Seven days. Twenty students. A new language that will last a lifetime.
The Fredric Roberts Photography Workshops are led by the award-winning photographer as he brings his passion for storytelling through still images to high school aged students in Third World countries. With assistance from a faculty of world-class photographers and teachers, each workshop trains a group of 20 students, half from rural areas and the other half from urban households, half boys and half girls. Over the course of each eight-day workshop, using a format developed by Mr. Roberts, the participants learn professional photographic techniques and take photographs centering on particular themes, such as the environment, health issues, education, civil society and pluralism.
When each workshop ends, Mr. Roberts donates four professional-level cameras plus sophisticated photo software so that participants can continue to develop their skills. He also works with local partners to train staff and secure photographers from each country who participate in the workshop and continue to mentor the novice photographers. He uses a private website so that students can continue to submit their work to improve their skills and continue their photographic education. The well-developed and strongly supported process of continuing education, amplified by a series of advanced workshops, is a unique and distinguishing element of this program.
He established the first Fredric Roberts Photography Workshop in 2011 and 2012 in India, and embarked on a continuation of these workshops across the world. The first of these took place in Bhutan in January 2014, followed by Nicaragua in May 2014 and Tajikistan in October 2014. In January 2015, the original students from Bhutan returned for a special advanced workshop. Four of those students were then selected as teaching assistants for a new workshop of 20 beginners. A similar pattern was followed in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in June 2015, Hyderabad, India in October 2015 and March 2017, and Toronto in March 2016 and August 2017.
Additional workshops were held in Los Angeles in January 2016 and Lisbon in September 2016. Upcoming workshops in 2018 include a return to Lisbon for a double workshop in March, Mombasa in May, Monterrey, Mexico in August and The University of Central Asia in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan in October. Beyond that, there are plans for workshops in Pakistan and Punjab, India.
In May 2016, a comprehensive collection of students’ photographs was exhibited at The Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Center in Toronto, coinciding with The Contact Photo Festival.