2018 Nikon-NOOR Academy Switzerland


Between December 3 and December 6, 2018, the Nikon-NOOR Academy held the second session of its Masterclass at Keystone-SDA and the Nikon Switzerland headquarter. This masterclass followed the one in Italy and Hungary. Seventeen young visual storytellers gathered for an inspiring four days of learning and sharing with NOOR photographers Leonard Pongo, Tanya Habjouqa and Jon Lowenstein. The NOOR team was represented by the moderator Agata Bar.

During these 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.

Anne Ackermann


House of Pasha

My work ‘House of Pasha’ looks at cultural views and expectations on women in Albania using proverbs, song text snippets and images.

Purity at the time of marriage traditionally is one of them. In a society which is in transition to a more western oriented lifestyle medical interventions to restore virginity are in demand. They are both legal and done in secret. This first chapter draft looks at the theme of purity and the atmospheres of shame, ideal and deception surrounding it.

This is a work in progress supported by a grant from VG Bildkunst Germany.

Anne Ackermann

Anne Ackermann (1980) is a documentary photographer based in Germany. Her work focuses on women’s and contemporary issues, touching themes from migration and aftermath to skin bleaching and plastic surgery from environmental disasters to child marriages.

She's grantee of VG Bildkunst (2012+2017) and Photoreporter Festival, a finalist at the IWPA and Jacob Riis Award, member of FOCUS agency & Women Photograph. Her work appears in publications like GEO, Die Zeit, Stern and has been exhibited at et al. New York Photo Festival, PhotoGrafia Festival Rome, Angkor Photo Festival. She graduated from College of Arts Hamburg and studied photojournalism in Buenos Aires and at DMJX Denmark.


Charlotte Hooij


Her First Stolen Kiss

“I don’t remember how many nights I couldn’t sleep” said Farah, who is 14 or 15 years old, she is not quite sure.

Farah got married six months ago.

It wasn’t her choice.

Farah got taken from her home and settled in a new one.

They had decided that now is the time to turn from a girl into a woman.

They taught her how to behave like one.

Farah cannot go to school anymore.

She does not see her parents very often, she is now just a guest to them.

Farah has to sleep in another bed.

In another house, with another family.

She cannot sleep at night.

They say it’s normal.

Farah is just a girl.

Charlotte Hooij

Originally from Haarlem, The Netherlands, Charlotte Hooij (b. 1995) lived in many different places, including Belgium where she studied Photography, at the LUCA School of Arts. Denmark where she completed the Erasmus exchange at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. Bangladesh where she followed the international Photography program at the South Asian Media Institute, Pathshala, and currently in Switzerland where she is doing an internship with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Making reportages all around the world is what drives her into the unknown. By going on a journey with her camera, she wants to contribute to the image and storytelling culture, doing what she is most passionate about. Photography.


Claudia Schildknecht


See You Later, Zooxanthellae!

We see the ocean as something unlimited and unimaginable, the last great wilderness on our planet. We carry this idea with us when we first encounter a coral reef diving; never seen organisms and shapes, fearsome reef sharks and elegant turtles swimming by leisurely. The impression arises that the underwater world is still wild and untouched. The theory of the Shiting Baseline is incredibly important to consider in regards of the 6th mass extinction. The human memory is a tricky and very subjectiv thing. When you seeing something very infruecently it‘s hard to remember how it was. Unfortunately, when the reefs around the world where the most prestine there wasn‘t any photo or video. It was pretty much a selected few of people who had the opportunity to see how the reefs were, before all these impacts of the anthropocene started to accumulate. The political inaction in the last 20 years in regards of the ocean‘s conservation was as well due to the theory Shifting Baseline. People just didn‘t know what the prestine state of a coral reef was and didn‘t realise which part was already missing. Many reefs have suffered serious damage in the human age, the Anthropocene. Rising water temperatures affect corals in particular. The first global coral bleaching occurred in 1998. The next one followed in 2002. Although researchers do not predict annual global coral bleaching until 2040/50, a global bleaching event in 2016 was followed by another one in 2017. Due to a lack of political intervention, researchers currently expect the reefs to disappear worldwide by the middle of the century. If we lose coral reefs, we lose the rainforest of the sea. We would lose 25% of the fish that live in this „underwater rainforest“ leaving large marine animals without food. We would lose staple food sources from the sea, on which 400 million people depend every day. We would lose the seemingly last big wilderness on our planet, which has not been it anymore for a long time.

Claudia Schildknecht

Claudia Schildknecht (b. 1990) is a freelance tattoo artist and visual storyteller based in Lucerne and Saint Gall, Switzerland. She graduated in 2016 from the Camera Arts program in Lucerne. Her visual long-term projects mainly focusing on environmental and social issues. She got under the finalist of the VFG Young Talent Award and exhibited at different festivals in Europe. She‘s also working in two art collectives; „Kulturkonsumente“ and „Haus zur Ameise“.


Florian Spring


Inside the crocodile nest

Every few years in Kandinge, Papua New Guinea a ceremony takes place where boys turn into manhood by cutting their skin and in this way simulating the pattern of a crocodile skin. After traveling several times to Kandinge I get adopted by a village family. They gave me the chance to document this rare traditional ceremony for the first time.

Florian Spring

Florian Spring finished his apprenticeship as a carpenter in 2011. For some years after, he worked as a freelance decorator, carpenter and museum set constructor. From 2011 to 2014 he lived abroad, traveling with his camera, working in exchange for food and accommodation. By traveling he developed strong and intimate relations to different people and cultures what guides him into going deeper in photography. 2017 he was the winner of the 'Globetrotter World Photo' grant. This allowed him to focus on his projects in Papua New Guinea. Since, he has been working as an assistant and freelance photographer in Switzerland and abroad.


Kristina Steiner



I haven’t seen the real thing with my naked eye. The belief in black magic revive from ancient times with an incredible outbreak of violence in Papua New Guinea Ancient beliefs in sorcery or Sanguma are being catapulted into the modern age, driving incredible outbreaks of violence against women in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. If something unwanted or inexplicable occurs in a village individuals, mostly commonly women, are accused of committing black magic or of being a witch. They will be outcast from their homes, attacked and often killed. These are not secret crimes. An outraged mob will torture the accused women with archaic tools to death in public while no one is willing to help and the perpetrators will mostly not be sentenced. Visiting the most remote areas Kristina talked to victims, survivors, offenders, police men, surviving dependents, researchers, human right defenders and people trying to help bring a resolution to this cyclical violence. She visited the torturing sites, the graves, the funeral piles and the burnt down property. She took pictures and short interviews.

Kristina Steiner

Kristina Steiner is a freelance photographer, photo journalist and visual storyteller who is based in the North of Germany. Born by the northern German coastline Kristina left the north right after finishing school. She lived and worked in various ways in Africa and Latin America. She received an apprenticeship diploma in portrait photography in Munich, Germany. After studying photography design and communications in Berlin and Mexico City, Kristina graduated from university in photography design. For her graduation project which was founded by the academic association of Germany she photographed a reportage within the Zapatista rebells community in the mountains in the South of Mexico. She assisted some well known portrait photographers for a couple of years before studying photojournalism in Aarhus, Denmark. Kristina’s work centers around portrait, reportage and corporate. She is very interested in women‘s topics, people, their identity and their resistance. As she grew up by the Baltic Sea and lives there again now, the ocean became a life accompanying topic for her.


Lukas Kreibig


The Heart of a Seal

Once I saw the first glimpses of mountain that Uummannaq, Greenland, an island town off the country’s western coast, centers around, I was instantly drawn to the beauty and rawness of this remote place. I wanted to understand and document how life really looks like in a community with such a harsh climate and long traditions. In the autumn 2017, I started my photographic exploration in and around this town.

This project was continued when I returned for a second trip in February 2018, where I also witnessed the warmest winter on record in the Arctic, -30° Celsius. Unfortunately, the effects from global warming on this coastal town were apparent, with instances like the sea ice melting too early. Thus far, I have spent nearly three months working on this project.

For countless generations, the Inuit who reside here have relied on their natural surroundings to survive. The purpose of this project is to show how the Inuit culture intersects with the town’s present day conditions and to pose the question of how long the area’s traditions will remain in contrast with its changing circumstances.

Lukas Kreibig

Originally from Constance in southern Germany, Lukas Kreibig (b. 1987) started studying Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the University of Hanover. After a year in the International Photojournalism program at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark, Lukas began to narrow his focus to primarily long-term stories, in an effort to dig deeper than a normal story is able to go.

Lukas Kreibig is based in Hamburg and working for national and international magazines and newspapers.


Marion Bernet



Part of a long term project still in progress about gold. With focus on the international gold business and the lack of fairtrade gold. This first part takes us to guinea where informal the local population due to the development of the gold price. Besides the artisanal gold mining, the company «Société AngloGold Ashanti de Guinée» (SAG) is mining on an industrial scale and operates several open mining pits around the city of Kintinian. 2015, when SAG announced its plans to open a new mine on the edge of the city, a new conflict erupted. The district, named „Area One“, includes 380 homes, and public places. SAG gained the right to exploit this area and was subsequently obliged to build new houses and to compensate for land and trees. Yet the larger part of the population did not want to move voluntarily, this lead to several protests. People blame SAG for not respecting the Mining Law and accuse the company of fraud regarding the survey of property in order to compensate them with smaller houses. Besides their new homes will be provided way out of the city.

Marion Bernet

Marion Bernet was born 1988 and grew up in Biel Switzerland. Since 2007 her interest in West African music kept her returning regularly to Senagal and Guinea. In 2012 she got her diploma in Fotodesign at the school of art in Zurich and can show here diploma work a year later at the Fotopreis of the Canton of Bern in the capital. With here Portrait about „Frau Burri“ witch shows the empty apartment of her former neighbour she wins the VFG-Nachwuchsförderpreis. For the realisation of here work about Gold mining in Guinea she got the Globetrotter World Photo grant. Marion lives in Bern where she works since 2013 as a freelance photographer.


Matthieu Zellweger


When the doctor said it, I was both scared and relieved.

During the course of a year-long project about bipolar disorder, I encountered many different situations and with a good number of patients, healthcare workers and relatives. Bipolar disorder takes a heavy toll on the patients of course, but also on people around them. Many features associated with the disease (substance issues, mood swings, general instability, etc) are stigmatizing on the one hand and conducive to severe solitude on the other. Two hallmarks of the disease are manic and depressive phases, each with very specific characteristics. For this essay, I reflected the emotional roller-coaster experienced by patients and oscillated between pure photojournalistic images, regular portraits of stabilized patients, most of them leading a very fulfilling life, and more exploratory "portraits" of patient’s inner mental space during manic phases, which are based on a collaborative effort between patients and myself, whereby they shared in great level of details the individual features of their own personal manic phases.

Matthieu Zellweger

Award-winning photographer Matthieu Zellweger grew up in French-speaking Switzerland. He specializes in public health and societal reportage. He is also a fully trained scientist with 15+ years of involvement in public health matters, and a graduate in International Political Economy. His images appeared in various magazines (New York Times, BBC World, Burn Magazine, Der Spiegel online, Le Temps, GEO, NZZ, l'Hebdo, l'Humanité, Jeune Afrique, Phosphore, l'Illustré, Animan). Matthieu Zellweger lives in Switzerland and works in French, English, German and Italian. He is represented and distributed by Haytham Pictures/ REA Photo (Paris).


Meinrad Schade



I have been working on my photo project Krieg ohne Krieg / War Without War for roughly twenty years. In contrast to classical war photography, I am concerned with sites that are at various distances from war, both temporally and geographically. Rather than focusing on the actual events of war, I am interested in how a conflict becomes visible in everyday life. Faces and bodies, landscapes, villages and cities, streets, squares, and living rooms, the way to work, and leisure parks, museums, memorial days, and theater stages: all areas of life are affected by a conflict—for a long time. Until 2012, among other things, I worked on my project in various countries of the former Soviet Union—the resulting book, Krieg ohne Krieg / War Without War was published in 2015. I decided to turn my attention to the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 2013, and subsequently spent a total of about seven months in both Israel proper and in the occupied and annexed territories, that is, in the West Bank, on the Golan Heights, and in the Gaza Strip. During this—at times extremely tense—period, with deadly confrontations occurring nearly every day, I traveled to the regions of both parties to the conflict, moving back and forth between extremely different societies, realities, and attitudes. For me, different perspectives on the same situation became a real, lived experience. I tried to view sites so frequently photographed in Israel, the West Bank, on the Golan Heights, and in the Gaza Strip with new eyes. The people who live in these precarious spaces are likewise trapped in an endless loop of building, destruction, and rebuilding; of volition and destruction. For them, the conflict is omnipresent in symbols, it is presented to them as a quasi-script to act out. Escape does not seem possible. Reactions and counter reactions, images and counter images supply a steady stream of fresh fuel for the conflict. This is what I tried to capture. The mutually exclusive narratives, which have nested in minds for decades, supposedly offer the parallel societies something to hold onto. A persistent sense of threat is upheld, it is part of the raison d’être; the conflict remains unresolved.

Meinrad Schade

Meinrad Schade was born in Kreuzlingen in 1968. After finishing his studies of biology at the University of Zurich in 1996, he decided to pursue photography. First, he developed his skills as a photographer in the context of the Gruppe Autodidaktischer FotografInnen (GAF) in Zürich 1997/98, and then completed the Lehrgang für Pressefotografie (Program for press photography) at the Medienausbildungszentrum (MAZ) 1999/2000. Schade worked as a press photographer with the St. Galler Tagblatt and then in 2002 began as a freelance portrait photographer and photojournalist, and joined the Lookat Photos agency. Following his commercial activities, and thanks to grants from the Cultural Foundation of the Canton of Thurgau, he has pursued various long-term projects since 2003, which are also shown in exhibitions. In 2011, he was honored with the Swiss Photo Award and also with the ewz selection award for “Editorial Photography.” In 2013, he won the n-ost journalism prize for “photojournalism.” In 2015, the Fotostiftung Schweiz in Winterthur hosted the major solo exhibition Krieg ohne Krieg, and the Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess published the monograph of the same name, which was honored with a silver prize in the Deutsche Fotobuchpreis (German Photobook prize). Also in 2015, Schade received a “fine arts” grant from the Canton of Thurgau. In 2018 he published the book «UNRESOLVED», the result of his photographic essay about Israel und Palestine.


Nicholas Constant



My Grandmother's brother and father were both beheaded by the Japanese during the occupation of Malaysia in WWII. This meant she had to flee the country with her mother at the age of 3. With this leaving of the country, all ties to her heritage were severed. In 2016 I went out to Malaysia to explore how atrocities have many indirect effects, including myself, not feeling as having ties to Chinese culture. From this trip I managed to find long lost family through a common ancestor and was able to fill in their family tree for them. While exploring my family history I also looked at the locations of atrocities and the inspection centres which led to these atrocities to contemplate wether my family would have been subject to these locations. I also look at Singapore as a large amount of the Japanese occupation was carried out there. I am British, and as the Japanese occupation used to be the British occupation, coming back there as a British person is an interesting contrast that I will further explore.

Nicholas Constant

With an interest in the spectacle of modern warfare, I explore spaces in which conflicts occur. I am particularly interested in the indirect effects on war; how they surface in the everyday and how these issues are dealt with in absence of mainstream media. Using a simple, unintrusive approach to many of the projects, I attempt to make invisible subjects visible through the use of landscape and context. Photographing in a slow and quiet manner, I try to force the viewer to study the image to extract the most information they can to then be reinforced by their own contextual knowledge and personal views. Consciously realising my place as a western spectator of modern conflict issues, I try to make work which aims to resonate with the western viewer in a nonconfrontational way, as I believe empathy to be most effective when the viewer pieces the puzzle together for themselves.


Olivia Sasse


The extra Skin that remains – I hope you know, how beautiful you are.

My big Sister isn’t only older than me, she also have been the heaviest of all of us – us four sisters. She struggled with overweight since we’ve been children. Three years ago the doctor told her, if she doesn’t get a sleeve gastrectomy, she’ll quite likely get diabetes at some point. So she got a part of her stomach removed.

She never liked to be photographed and she still hasn’t seen the pictures I’ve made. But I hope she knows how beautiful she is – have ever been.

Olivia Sasse

Olivia Sasse is born and raised in Switzerland. She loves a good story – no matter if it’s told by words or pictures. She is mainly working with combinations of photography, video and text. On a daily basis she’s working as a journalist, mostly interest in topics as health, science and human stories. Dealing with the big questions in live, as much as with the small odds. Her personal work is often based on the line between documentary and art.


Ronald Pizzoferrato


My love poem to Caracas

The city of Caracas is surreal in the extreme, where mysticism, aggression, brotherhood and hope come together. We are the guardians. It is us, the Caraqueños, who create and destroy their city; where we learn to live with humility, respect, and caution. Because your freedom ends where another’s begins. This city has been abused and blessed by many generations who have suffered, existed and left something behind, which is the reason why the people of Caracas have that subjective beauty. Now, we have shown that we are able to destroy what we love.

Ronald Pizzoferrato

Ronald Pizzoferrato is a freelance documentary photographer, born (*1988) and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, but now based in Bern, Switzerland. He has consecrated himself to document conflicts in his native country Venezuela and focuses upon covering humanitarian crises and social issues on a global level. From 2009 to 2012 he studied documentary photography at Roberto Mata Taller de Fotografía in Caracas. In 2011 he started working as a photojournalist for the Ministry of Environment in Venezuela. In 2018, he was named as a winner of the Globetrotter World Photo Contest and his work will be presented in Bern in autumn 2019. This year and in the precedent year, he won the Latin American Fotografía 6 (AIAP) and he was selected by the Cantonale Berne Jura to take part in three collective exhibitions. Furthermore, he is currently studying for a Master's degree at the Zurich University of the Arts.


Tamina-Florentine Zuch


Along the tracks

Along the tracks is a collection of images and videos I took during my journey across the USA from the east- to the west coast on freight trains. It was a research journey that resulted in a non-fiction book. Now I plan to turn this project into a documentary film with the main emphasis on the culture of the American Hobos and the so called “Dirty Kids”, the younger generation hobo.

Tamina-Florentine Zuch

Tamine-Florentine Zuch was born in 1990 and graduated from high school in 2017 having studied photojournalism and documentary photography. She is a german photographer, videographer and writer currently based in Hamburg, Germany. From July 2017 to July 2018 has been working as a staff photographer for German Stern Magazine. Her book „Supertramp“ about her journey across the USA was published in April 2018.


Nathalie Taiana


The Ice Maker

While the village of Saas-Fee remains asleep, Otto Zengaffinen releases mountain water to the cold night. He uses heavy hoses to distribute the water, which will become ice. He braves the cold, looking forward to the shining eyes of the athletes when they see the ice rink.

Nathalie Taiana

Nathalie Taiana is a photographer, based in Switzerland. She was previously employed in insurance and banking sectors, before beginning a degree at Zurich University of the Art (ZHdK) in 2014. She graduated in 2017 with a BA and subsequently began a year long internship at the well-known, well respected Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ).