JULY 16 - 22, 2023

Like the flip sides of a coin, image (shooting) and structure (editing), cannot exist without the other.

From world conflicts to massive migrations, from natural disasters to video essays on remote communities, 2019 World Press Photo Story of the Year winner Pieter Ten Hoopen layers a decade-long documentary experience directly into his teaching. A world-renowned storyteller with a camera instead of a pen, he splits the storyteller word into two parts: exactly what is the story and how best should it be told? With his clear guidance and individualized focus, students can tap into the vital necessities and surprising tactics of his unforgettable stories as inspiration for their own work.

About the workshop, Pieter writes: “It’s sure to be an invigorating week with many exciting challenges. We’ll start by exploring your earlier work through personal talks and group discussions. After some assignments to kick start everyone’s imaginations, individually tailored challenges and considerations will be introduced to enhance, expand, and strengthen your work. Whether you wish to reconsider an existing project using Paltaniemi, Kajaani, its surrounding districts and inhabitants as model sites or it’s your first foray into visual storytelling, you’ll learn how to use structure to create a more personal voice as a storyteller. And how editing—one of the most important tools in the toolbox—holds the storyline together. Be it topics like expanding subject matter to add diversity or learning how to create emotional impact and when to use it, the key will be on storytelling.”

Wrap-up Friday will be a celebration of individual achievements and collective energies through an exhibition/slide show, also open to the Paltaniemi and greater Kajaani public.


Taking distance from established forms of photojournalism, as written on the VU l’Agence website, Pieter Ten Hoopen proposes a visual form of writing that lands his work at the nexus of documentary and artistic vision: “It is the narrative form that interests me, because it is above all about telling a story. We can meet many different subjects, but each story has its own personality, its own temperament. And that means respecting the singularity of that story while offering your own vision of the subject.”

Born in the Netherlands and now living in Sweden, Pieter Ten Hoppen studied photojournalism at Sweden’s Nordens Fotoskola and has been a member of the VU’ Agency in Paris since 2008. Working both as a photographer and documentary filmmaker, Ten Hoopen has concentrated his documentaries to stories capable of penetrating beyond the headlines—from the consequences of natural disasters to history’s intractable political conflicts. Among his most extensive journeys living in the lives of others was a documentary film and photographic series shot over ten years in a small remote town in Montana called Hungry Horse. The project was screened and exhibited at the 2014 Rencontres d’Arles and nominated a year later for an Emmy Award. To destinations such as Colombia, Pakistan, Russia, Egypt, Kenya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan completed before 2015 he adds Bangladesh, Zambia, Burkina-Faso, Jordan, Colombia, and Haiti done by 2017. Ten Hoopen doesn’t look back. The list goes on. Regularly published and exhibited internationally, Pieter Ten Hoopen is the author of six monographs, and prize winner of, among other prominent accolades, the Mario Giacomelli Memorial Prize (2008) and four World Press Photo awards including the first ever, “Story of the Year” award for his series, The Migrant Caravan (2019), following on the heels of Childmothers, a tenderly revealing portrait of motherhood that was exhibited at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva in 2017.

© Pieter Ten Hoopen