2017 Nikon-NOOR Masterclass Sweden

©Ola Jacobsen_MS Sweden_Nikon-Noor-1002990.jpg

Between the 12th to the 15th of March 2018, the Nikon-NOOR Masterclass took place at Fotografiska. Fifteen young visual story tellers came together for an inspiring four days of learning and sharing with NOOR photographers Jon Lowenstein, Pep Bonet and Arko Datto and the NOOR team represented by Agata Bar.

During the four intensive days, the group reviewed and shared their portfolios, listened to presentations by the photographers, held in-depth discussions on practical and creative issues, and edited their visual stories. Below you will find a showcase of the participants’ work.

The masterclass has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Nikon Europe.


Alessandro Vincenzi


The Turkic Wolf

Gagauzia (Gagauz Yeri) is a tiny autonomous region inside the Republic of Moldova. Their identity has been forged out of two apparently opposed elements: the Gagauz are in fact a Christian Orthodox people of Turkic origin with a language that is closely related to all known Turkic idioms.

Although the similarities with Moldovans exceed the differences, in 1991 the Gagauz leaders declared in Comrat (capital city of the region) the independence from Moldova. Gagauzians manage to obtain the autonomy status instead of full sovereignty on one condition: they will have the right to decide their own destiny if Moldova becomes a part of Romania.

After more than 26 years of Moldova’s independence and 23 years of Gagauz Yeri’s autonomy, the state of things and spirits has not changed much. Kremlin’s propaganda is keeping the animosity alive – the Russian TV is by far the most popular and trusted source in Gagauzia. Keen to preserve their identity against Moldovans, the Gagauzians are widely open towards Russian influence: now the majority of Gagauzians would rather prefer the Russian than their native language.

In the recent years, since the Crimea and Donbass events, regions like Gagauzia returned into the world’s press limelight. Despite the increased international attention and twisted geopolitical moves made in the name of Gagauzia, its people, are continuing to live their usual conservative lives. When you arrive in Gagauzia it is surprising to find the same lifestyle as that of our grandfathers, the Europe as it was before the urban civilization. Gagauzia is where Europe could have happened, but didn’t, it is a relic of the Soviet past, a past well-forgotten but not extinct.

Text: Adrian Ciubotaru

Alessandro Vincenzi

Alessandro (Italy, 1973) is a self-trained documentary photographer, which has a special interest for stories in East Europe and Ex-Soviet Union Countries. His career as a photographer started at the end of 2008 after working for almost five years with Medecins Sans Frontieres as a biologist. Photography for Alessandro is the link between those who have a story to tell and those willing to hear it. What he most enjoys about his work is the interaction with people and the countless stories that he comes across.

The Turkic Wolf it’s a journey through the daily life of Gagauzian people, a community with Turkic origins that convert to Christian Orthodox Church. It is a portrait of a very tiny autonomous region where it seems that time has stopped at our post-war period. The Turkic Wolf it’s meant to be the first chapter of a longer project about communities living in countries that are not part of their culture, their origin.

Alessandro’s works have been published in The Guardian, l’OBS, Le Monde, CNN, Mariclaire, D della Repubblica, Vanity Fair, GEO Italy, Revue 21 among others.

Alessandro is based in Barcelona where he lives with his family.


Alice Aedy


The Final Fontier

Up to 2,000 Afghan refugees including children as young as eight were sleeping rough in two abandoned warehouses in Belgrade, seeking shelter from -17 degree conditions. The warehouses had no running water or sanitation, and the refugees and migrants live in derelict conditions, burning everything they can get their hands on to keep warm. MSF reported burns inside their lungs from the inhalation of toxic fumes, whilst others reported having frostbite.

Among the refugees were former Afghan interpreters for the US army, refused asylum and forced to leave Afghanistan, their lives threatened by the Taliban. Serbia is not part of the EU but it borders several countries that are, including Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. It has become the final frontier for refugees and migrants seeking to reach western Europe.

Alice Aedy

Alice Aedy is a 24 year-old documentary photographer and film-maker published in The Times, Vice, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Huck Magazine, Monocle Magazine and more. Alice graduated with a degree in History and Politics from LSE in 2015 and spent much of 2016/17 on the front-lines of the European refugee crisis, reporting from inside refugee camps in Greece, Serbia and France. Her focus is on forced migration, women’s rights and environmental issues.


Ania Mininkova


The Monster Within

The search for mysterious animals – from mountain gorilla to giant panda, who were in their own time considered a myth and a monster joke, was successful because of the people who were willing to be ridiculed as myth chasers.

The term “cryptozoology” – an unrecognized science focused on unknown animals – was coined in the 1940s, and what started as a scientific pursuit began a life of its own. The deepest appeal the wilderness and monsters have for humans launched a popular culture and research on a previously unimaginable scale with the advent of the internet.

People looking for Bigfoot, chupacabra, Mothman and a pantheon of both biologically possible and mythical “cryptids” can find fellow researchers and witnesses in a matter of seconds. What was isolated and confined, became real and widely available on Google search.

Is the monster myth a part of phenomena that took America to a place where people are increasingly entitled not only to their own opinions, but to their own facts?

This project is a pursuit of American monsters, both roaming in the wilderness and lurking within.

Ania Mininkova

Photographer and sculptor, Ania Mininkova explores themes of consciousness, fragility of memory, and perception.

Coming of age during the era of hybrid wars in Eastern Europe and Caucasia, Ania’s practice is deeply informed by the fallible nature of perception amongst unreliable narration.

Born in Ukraine, living in Poland, Russia, Indonesia, Australia and eventually the United States, her experiences of transition, placelessness and ever changing historical narratives have driven her recent work on “A Monster Within”.


Carlo Lombardi


Dead Sea

The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) lives throughout the oceans and seas all over the world, prefers breeding in temperate and subtropical regions. Since 2015, Caretta caretta has been enclosed in the Red List of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and it has been classified as ‘vulnerable’, as subjected to extinction. Scientists believe that the world population of this species is decreasing. These animals are very sensitive and pay for several human activities, such as: man exploitation of the coasts, due to artificial light in breeding areas, global warming (the increase of the sand temperature inside the nests affects the sex of the about to be born), pollution and bycatch fishing are the main treats for this species. Even if man, in this case, looks like a torturer, he has got also all the instruments and remedies to put an end to this massacre: there is a net of professionals (doctors, vets, biologists, marine biologists) who freely carry on several researches and activities, surveys, advertising and sensitive campaigns. Each year, thanks to their presence and working cooperation, hundreds of specimens are saved and released in their natural sea habitat.

Carlo Lombardi

Carlo Lombardi was born in Pescara in 1988. He is a freelance photographer who does long-term independent projects using a contemporary photographic language. His method is based on an in-depth period of study, research and classification of all elements essential to defining a story. His interest is focused on the complex relationship existing between man and environment and on the exploration of their fragility. In 2015 he completed “Jörg e Cam” a photo project he came up with after meeting Jörg e Cam and the desire to recount their intimate relationship. In 2016, he began working on “Dead Sea,” an investigation into the causes driving the extinction of the loggerhead sea turtles (Carretta carretta) in the Mediterranean.


Hampus Andersson


Welcome to Donetsk People’s Republic

Almost four years of war and over 10 000 killed during the war in eastern Ukraine.

The cold conflict is a fact.

Still, life goes on in the self-proclaimed state in the east.

Hampus Andersson

Hampus Andersson is a 30 year old swedish photojournalist and documentary photographer living in Stockholm. He has a background in radio journalism and studied photojournalism at Nordens Fotoskola. www.hampusandersson.com


Juliette Robert


The Hidden Nomads

20 years ago, homosexuality was made legal in Kyrgyzstan, but non discrimination laws have never been voted. On the contrary, it took all the energy of the small LGBT rights organization Labrys to fight against the criminalisation of public speech in favor of homosexuality. For the young activists, the fight for equal rights is just another way they can experiment the limits of the democracy. They may have not known USSR, but they've already had a taste of dictatorship and failed revolutions.

This work is the beginning of the first chapter of a broader attempt to talk about the Kyrgyz youth, and it focuses on the small LGBT community. How they hide in plain sight, how they bear the weight of a culture they're still very attached to, how they navigate through all the foreign influences that cross the region, how they re-create a home and family for each other. How they watch their country transition. And how they do, too.

Juliette Robert

I'm a french photographer living in Stockholm for the past two and a half years, after being based in Paris and Madagascar.

After beginning as a photographer in the music industry, I met the freelance writers collective Youpress and together, we started to work on stories for newspapers and magazines.

Since september 2013, I'm a member of Haytham Pictures agency, distributed by Agence REA.

My work has been published mostly in the French press : 6 Mois, Paris Match, Le Monde, Le Point, Libération, la Vie, Marie Claire, ELLE, among others.

I've covered news (Ukraine revolution in 2014, refugee crisis in Liberia in 2011, presidential elections in Moscow and Paris in 2012) and social issues in several countries, including India, USA, Madagascar, Lebanon, Bosnia…


Line Ørnes Søndergaard


Time to Rest

Every night thousands of people go to sleep in random places along the narrow roads of Norway. Because that’s what the government told them to do.

As Norway is mostly mountains and valleys there is no way we could survive without the trucks getting necessities to the most remote areas of our country. But with strict time regulations and few designated resting spots, the drivers are forced to stop wherever they are located when their driving time is up. As they park for the night, they are no longer the driver moving through the postcard landscapes of Norway. They are now that one person, completely alone inside the walls of their hut. Sometimes it´s a warm one, sometimes cold. But most certainly a lonely one, and a vulnerable one.

I knocked the doors and spent the night with those that sleep alone, trying to show a different side of the Norwegian truckdriver. The private one. During this limited period of time where they don´t drive, but rest.

Line Ørnes Søndergaard

Line Ørnes Søndergaard (b.1986) is a visual storyteller from Oslo, Norway. She got her background from documentary-film and television before turning to photography, completing her BA in photojournalism in 2014. Of today, she is well established as a project and editorial photographer in Scandinavia, working for the largest newspapers in Norway, alongside her personal work. She has won several prizes in Norwegian Picture of The Year, and received international recognition in NPPA, POYI, PDN and CPOY. In 2016 she was selected and attended the World Press Photo´s Joop Swartz Masterclass. In 2017 she was chosen to be part of the Norwegian Journal of Photography, a program supporting 8 independent photographers in Norway.


Lea Mandana


The Dust of Childhood

Iraq, 2015-2017

She bore the name of a flower: Gulchin. Her real name being Munire Mina. She had left Iran at the age of 15. She is now in the Sinjar Mountains where time seems suspended in the ruins since the August 2014 massacres on the Yazidi community. In her party, love and sexual relationships are forbidden. Some women have secret abortions. Men and women seem frozen in an abandoned setting, their stares lost towards death. Munire Mina died in 2016. She stepped on a mine. She was 23.

Like Munire, many other young underage girls have left their family for serving a party. They all dream of a new future with a good life by becoming a soldier. On Bashiqa front line, near Mosul, the teenagers from Iran who look like children are carrying cuddly toys and rifles. When asked if they are minors, the leader of their party, responds with embarrassment: “This generation is like that, their faces do not show their true age.”

These young soldiers are often put forward as valorous warriors by their party for their propaganda – an image enthusiastically forwarded by western media. They are illustrated in an entirely different reality. Far from the war staged for the media and its subsequent treatment of violence, the conflict is looming. Immersed in this war, the young recruits feel that they are embodying this image of strong, independent woman who has been sold to them. However, the leader perpetuates the patriarchal aspect that had caused them to flee their homes in Iran: instead of being at home to take care of household tasks, they fill sacks of earth to reinforce the lines that only men will cross. So what do these girls, who fight Daesh with AK-47s marked “Mama I love you”, do in this Mosul offensive? Naim has long black tightly attached hair and a wise and reserved child’s face. She said she is 18 but looks 13. Naim is a few kilometers from Mosul. She runs to a forgotten toy, a white plastic house with a coral roof – a childhood lost too early.

Through this ongoing work, I am questioning about the duality between dream and disillusion, representation and reality but also the propaganda on young girls. I am creating a dust atmosphere: broken human existence in ruins, something slow towards death or a form of freedom in the immensity of the suspended time.

Lea Mandana

Lea Mandana is a documentary photographer and a reporter.

She grew up with two cultures: French and Iranian. She became an architect in Paris where she focused her studies on the link between ruins and the imaginary.

Between 2015 and 2017, she covered Iraq, including the Mosul offensive. Her interest is in women in violence and war. Her sensitivity comes from her personal story and cinema. She likes to use writing, photography and collaboration with her subjects for creating an atmosphere in her narrative. Ideal and disillusion, irony of paradoxes, strength from fragility/injury are recurring themes in her work.

She has worked on assignments for The New York Times, Libération, Grazia, Le Monde des Religions (Le Monde) and has been published by United Nations University, Fisheye Magazine, La Croix, Mediapart, Bloomberg Businessweek, amongst others.


Matteo Congregalli


Valhalla, I am coming - Scandinavia's modern-day Vikings

Over the past 30 years, Sweden and the whole of Scandinavia have seen a true Viking revival. A growing number of people are embracing their ancestors' culture and way of living in order to preserve their identity. Hundreds of men, women and children regularly abandon their daily identities to slip into those of Norse warriors, druids, swordsmiths and handcrafters.

These archaeology-obsessed, mead-loving, modern-day Vikings live in camps during the summer, perfect their medieval fencing skills during the winter and celebrate pagan rituals all year round.

Matteo Congregalli

Matteo Congregalli is a photojournalist, writer and video producer currently based in Southern Sweden. With experience in covering international news, his work focuses on trauma, migration, subcultures and processes of identity construction.


Néha Hirve


Full Shade / Half Sun

In 2003, the tropical dry forest of Tamil Nadu in India, looked like a desert. In 2003, Sadhana Forest—the smaller community based within Auroville, which was founded in the 1960s—was established by an Israeli man who arrived with a mission to take care of the land through reforestation. Alongside their reforestation efforts, they are also an experiment in communal living, veganism, and unschooling.The project avoids classical journalism and instead attempts to get into the mindset of the back-to-the-land movement, and to bring up metaphors and questions about the ways in which we find meaning in our relationship to our environment. During the course of the workshop, we worked on creating a sequence for a book dummy.

Néha Hirve

Néha Hirve (b. 1992) is a Stockholm-based photographer and filmmaker interested in man’s relationship to the natural environment. She has been published in the New York Times, National Geographic, and Tidnignen ETC, and was recently a recipient of the Women Photograph grant.


Nora Lorek


European Jungle

Jungle is the nickname given to a refugee camp in the vicinity of Calais, France. Before it was demolished in 2016 and according to Help Refugees there were 9106 men, women and unaccompanied children living here in mud, tents or temporary shelters which they had build themselves and decorated as best as possible. All of them the had the same goal: to enter the UK. There were churches and mosques built of sticks, tarpaulins and plastic, papered with blankets. Syrians, Afghans, Sudanese, Kuwaitis, Kurds, Pakistanis and many more lived side by side among the seventy restaurants, shops and hairdressers that stretched along the main street of the illegal camp. During the last week of October 2016 the Jungle was demolished and the remaining refugees were moved to temporary asylum accommodations or trying to find shelter in the surrounding area. Today a lot has changed. Some of those who paid for smugglers have been reunited with their relatives in the UK. Others have already received their documents and started working. On the other side of the channel people still gather in hope of crossing the border – this time waiting without shelter, warm blankets or help of the community of the Jungle.

Nora Lorek

Nora Lorek (b.1992 in Germany) is a freelance photographer based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Additional to her assignments for newspapers and magazines she’s working on long term projects with focus on migration and human rights. The last years she’s been working on several projects in refugee camps and settlements with the focus on collaborating and visualizing the stories beyond the statistics and headlines. Following the people along the borders of Europe and showing the solidarity of those in need of protection Nora produced several exhibitions about the refugee camp called Jungle in Calais, France which was demolished thereafter. In 2016 Nora was the first Swede awarded College Photographer of the Year which led her to National Geographic and her ongoing project in one of the world’s largest refugee settlements in Uganda.


Olga Karpushina


Emerald city citizens

Yura and Nyusha and Liza have met in an orphan home and now are living in an psycho-neurological nursing home. Yura and Nyusha fell in love with each other and Liza is their friend. Nyusha is living in a closed ward that means she can't go outside alone and they can see each other only on general activities arranged by psycho-neurological nursing home or volunteers. It happened that they don't know how to write and read. They absolutely can't use money and their world is completely different from the world of her peers. They don't think about world cataclysm or political revolutions. But they know that once a week they have a bath day and that they should go to sleep at nine o'clock. Life in psycho-neurological nursing home is very monotonous and depends on schedule but they know how to love and to be friends.

Olga Karpushina

Olga Karpushina is documentary photographer based in Saint-Peterburg, Russia. She prefers working on long-term projects and concentrates on social issues, historical memory and archaic. She has successful experience in work with different NGOs. Olga's projects was in different short-lists and participated in exhibitions.


Pablo Garrigos


The last border

The project tries to document the personal battle between dreams and reality that face a group of young people in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. This conflict, still alive but forgotten by the headlines, strikes a generation that was born during the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, just after the collapse of the Soviet Unión. The young people I have been following for the past 24 months, leave their motherland for work or education. However, after a while they go back to Karabakh aiming at building a future for themselves and their families as well as to support the fight of their country on the recognition by the international community.

Pablo Garrigos

I studied journalism at the University of Valencia and I did my photography degree at the Superior Art and Design School of the same city. Then, I move to Belgium and I base myself as freelancer photojournalist in Brussels. From there I have been developing personal projects and assignments in other domains like development cooperation, edition or TV productions in countries like Congo, Benin or Poland. Nowadays, I working on two projects, one about abortion in the last countries of Europe where is forbidden and the genital mutilations female in Belgium.


Victor Raison


Buenaventura, Tristes tropiques

Standing in front of a shack made of wood and tin, 8 youngsters are killing time listening to a local reggeaton. They are all from la Empresa, one of the two main Bacrims - bandas criminals - from Buenaventura. They are keeping a eye out for their chief - El Gatillo - 'Trigger' who lives in the house. Trigger is about 30 year old. A old gun in his hand he starts telling his story.

"From 15 till 19 years old, I was enrolled with the Farcs (the Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia - the main guerrilla of the country), I took advantage of the demobilization program launched by the state and now I am a local chief for la Empresa. I come from the Las Piedras barrio, I’ve been living here for a long time. All the kids that grow up here end up contaminated by evil. We kill here and there, we comply to the boss’ orders, if they tell us 'go kill this family' we have to do it no matter who and no matter where, this is the way things are going here, if you refuse the same organisation will send someone to kill you. Understand? »

This is the paradox of Buenaventura, it is at same time a huge source of income for the country being the main harbor and one of the most dangerous cities of Colombia. It caught the interest of the international opinion after Human Rights Watch published a report on the casas de pique - literally chop up houses - where the victims are dismembered alive. After the publication of this report the government decided to militarise the city to fight crime, with more or less success.

Victor Raison

I was born in Switzerland in 1986 from French parents. Photography is the way I share the stories of my encounters.

I discovered photography through dark room processing while studying graphic design at the London College of Communication. I pursued my studies at la Sorbonne in Paris with a master’s course in Modern Literature Applied to journalism, having right from the start the goal of becoming a photojournalist. While writing my final year thesis broaching war photojournalism at the age of Internet, I worked at the Magnum photo agency in the editorial department and the retouching department / digital lab. I then returned to London to attend a Master's degree in photojournalism and documentary photography.

These experiences have had a huge influence on my way to tackle my subjects, trying to connect as much as I can with the people I encounter, avoiding being intrusive or voyeur. My camera is my excuse to find myself in places where I otherwise would not have been able to be. I am now living in Colombia focusing on local and latin-american subjects.