highlights from noor-nikon masterclass in belgrade: on working in the field

Throughout the workshop week, NOOR photographers and the Masterclass participants tackled the learning goals laid out in the first day through one on one portfolio reviews, group editing sessions, diverse presentations and lots of great discussions that continued through all hours of the days and nights. Some highlights compiled by NOOR’s Associate Editor, Asmara Pelupessy:


Masterclass participants and NOOR team outside of our home base for the week - the workshop venue UK Parobrod.




NOOR photographer Andrea Bruce presented some of the work she shot on assignment for The New York Times.


Kadir van Lohuizen and participants listen as Andrea Bruce talks about a recent assignment shot for The New York Times.



To become a regular contributor for a major publication such as The New York Times, Andrea recommended to the participants that they should:


- Be reliable

- Be low maintenance, don’t make things complicated

- Don’t complain

- Be a team player, work together with the reporter

- Bring something to the table with their photography that goes beyond the obvious, beyond what is offered by wire services


Reacting also to some of the challenges the participants faced shooting their ‘Remains’ stories for the Masterclass – NOOR photographer Kadir van Lohuizen emphasized, “Not having enough time for an assignment is never an excuse. An editor doesn’t care.”


Andrea pointed out that you can utilize shorter assignments to create a larger project or body of work - “Just because an assignment is quick doesn’t mean you can’t go back to it on your own or with another paper. You can make use of the fact that this gives you a start on a story, or you can use the work to apply for grant funding to do more follow-up work.”




Before landing in a new country or city for a story, Andrea prepares all her logistics so they are ready by the time she arrives – fixer, translator, transportation, etc. She suggested that participants might hire a fixer for a half day at first to see if they make a good team and emphasized that photographers must take the responsibility to protect the safety of their fixers and translators.



Workshop participants Midhat Poturovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Majlend Bramo (Albania) and Tsvetomir Dimov (Bulgaria). Photo: Marko Rupena / Kamerades




When it comes to shooting, Andrea said, “I can’t stress enough to get up before sunrise.” To catch good light she usually shoots at the beginning and end of the day and works with the writer on interviews during the middle of the day. She encouraged the participants to “wait it out - stay longer than you want to in order to wait for good photos, especially if the light is good.”


Stanley Greene and Andrea Bruce. Photo: Frank Zuidweg





Knowing the experience of the Masterclass tutors, throughout the week, participants had a lot of questions about covering conflict. After NOOR photographer Stanley Greene’s presentation of some of his most impactful stories this topic took center stage.


Stanley Greene presenting his work. Photo: Marko Rupena / Kamerades



On the practical side – though seemingly mundane Stanley emphasized the absolutely essential - “Never try to do a story unless you understand your equipment up and down.” Andrea reiterated, “Learn the basics of how to work your camera and do a story now, before going to the field. Its extremely dangerous if you are working in a conflict zone and you struggle with your equipment or get wrapped up in logistics - you can lose awareness of your surroundings.” She also shared that she wished she saw more women covering conflict. "Sometimes I feel very alone. As a female photojournalist we have unique access to cover the other half of the story - women.”


While NOOR’s photographers have committed themselves to cover untold stories, they do not romanticize war photography. As Kadir wrapped it up, “There is not a single image worth dying for.” Through the Masterclass, Andrea, Stanley and Kadir talked about how they work to broaden our view on conflict by capturing daily, civilian life as it continues through war and also covering conflict’s aftermath and consequences.



Matic Zorman (Slovenia) shares his work with the group as Andrea Bruce (left) and Fisnik Dobreci (Montenegro) look on. Photo: Kamerades



Stanley Greene and Andrea Bruce. Photo: Marko Rupena / Kamerades