera and for the professional photographer or videographer, who wants to combine advancing their photography skills with an adventurous travel experience. Participants should be highly motivated, technically self-sufficient, physically fit, and capable of navigating in foreign cultures. Participants may work with still photography or video and are encouraged to explore on their own. All workshops include on location instruction and offer unique opportunities to photograph diverse cultures, rich landscapes, and remarkable architecture. My groups are limited to 8 to 10 participants depending on the location, as this allows for a more personal photography and travel experience, and non-photographing companions are encouraged to attend. As I do with all my workshops, I work hard providing off the beaten path photography opportunities with an emphasis on participants honing their shooting skills, especially photographing at night, lighting the portrait, getting access to exceptional locations, and going where the locals socialize in cafes and parks.


Dates: May 20 – June 1, 2018
Day 1: Arrive in Warsaw (Chopin Airport) Hotel Bristol Sun.
  • Afternoon free time to rest and this evening, orientation meeting and group welcome dinner.
Day 2: Warsaw Hotel Bristol
  • Mon. May 21 – This morning our guide takes us for a walking tour of Warsaw’s memorial route’ along Umshlagplatz the only remaining street of the ghetto’s three synagogues stills standing, the Ghetto Heroes Monument unveiled in 1948 on the 5th anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising, the monument recalls the immense courage of the Jewish resistance.
  • This afternoon we visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews the museum opened Oct. 2014, and concentrates on the development of Jewish life and community, a timeline of Jewish life in the region, dating back 1000 years.
  • The Jewish cemetery, established in 1806 is one of the very few Jewish cemeteries still in use in Poland today. Scattered among the plots are the graves of eminent Polish Jews, with a striking sculptured monument to Janussz Korczak, founder of the prewar orphanage.
Day 3: Warsaw Hotel Bristol
  • Tue. May 22 – This morning we have a private tour of the National Museum’s photography department with its director Danuta Jackiewcz. Prozna, Anielewicz’s bunker memorial, Fryderyk Chopin Museum, and Visit the Opera House
  • See Castle Squarewith the Zygmunt Column, built to honor King Zygmunt 111 Wasa, who moved Poland’s capital from Krakow to Warsaw in the 17th-century.
  • Early evening we will have a private tour of the former villa of Jan Zabinski in the Warsaw Zoo. Dr. Zabinski was the director of the Warsaw Zoo before and during WW11, and upon the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Dr. & his wife started hiding Jews in his villa, and unbelievably in the Zoo. This was documented in Diae Akerman’s book, and the film The Zookeeper’s Wife.
Day 4: Warsaw Hotel Bristol
  • Wed. May 23 – This morning we drive to Lazienki Park, a favorite of the local residents and to the Palace on the Water, one of the finest examples of Neo-Classical architecture in Poland. King Stanislaw August Poniatowski converted this 17C pavilion into a palace, which has been fully restored.
  • You will have a panoramic view of the city from the Palace of Culture of Science in the name of Joseph Stalin, built in the 1950s and at 231 meters is Poland’s tallest building. The Palace’s chief architect Lev Rudnev, collaborated with a Polish team of architects, as a “gift” from Stalin, it was built in the Stalinist style. The Palace was entirely designed for public use, containing a concert hall, museums, multiplex cinemas, and bars theaters.
  • This afternoon we visit the fascinating Museum of the Warsaw Uprising, which displays all aspects of the battle as well as  everyday life in Warsaw against the background of the German Nazi occupation. More than 500 exhibit items, plus about 1,000 photographs, films and sound recordings, depict the days leading up of the fighters from Warsaw, and their ordeal after their heroic fight was over. Don’t miss the short film, City in Ruins, at the end.
Day 5: Warsaw – Lublin Hotel Alter
  • Thu. May 24 – This morning we depart for a three-hour drive to Lublin, and upon arrival hotel check-in. After lunch we visit Majdanek, originally built as a labour camp, it was re-purposed as one of the five extermination camps used during Operation Reinhard, along with Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau, among others. Unlike other camps, Majdanek, or “Little Majdan” was within the boundaries of a major city, operating in close proximity to the suburb of Majdan Tatarski that gave it its name.
  • Today, Majdanek remains the best-preserved Nazi concentration camp due to the rapid advance of the Red Army in the final months of the war and the inaction of local SS officers  in destroying evidence during their retreat. Almost immediately after the expulsion of the German Army, a museum was founded on premises, thus conserving the camp in its entirety. You are invited to explore with your guide the nearly 70 historical buildings on site, including the SS quarters, the men’s bathhouse and several barracks, converted into exhibits and memorials.
  • The barracks, guard towers, and the only remaining gas chamber that is completely intact and the long lines of (formerly) electrified doubled barbed wire remain just as they were over 50 years ago.
  • Our final stop is the gigantic circular Mausoleum that stands on the path to the crematorium. Designed by sculptor Wiktor Tolkin, this moving monument, pockmarked like it had suffered damage during the war, contains a massive urn with the ashes of some 18,000 of the innumerable victims exterminated at Majdanek. The ashes were recovered from a compost pile, mixed with dirt and refuse in preparation for spreading on the vegetable garden in the camp.
  • Majdanek 9:00 – 17:00 hours
Day 6  Lublin – Krakow Hotel Stary
  • Fri. May 25 – After breakfast we depart for a five-hour drive to Krakow, the architectural gem of Poland, and its former capital. Upon arrival hotel check-in. Lunch on route.
  • Krakow is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, its old town with the remnants of the city’s medieval walls, its Jewish quarter and market square. During WW11, the Nazis decided they rather liked Krakow, so they preserved the old city.
  • Early evening walk around the Old Town, where Gothic houses of the 13th- century burgesses still remain, although they were rebuilt and given Renaissance or neoclassical facades. We will photograph the medieval Sukiennice, ‘The Cloth Hall’ rebuilt in the 1550’s, is one of the city’s most recognizable icons. A UNESCO world heritage site the Hall was once a major international trade center and the central feature of the main market square. Originally resembling two rows of stone trading stalls with a thoroughfare running between. A roof was erected over them around 1300 before King Kazimierz the Great approved the construction of a purpose built trading hall in the mid-14th century. The name ‘Sukiennice’ refers to the trade of textile and fabrics.
Day 7  Krakow (Auschwitz) Hotel Stary
  • Sat. May 26 – Today we visit the camps of Auschwitz (Oświęcim) and Birkenau located about 1 ½ hour from Krakow. Enter Auschwitz under the infamous inscription ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ Work Makes You Free. Opened in 1940 Auschwitz-Birkenau was the largest of the concentration and death camps, covering about 40 Sq. kilometers,and initially served as a detention center for political prisoners. It evolved into a network of camps where over 1,000,000 Jews were exterminated, often in gas chambers or used as slave labour, and some were subjected to barbaric medical experiments led by Josef Mengele.
  • Auschwitz 11 or Birkenau, located in the village of Birkenau, or Brzezinka, just outside Oświęcim, was constructed  in 1941 on the order of Heinrich Himmler commander of the “Schutzstaffel” or Select Guard or SS.It had the largest population of any of the three camps, and in January 1942 the first gas chamber using lethal Zyklon B gas was built. The third camp known as Auschwitz 111, or Monowitz was predominantly used to house forced labours for the German chemical company IG Farben.
  • Today the camp includes a series of barracks – each with its own displays – from luggage, to seized personal items collected from the prisoners. Photograph the main camp gate, brick barracks, railroad tracks, barbed wire fence and guardhouses, and the site.
  • Auschwitz 7:30 – 19:00 by appointment only
Day 8: Krakow, Hotel Stary
  • Sun. May 27 – Today we photograph in suburb of ‘Kazimierz’ Krakow’s Jewish quarter with its important heritage sites and its lively revitalization of the former ghetto. Kazimierz is the home to the Old Synagogue at Szeroka 24, (mhk.pl), a striking example of the buildings that  survived the war, and to one of the most important Jewish cemeteries in Europe, the Galicia Jewish Museum, housed in a former Jewish factory, dedicated to the life the Jews lead in Galicia, todays Malopolska region of Poland, which includes the city of Krakow. Lunch on your own.
  • We then visit Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory at 4 Lipowa St. mhk.pl, on the right bank of the Wistula River in the Podgorze area, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCAK housed in the same building, Photo Museum,and the Terror Museum dedicated to the suffering of the Polish nation from 1939-1956, and is located in a former Gestapo headquarters. (B)
Day 9: Krakow, Hotel Stary
  • Mon. May 28 – Last day to photograph Krakow, photo the Jewish cemetery
  • This morning we may explore the Wieliczka Salt Mine, where we enter the subterranean world of labyrinthine passages, giant caverns, underground lakes and chapels with sculptures in the crystalline salt and rich ornamentation carved in the salt rock, an other worldly experience! This afternoon free time to photograph this historic medieval city.
Day 10: Krakow – Lodz  Andels Hotel
  • Tu. May 29 – This morning we drive to Lodz, Poland’s second largest city and the birthplace of the famous architect Daniel Libeskind, the film director Roman Polanski, and the pianist Arthur Rubinstein.
  • This afternoon we visit the Manufakura arts center, located in a former 19th-century industrial estate that belonged to textile magnate Izrael Pozanski. The district was self-sufficient originally housing the owner’s residence, factory, workers housing, church and a hospital. Today Manufaktura is located in these buildings. The Museum of the Factory details the history of Pozanski and the textile factory. The MS2 Art Museum and this evening photograph along the city’s main thoroughfare – Ulica Piotrkowska, which is Poland’s longest pedestrian street.
Day 11: Lodz Andels Hotel
  • Wed. May 30 Today we photograph in the Lodz Ghetto, the Radegast Station from where the Jews were deported, theJewish cemetery (Arthur Rubinstein) “Ghetto Field” where 43,000 Holocaust victims were from the same neighborhood ghetto ‘Lizmannstadt’.
  • This afternoon we visit the Museum of the city (AR) housed in the Palace of Poznansky, the museum features exhibitions on the communities of the Jews, Germans and Poles, and the Arthur Rubinstein Music Gallery. The Museum of Modern Art (Muzeum Sztuki) founded in 1920 by Polish avant-grade artists.
Day 12: Lodz – Warsaw Bristol Hotel
  • Thu, May 31 – Morning drive to Warsaw, after hotel check-in free time in Warsaw Evening farewell dinner.
Day 13: Depart Warsaw for home
  • Fri. June 1 – airport transfers.


The workshop fee is $8,100.00 and includes shared accommodations, all regional transportation, private touring, concentration camps and museum entrance fees, full time private English speaking guides, all breakfasts, and the first and last night dinners, all gratuities for our guides and drivers, and on site photography instruction. The single supplement charge is $1,750.00. A deposit of $1,500.00 must accompany the your Registration Form and the Liability Waiver. The final payment is due by Feb. 1, 2018.


Not included is international flights, single supplement accommodations ( see above), travel and medical evacuation insurance, visa fees, personal expenses and items, personal photography fees, and meals and beverages not indicated on the itinerary, and any optional activities.


Travel Information

No visa is required for U. S. citizens for a stay up to 90 days. You must have two blank pages in your passport.


220 to 240 volts, two round prongs

Phone & Internet

It is possible to purchase a local SIM card for your phone. Internet wireless access is available in most urban areas, airports and hotels.

Currency, Credit Cards & ATM
  • The currency is the Polish Zloty. Notes come in denominations of Zl 200,100, 50 20 & 10, and coins Zl 5, 2, & 1. ATM machines are available throughout the country, and are the least expensive method for obtaining Polish Zlotys.
  • Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted
Time Zone
  • UTC + 1, country code 48
  • Calling from the U. S dial 001 + the polish phone number

  1. Reservations & Payments

A deposit of $1,500.00 per person is required to confirm your reservation for the 2018 Poland Workshop. Final payment in full is due by Feb. 1, 2018. Arlene Collins Photography, LLC, reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the stated due date.

2. Cancellations

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark. If you cancel 90 days or more prior to departure, a refund less an administration fee of $750.00 and less any payments made to travel agents, hotels and sub-contractors will be issued. No refunds are issued if you cancel within 90 days prior to departure. For payments not refunded consult your insurance carrier. Refunds cannot be made to participants who do not complete the workshop for any reason at all.

3. Basis of Rates

All prices are quoted in US dollars. Due to unforeseen circumstances including but not limited to the rising cost of airfares, ground transportation, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations prices are subject to change. Therefore, Arlene Collins Photography, LLC reserves the right to amend trip prices or levy a surcharge on the cost of the trip without prior notice.

4. Insurance

Trip Cancellation and Baggage insurance protection andEmergency Medical Evacuation, Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection are strongly recommended. Camera equipment, computers and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk, and we accept no responsibility for lost, damaged or delayed property. Suggested travel insurance companies are CSA and AIG, Allianz travel insurancewww.allianztravelinsurance.com and for medical/air evacuation the air rescue card.

5. Itinerary Changes

The itinerary is subject to change without prior notification.

6. Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for all travels. You are required to notify Arlene Collins PhotographyLLC, under which nationality your passport is registered. Collins Photography Workshops will notify you, if your destination requires a visa for U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens are required to contact the appropriate consular office for entry requirements pertaining to their trip. Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. Your passport must have an expiration date of at least 6 months upon completion of this trip.

7. Medical Issues

All participants must be in good health. You must advise Arlene Collins Photography, LLC, prior to booking, of any health, physical, emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or adversely impact the other participants.

8. Single Travelers

Arlene Collins Photography LLC makes every effort to honor shared and single supplementary requests. However, shared accommodations cannot be guaranteed and the single supplement rate will apply, if we cannot provide accommodations.

9. Liability Waiver

Every participant is required to sign the liability waiver before the trip, acknowledging awareness and acceptance of the risks associated with the workshop and related travel.

10. Responsibility & Photography

To ensure a safe photographic experience you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations. Arlene Collins has the right to eject any person from the workshop for disruptive behavior, compromising the group’s safety, enjoyment or violating the law.

Header Image Credit: ©Eva Rubinstein

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Instructor: Arlene Collins

Arlene Collins specializes in documenting remote cultures and changing civilizations around the world. She currently produces and leads international photography workshops, offers a master photography class and topic-specific short courses in her New York City studio, lectures in the United States and abroad, and consults privately with a number of clients.