Call for applications: Documentary Photography Training in Kazakhstan








NOOR Foundation and Soros Foundation Kazakhstan are pleased to invite Kazakhstani photographers to apply for a free-of-cost, intensive training in documentary photography and visual storytelling led by NOOR photographers Tanya Habjouqa (US/Jordan) and Sebastián Liste (ES).


As visual storytellers – documentary photographers create, select, combine, sequence and present their photographs to craft them into visual narratives. These visual narratives use photographs, captions, text and supporting media to bring attention to and communicate important stories for a broader public to engage with. This training program is a unique opportunity to learn and develop the skills, tools and commitment needed to produce impactful visual storytelling.


During the intensive training, ten participants will have the opportunity to cover a social-interest photo story under the guidance of NOOR photographers and NOOR Education alumni. In an intimate and interactive environment, the program will impart skills, tools and ethical principles to aspiring visual storytellers to conceptualize, produce, photography, edit and present their own photo stories.


Participants will be coached and mentored while they work on their own photo stories in the field and then come together with Tanya and Sebastián in Almaty to work to refine, edit and present their work.


We encourage all young Kazakhstani photographers with an interest documentary photography, photojournalism, visual journalism and visual storytelling to apply.


This program is also made possible through the generous support of Soros Foundation Kazakhstanand Open Society Foundation’s Documentary Photography Project, with additional support from Nikon Kazakhstan and through partnership with MediaNet.





Tanya Habjouqa (US / Jordan, 1975) is a documentary photographer specializing in gender, social, and human rights issues in the Middle East. She approaches her subjects with sensitivity and an eye for the absurd. She is the author of Occupied Pleasures, heralded by TIME magazine and the Smithsonian as one of the best photo books of 2015 (winning a World Press Photo award in 2014). She was the recipient of the Magnum Foundation 2013 Emergency Fund, and mentors grantees from across the Arab region for their “Arab Photographer Documentary Fund” with the Prince Claus Foundation and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture. Tanya is a founding member of Rawiya, the first all female photo collective of the Middle East. She lectures ‘Narrative/ National Identity in Photography’ at Al Quds Bard University.


Sebastián Liste (Spain, 1985) is a documentary photographer and sociologist devoted to documenting the profound cultural changes and contemporary issues in Latin America and the Mediterranean area. In 2010, while getting his Masters degree in Documentary Photography in Barcelona, he won the Ian Parry Scholarship for his project “Urban Quilombo” and was named young editorial photographer of the year at the Lucie Awards. In 2011 Sebastián was selected for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass. In 2012 he was announced as the Young Reporter of the Year at Visa pour l’Image festival. He was the recipient of the Magnum EF Grant, the Getty Editorial Grant and the Alexia Foundation Grant. He also received the Fotopres grant in Spain to develop a project in Venezuela, and a World Press Photo prize in 2016 for his story “Citizen Journalism in Brazil’s Favelas”. Sebastián Liste is currently based between Spain and Brazil.




Timur Karpov (UZ, Nikon NOOR Saint Petersburg Masterclass alumnus)


Timur Karpov (1990) is Uzbekistan-based documentary photographer. He started to develop his photography talent at age 14. After receiving an Honorary Mention in UNEP International Photography Awards in 2005, photography become Timur’s lifetime passion. His professional career as a freelance photojournalist started in 2008 when he was inspired by NOOR photographer Yuri Kozyrev during the Nikon NOOR Masterclass in St. Petersburg, Russia. From that time, Timur started to work as a stringer for Associated Press and Reuters. An absence of media and the political restrictions of Uzbekistan (whose politics do not accept any criticism and where such criticism can cost a sentence in a prison), opened an opportunity for Timur to develop himself also as a visual multimedia artist, producing video installations for independent theatre performances and commercial videos. In 2012 Timur moved to Moscow to work as a photo editor for Russian news media where for almost three years he worked with top media professionals. In 2015 Timur started to cover social injustice in Uzbekistan, including covering forced labor and cotton slavery.


Elyor Nematov (UZ/KG, Nikon NOOR Almaty Masterclass alumnus)


Elyor Nematov, was born in Bukhara, Uzbekistan and currently works as a freelance photojournalist, along with conducting documentary photography workshops that train students to produce stories relevant to Central Asia. Previously, he worked as photo editor, photographer and reporter for magazines in Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Elyor has participated in many national and international exhibitions. His first personal project and book ‘Children of Bukhara’ was presented in Tashkent in 2008. In 2012, Elyor received a grant from the Open Society Foundation’s Documentary Photography Project and started his project, ‘I AM A FOREIGNER’ on labor migration from Central Asia with mentorship from Yuri Kozyrev. In 2013 Elyor was a finalist for OSI Foundation’s Audience Engagement Grant. In 2014-2015 he was a Getty Images Reportage Emerging Talent, becoming a contributor for Getty Images in 2015. The same year, he published his project, ‘Father Comes Tomorrow,’ the second chapter of his work on labor migration from Central Asia to Russia. In 2016 Elyor was commissioned by UNwomen for his documentary project ‘Women’s Nature’, covering gender equality and women’s right in Kyrgyzstan. He also launched a new project called Unbreakable Waves in California, USA.


Daria Tuminas (RU, Nikon NOOR Saint Petersburg Masterclass alumna)


Daria Tuminas is a freelance researcher, photographer, and a curator. In 2011, Tuminas graduated from Leiden University’s MA program Film and Photographic Studies with a thesis questioning narrative in photography. In 2012-2014, she was co-organizing a yearly program ‘Dutch Photography Experience’ which included a series of educational events in St. Petersburg as well as an exhibition on Dutch photobooks ‘Undercover’ at the Museum of Contemporary art. The show got a silver prize at European Design Award. In 2014 Daria continued with the next photobook related project – ‘Reading a Photobook’, taking place at the Gallery of Printing in St. Petersburg and consisting of an exhibition, an educational program and a competition on photobook review writing. In 2017,  she was a guest editor of The PhotoBook Review (Aperture) issue No 12. Currently she is woking on organising Unseen Book Market, writes for a number of media and teaches photography related courses at Webster University Leiden and FotoFactory Amsterdam.




Key Dates




Workshop: 12-15 October 2017

Working period & online sessions: August – September 2017

Deadline to apply: 2 July  2017, 23:59 CET

Notification of selection: 21 July 2017


August – September 2017: Working Period


Selected participants are coached and mentored by NOOR photographers, alumni and education team while they work on and shoot their own photo stories:


  • 1 August 2017 (in Almaty or online)

Soros Foundation Kazakhstan introduces their field of work on important social, environmental and health issues in Kazakhstan. This can be inspiration or a starting-off point for participants to choose or further develop the topic for the photo story they will shoot before October. 


  • 3 August (online)

Online tutorial from tutors Tanya and Sebastián on documentary story concepts and planning for work in the field. The tutors will advise participants on important considerations and steps for moving forward with a photo story. 


  • 10 August (online)

Online brainstorm and coaching session between participants and NOOR alumni coaches during which participants’ story ideas are discussed and refined.


  • August – September (in the field and online)

Participants shoot on their story and can reach out to their coach for advice.


  • 10 September (online) 

Participants send their stories to Tanya and Sebastián for review and receive feedback from these tutors to move forward in their final month of shooting and refining their stories. 


12-15 October, Almaty: Workshop


Participants and tutors come together in Almaty to work on editing and presenting participants’ visual stories. During the four-day workshop the participants can look forward to intensive communication and exchange with NOOR photographers and their peers in the form of tutor presentations, one on one reviews, group review and editing sessions. 



© Maarten de Kok, Nikon NOOR Academy Workshop in Amsterdam






This program is free of charge and includes daily lunch and a welcome dinner during the workshop in Almaty. For participants residing outside of Almaty, return travel and accommodation in Almaty is also covered.




  • Basic experience in photography (especially photojournalism and documentary photography)
  • English or Russian fluency (the workshop will be conducted in English with translation to Russian)
  • Good technical understanding of your camera equipment




  1. Complete the Application Form, including your motivation (200 words maximum), relevant work experience (200 words maximum), relevant education experience (200 words maximum) & one to three photo story ideas (200 words maximum)
  2. The form will also prompt you to submit an image portfolio which must be submitted as a PDF and include the following:
    • At least one photo story (minimum 8 images, maximum 20 images)
    • No more than 8 single images (images which are not part of a photo story)
    • All images should be accompanied by a short caption including the date the photo was made
    • For any photo story, please include a title and short introduction

     For questions please contact:


    Soros Foundation Kazakhstan

    Aliya Sharipbayeva

    Media Program Coordinator

    Mob.: +7 8  771  990 7475

    Tel.:  +7 727 2503 811, 258 89 83 (#107)



    NOOR Education

    +31 20 6060 780