Jon Lowenstein

world press photo pop-up group exhibition

All of NOOR's photographers have a strong connection to World Press Photo, as award winners, Joop Swart Masterclass participants and educators, jury members, or supervisory board members. To celebrate this fact, and with the World Press Photo Awards Days fast approaching, NOOR presents a small pop-up exhibition in an informal setting, featuring relevant work by all our photographers.

NOOR's pop-up exhibition is currently hanging at the Cafe de Engelbewaarder, which is situated just over the canal from Het Compagnie Theater, the location of this year's World Press Photo Awards Days. The exhibition runs until May 12th.

Address Engelbewaarder: Kloveniersburgwal 59, 1011 JZ Amsterdam.

This exhibition is supported by Nikon Europe.

All printing by FotolabKieKie.

Exhibition photos by Jen Tse.

on community, transparency, and integrity

As part of the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass for Documentary Photography, Jon Lowenstein gave a public presentation at SALT Galata on Wednesday night. About 70 people from the wider photography community in Istanbul attended. Jon showed and talked about his long-term ongoing project on Chicago's South Side, including his short film "A Violent Thread". He touched upon how local communities and their problems are representative of bigger social issues on a larger scale. Jon also expanded how he uses photography to engage with the community and how he collaborates with the people from his own neighbourhood.


The next morning, Kursat Bayhan, one of the participants from Turkey, presented a project that his newspaper Zaman initiated, called "Time in Turkey”. This gave the group a good example of how a newspaper in the region understands the importance of photo features.


The group continued with a long debate about ethics in photojournalism, led by Benedicte Kurzen. She stressed that in every step that we are taking as photojournalists, from getting ideas to having your images published, mistakes can be made. The group discussed issues to do with setting up, preserving the identity of the people that you photograph and work with, privacy laws, the importance of caption writing, post-production, altering content and misuse of images by clients when they are taken out of context. Integrity, being transparent, being able to stand for what you are doing as a photographer, and taking responsibility are key in this process.


“It is good that we are bringing up these examples of ethical misbehavior, since it is happening all the time in this industry and it jeopardizes our credibility," said Stanley Greene. "We need to be responsible because the public trusts us and we have to make them trust us.”

Images by Frank Zuidweg.

a fresh set of eyes

After a great first day, NOOR photographers had practical and creative advice to share on the second day of the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography in Istanbul, Turkey.


“The danger, for all of us, is that you stay in the comfort zone. Whereas if you try and experiment, you might be surprised with the outcome”, explained Jon Lowenstein, recapping the individual portfolio reviews.


“I can see that some of you struggle with what you feel are important elements for the story and your creativity. The illustrative images are often the weakest ones,” said Benedicte Kurzen.

“Having an ‘idea list’ is great, but when you follow the list too rigidly, you miss out on the images that are magical,” continued Jon.


“I sometimes work with a list of things to capture in order to tell a story, but an ‘emotional’ list. Feelings that I am trying to show in images: fear, isolation, relief, etc.,” said Andrea Bruce.


In the afternoon, three groups were formed and each group discussed and edited a small assignment the participants prepared around the theme of "fragile".

“It has been a great experience editing my work with Andrea and the other participating photographers," said Achilleas Zavallis from Cyprus. "Having the input from these photographers with diverse backgrounds, coming from different countries, gave me a new perspective on my own work. Being able to get their collective knowledge helps me to look at my work with a fresh set of eyes.”

The masterclass continues until the end of the week. Check back to see how the next few days go!

Images by Frank Zuidweg.

istanbul masterclass

Yesterday, the 2014 NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography kicked off in Istanbul. For five days, 14 photographers originating from 10 different countries in the region get together with NOOR photographers Andrea Bruce, Benedicte Kurzen, Jon Lowenstein, and Stanley Greene; and NOOR’s managing director Evelien Kunst.

Situated in the headquarters of a 19th-century Imperial Ottoman Bank, SALT explores critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, and cultivates innovative programs for research and experimental thinking. “We could not think of a better venue to organize the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography”, said Serdar Darendeliler, co-founder of Genis Aci Project Office, who hosts the event this year.


The participants want to improve their editing skills, learn more about the market, grant writing, planning, preparation, how to organize and present themselves to editors, and other practical things. They are also very interested in ethic debates and general discussions on how to stay motivated and find new collaborations. “I want to learn how to transform an idea into a visual story,” said Yasaman Dehmiyani from Iran. Meanwhile, Ozge Sebzeci from Turkey is interested in finding out more about how to approach long-term projects and decide when they are done.


During one-on-one portfolio reviews, the photographers got to know each other and their work better. The first day concluded with a presentation by Andrea Bruce, in which she showed work from various personal projects and assignments she did for the New York Times over the past year, including her powerful work from Damascus

“For me, the most important thing to do in news stories is to humanize them," said Andrea. "To show that people are living a day-to-day normal life, even in conflict situations. I see it as my role to educate the people that read the newspaper at the other end of the world.” On the question of whether she ever felt threatened or if people got angry with her, she answered, "I believe in the power of respect. You have to respect people and then you will gain their trust."

There are many different topics to discuss and more to explore in the coming days, and we are already off to a great start!

Images by Frank Zuidweg.

noor-nikon masterclass 2014 tutors are announced

Andrea Bruce | NOOR

The tutors for this years NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography (In conjunction with Genis Aci Project Office GAPO) are; Andrea Bruce, Benedicte Kurzen & Jon Lowenstein. The deadline for applications is Monday the 10th of February.  Don't miss out on this opportunity. The masterclass will be accessible to young and aspiring documentary photographers and photojournalists from the following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey.

If you are interested to find out more and read about experiences of participants from former masterclasses, then see examples of previous workshops here & here.

NOOR, Nikon and Genis Aci Project Office (GAPO) invite photographers to submit their portfolios for selection for the 2014 NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography in Turkey.

NOOR photo agency and foundation  and Nikon Europe support documentary photographers from emerging markets all over the world through the organization of annual motivational masterclasses.

The 2014 program takes place in Istanbul, Turkey, organized in collaboration with Genis Aci Project Office (GAPO), 24 March through to 28 March 2014.


During the five days of the workshop, 15 participants, together with three member photographers of NOOR and NOOR’s managing director will share experiences, work on portfolios, improve editing skills and learn how to pick up and develop stories. Each day consists of intensive communication with the photographers on the subjects of technical features and the peculiarities of the international photo market. It is a unique opportunity to gain new knowledge, contacts, learn to tell stories in a visual language and develop a personal vision.

The workshop is free of charge; travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed (possession of a passport and travel insurance is required to apply).


For submission you are required to have:

• Basic experience in documentary photography or photojournalism;

• A high level of motivation;

• English language skills (the workshop is in English);

• A good technical understanding of your camera equipment, a working knowledge of the media environment and basic image management skills.

 To apply you need to send a PDF file not exceeding 6 MB including:

• A CV including your contact information and a written text explaining your work and projects. Please clarify your involvement in photography by showing a proven track record, proof of a photographic training or at least 1-year experience of practice;

• Motivation letter in English (1 page);

• A portfolio of max. 30 images with text introductions and captions (please show your story telling skills by presenting at least one picture story of 8 images).

Please send your application to: before midnight C.E.T. Monday 10 February 2014.

If sending a PDF creates a problem, we accept links and word documents or alternative formats. For more information contact NOOR via or tel. +31.20.6164040 or Skype: noorimages (Amsterdam).

In case you are selected for the workshop, you will be asked to perform a short assignment to work on before the workshop starts.

Application deadline: 10 February 2014 (before midnight C.E.T.).

Organized with the generous support of Nikon Europe B.V.