CRITICAE 2023/24 / Online Masterclass On Documentary Photography 3rd Edition - PhMuseum

Criticae 2023/24

Masterclass On Documentary Photography 3rd Edition

From October
to May 2024


17 seats
+1 scholarship


  • Fee


  • Deadline

    09 June

Activate Your Practice

Photography is a powerful medium for disseminating stories and ideas, and providing a space for urgent reflection on the world and a means for self-examination. Yet how can we define a shared sense of realism in a hyper-individual and confusing era of post-truth and fake news, in which there is no longer a consensus about what is real, half-truth, fiction, or entertainment? How do we narrate stories that are "ours" to tell and how do we define our relationship with the medium in an era where everyone is empowered to tell their own story with a camera?

The masterclass joins the experience of the past years into a unique program that explores the relationship between personal and critical methods. Led by international renown practitioners Laura El-Tantawy and Max Pinckers, participants will delve into different modes of storytelling, questioning the documentary aspect of photography and its various media.

The program will be conducted online over the course of 8 months. Its goal is to lead you to complete a personal project and acquire valuable skills. The course departs from the documentary’s inherent ‘twofoldness’ while will let you explore the collaborative and idiosyncratic, philosophical and intuitive, emotional and analytical. Alternating collective and individual meetings, you will define your relationship with the medium and develop critical documentary strategies.

At the end of the masterclass, one or more participants will be selected for an exhibition at the PhMuseum Lab - a real chance to present your work in a public venue and get international exposure. To participate, simply fill in the form with your personal details, share a link to your portfolio and apply for free. If your candidacy is successful, we guide you to enroll in the program.

How it works

  • Group Classes and Seminars

    With 8 online group classes and 6 seminars, Laura El-Tantawy and Max Pinckers will share their experience and working methods related to contemporary photography, guiding you in developing your project and introducing you to the theoretical frameworks for both critical and personal documentary strategies.

  • One-to-one

    You will have a total of 4 online 30-min individual sessions: 2 with Laura El-Tantawy and 2 with Max Pinckers. In these private meetings, you will have time to engage in specific discussions aimed at working on your assignment ideas and improving your methods. Sessions are tailor-made according to your specific needs and that of your practice.

  • Studio

    To grant you industry insight and offer complementary information, we have invited expert practitioners to host 12 interactive studio visits. They will disclose the methodologies behind their work and offer you a better understanding of their role in the industry. Scroll down to discover who they are. These sessions will also be joined by Folio and Mediae Masterclasses participants.

  • Final Presentation and Exhibition

    At the end of the program, you can present your projects live on PhMuseum's Youtube channel. Moreover, one or more photographers will exhibit at PhMuseum Lab, our headquarters in Bologna, Italy. All participants will further benefit from dissemination opportunities through PhMuseum channels.

Head Professors

Combining group sessions with individual ones, Laura El-Tantawy an Max Pinckers will share their expertise and methods, guiding you in the development of your project. You will be introduced to theoretical and practical strategies of documentary making in the form of tailor-made feedback with the aim of completing your work along with potential presentation formats. Moreover, at the end of the masterclass, Laura, Max and the PhMuseum team will offer an exhibition at the PhMuseum Lab (Bologna, Italy) to one or more participants. An opportunity for international exposure and a chance to present your work in a public venue.

Studio visits

We grant you behind the scene access to 12 renowned practitioners to provide you with industry perspective and related information. A way to enrich your experience and get relevant insights. Each interactive session comprises a presentation plus an open Q&A session to facilitate interaction. Info about other guest speakers soon.


Why participate?

  • Acquire
    practical skills

    Get first-hand experience with international photographers like Laura El-Tantawy and Max Pinckers, enhancing your theoretical and practical approach to both critical documentary photography and personal narratives.

  • Flexibility

    Enroll from anywhere in the world, taking the opportunity to engage in a program you can attend while working or traveling. All the group sessions and studio visits are recorded so you can follow them if you missed them.

  • Exhibit
    your work

    At the end of the masterclass, all the participants will have completed their projects, ready to present in a final form. Plus, one or more participants will exhibit their projects at the PhMuseum Lab in 2024.

  • Inclusivity

    Enjoy a high-end program at our launching price, one of the most competitive on the market. If you don’t have the resources, you can also apply for 1 fully-funded scholarship.

  • Expand
    your network

    Engage with a selected group of peers and professionals from around the world, who can become a resource for you now and in the future. Get to know the PhMuseum team and promote your work through our channels and connections.

How to enroll

Just click on apply now and send us your portfolio. All the applications will be reviewed by PhMuseum Team. What we will consider is the potential of your ongoing project, the strength of your ideas and the coherence of your portfolio. If your application is successful, you will then be able to enroll in the program.

Participation fees & deadlines

Scholarship before 19 May - If you apply by this date, you are eligible for the full scholarship. Please send a motivational paragraph that addresses why you need it and how you can benefit from attending the program.

Early Bird Fee before 19 May - If you apply by this date, you can save €350. All applications submitted for the scholarship will be automatically eligible for the Early Bird Fee of €1650.

Regular Fee before 09 June - If you apply by this date, you can join the program by paying the Regular Fee of €2,000. The seats are limited, so we recommend you avoid waiting until the last day.

If you are offered a place, PhMuseum is happy to write you a supporting letter when you try to secure any external funding opportunities. In previous editions of our masterclasses program, the candidates' fees were covered thanks to the generous contribution of the IWMF Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists, and other programs.

Technical details

All the online classes are held on Google Meet. We will grant you a specific link each time and you’ll need to connect at least 10 minutes before. A stable internet connection and a quiet environment are recommended. You will also require a free Google account to access Google Drive, we can help with this during enrollment.

Want to know more?

Drop us a line at

Our Alumni

Discover below the work of the 22 photographers who attended the previous editions of the PhMuseum Documentary Photography Masterclass.