Begin your documentary project.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

The economics of documentary photography may be in dire straits, but it is an important artistic and social mode of working, especially in our complicated contemporary culture.

In this workshop we will examine artists that have laid the foundation for contemporary American documentary photography and discuss methodologies to build upon this artistic canon. Students will be expected to find and begin their own documentary project, and we will discuss image selection and sequence as a group.


  • The Approach: how to meet a stranger, build trust and engage them creatively. How to pitch a project to a publication.
  • Projecting Representations: who controls the image, the photographer or the person depicted? What are advantages/disadvantages to either approach?
  • Technical Decisions: what sort of equipment is best suited for your aesthetic, intent and approach? How does the way you use light affect the reading of the photograph?
  • The Two-Way Street: the course is structured around giving prints back to the people you photograph, so we are not involved in “taking” as much as we are “making” in collaboration with those we photograph.
  • Engagement: how to engage with the people you are photographing, and afterwards, engage your intended audience.

The class explores different visual and conceptual approaches that can be applied to portrait photography within an editorial and fine art documentary context. It will focus on utilizing natural light, identifying, approaching, and creating strong images of strangers.

All image credit ©Matt Eich

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Instructor: Matt Eich

Matt Eich is a photographic essayist working on long-form projects related to memory, family, community, and the American condition. Matt's projects have received support from an Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer's Fellowship, a VMFA Professional Visual Arts Fellowship, and two Getty Images Grants for Editorial Photography. He is the author of three monographs. Eich was an artist in residence at Light Work in 2013 and is invited to a Robert Rauschenberg Residency in 2019. He has taught photography at Syracuse University, The George Washington University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Matt accepts commissions and resides in Charlottesville, Virginia with his family.