Using the power of photojournalism to expose social and ecological injustice

Photographers as agents for change

(Pilot Program starts in Vermont – Fall 2013)

*z7d_outrage_dsc_0196-1Left: Youth organizer is outraged after UN security took away his accreditation badge and put him on a bus to be removed from UN grounds for protesting lack of youth participation at the UN Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico (2010)

Langelle Photography will conduct courses for people who want to learn how to use photojournalism and concerned photography to capture images that can educate and change the world, not just record it.

The Concerned Photojournalism Training Program will provide people the necessary skills to use the power of photojournalism to visually tell the stories of the struggles for justice by frontline communities and to expose social and ecological injustice to a global audience. The course is organized in collaboration with the Flashbulb Institute.

Orin Langelle, Director of Langelle Photography, will be the course instructor. Langelle was trained at the International Center of Photography.  Since 1972 he has documented and showcased peoples’ resistance to war, corporate globalization, ecological destruction and human rights abuses, and contributed to numerous successful outcomes.

Langelle approaches his role as a concerned photographer by not merely documenting the struggle for social and ecological justice, but by being an active part of it. This has enabled him to gain the trust of many of the subjects he has documented, allowing him access that would not have been possible otherwise. In this way, he has been able to expose the truth that is so often hidden by the powers of injustice.

• Requirements: Must have and know how to use a digital camera

• Qualifications:  Must have a passion for photography and justice issues


Concerned Photojournalism to Advance Social Change consists of:

–       1st weekend: a photojournalism overview and assignments for the following week (all)

–     2nd weekend: review completed assignments and plan a photography project/photo essay to document a social/ecological concern to be completed in one month (collectively and one-on-one with the instructor)

–       One month to complete project

–      Final weekend: review completed photo assignment with critique and recommendations (collectively and one-on-one with the instructor)


First Saturday and Sunday:

• Initial presentation:

–       Basics of how photojournalism is used to advance change

–       Instructor’s personal use of photojournalism in making change

–       Study of light

–       Color vs. black and white

–       Geometry in composition

–       Capturing the “decisive moment”

–       Realistic imagery and use of acceptable journalistic Photoshop

–       Ethics of photojournalism

–       Strategic use of concerned photography as agent for change

–       Use of photos in direct actions:

  • Getting the word out immediately
  • Telling an evocative story
  • Keeping protesters safe
  • What to photograph and what not to
  • Getting your images out safely

• Each person taking the course will receive In Our Time: The World as Seen by Magnum Photographers and a description of what a photo essay is and the features of a good one.

First week:

• Student assignment 1

Look through the course book and find 4-6 images that most strongly resonate.  The next weekend each participant will explain which images they chose and why.

• Student assignment 2:

Participants will take photos of subjects that mean something to them.  They will bring their best 5-7 to class on a memory stick in a jpeg format to be viewed by the group for feedback.

• Student assignment 3:

Participants will think about concepts for a summer photo essay on a justice-related theme.  These will be discussed  with the class and in one-on-one meetings with the instructor

Second Saturday:

• Review all of the Magnum book feedback and the student photos as a group. Group discussion of the summer photo essay concepts.

Second Sunday:

• One on one meetings with the instructor regarding the the summer photo essay concepts.

Photo Project:

Each participant will create a full photo essay in the month’s time before the next workshop.  They will propose possible themes and work with the instructor to hone and finalize a strong theme

Each student will have a maximum of 2 hours of consulting time with the instructor during the month.

Final weekend:

Group review of all photo essays on Saturday; participant and instructor have one on one follow up on Sunday for individual critique and recommendations

All photo essays will be published online

Course Dates: Fall 2013; Instructor guidance available by phone & email outside of classroom time.
Location: Burlington, Vermont
Certification: Students completing the course will receive a Flashbulb Course Certificate.
Registration:  To apply for this course, contact Will Bennington <[email protected]>
Tuition & Financial Aid: The tuition for this class is $3000. Vermont residents may be eligible for a VSAC Non-degree Grant to cover the full tuition.  See Tuition & Financial Aid for more information.