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 seven-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 or education.
When each workshop ends, Mr. Roberts donates four cameras plus 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.
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. Additional workshops include Hyderabad in October 2015, Los Angeles in January 2016, Toronto in March 2016 and Lisbon in September 2016, and the possible additions of Mongolia and Cuba.
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.