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Chien-Chi Chang Documentary Photography Workshop in Krakow Poland - Workshopx Documentary Photography Workshops Photojournalism

Documentary photography workshop with Chien-Chi Chang


Learn and improve how to pursue a long-term documentary project and the best practices behind the process. Challenge yourself in real-life conditions by covering a story that matters.

In each thoughtful project there is the research, the working method, the motivation, the discipline, the fatigue, the fear of failure, the challenge and the renewed challenge, whatever the intended end result might be: a book, an exhibition, or a multimedia presentation. This workshop is to guide you through the process and release what is already in you. It is to define and sharpen your own vision and heighten your storytelling skills with your own initiative, method and message. Chien-Chi Chang

The workshop is designed for professionals and serious photography enthusiasts. During the 6 days in Krakow you will cover a chosen story, combining intensive individual shooting with daily editing and critique sessions with Chien-Chi Chang. You will receive extensive support from the workshopx team, including a local assistant assigned exclusively to you, in order to help you achieve best results. The workshop will also teach some creative solutions for using sound and moving images.


Date: 7 – 12 Jun 2017 (6 days)
Place: Krakow, Poland
Number of participants: 6 – 10


cccChien-Chi Chang (Magnum Photos) – was born in Taiwan in 1961. He studied English literature first at Soochow University in Taipei (B.A. 1984) and then continued at Indiana University (M.S. 1990). After graduation, he worked as a staff photographer in the U.S., while simultaneously pursuing his personal documentary projects. He joined Magnum Photos in 1995. In 1999 he was awarded the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund for Humanistic Photography and in 2001 became a full member of Magnum.

Chien-Chi Chang is one of the most unconventional and creative documentary photographers. In his work, he makes manifest the abstract concepts of alienation and connection. The Chain, a collection of portraits made in a mental asylum in Taiwan, caused a sensation when it was shown at La Biennale di Venezia (2001) and the Bienal de Sao Paolo (2002). The life-sized photographs of pairs of patients literally chained together resonate with Chang’s jaundiced look at the less visible bonds of marriage. He has treated marital ties in two books – I do I do I do (2001), a collection of images depicting alienated grooms and brides in Taiwan, and in Double Happiness (2005), a brutal depiction of the business of selling brides in Vietnam.

The ties of family and of culture are also the themes of an ambitious project begun in 1992. For 24 years, Chang has photographed the bifurcated lives of Chinese immigrants in New York’s Chinatown, along with those of their wives and families back home in Fujian. A work in progress, China Town was hung at the National Museum of Singapore in 2008 as part of a mid-career survey, Doubleness. Chang’s investigation of the ties that bind one person to another draws on his own deeply divided immigrant experience.

© Chien-Chi Chang

Chien-Chi Chang’s Magnum Photos profile.


The main goal of the workshop is to give you an opportunity to work in real-life conditions with enough time to complete a thoughtful documentary assignment and therefore gain an in-depth insight into the documentary photography process. The guidance of a Magnum photographer will ensure the right direction of your development. Throughout the workshop you will be supported also by the workshopx editors and founders Aleksander Bochenek and Grzegorz Ostręga and other members of our team. And Krakow’s city life will provide a wide pool of great, usually unseen stories to photograph.

To enhance your learning and increase your performance, you will cover a well defined, meaningful local story to which you will have granted access. We will help you pick and define a good subject for your assignment well in advance of your arrival.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with us your own subject proposals, but if you do not have a particular story in mind, we will ask you to detail your fields of interest in order to find one that would suit you best. Whatever the final choice is, this will be a story that is both fitting your skills level and exciting for you.

One of the most important advantages you will have over other kinds of workshops will be a local assistant assigned exclusively to you for the entire duration of our event.

Your assistant will be your guide, translator and a person who will help you solve situations in environment foreign to you, but local for him or her. She or he will be also well informed about the subject of your assignment. This will allow you to focus on your work from the first day of the workshop.

The venue of the workshop will be Dada Boutique Hotel located in the heart of Kazimierz district. In this friendly space we will be meeting for the daily editing sessions, presentations and talks.


The workshop will start with an initial meeting, during which Chien-Chang will introduce you to his work and his methods. He will also analyze your portfolio and define the final shape of your assignment – its goals and methodology. After this first day meeting you will be ready to go shooting.

Over the following days you will work individually (with your assistant or, if you prefer, alone) in the field, photographing and gathering the information necessary to develop your story. You will also meet the tutor on a daily basis in the editing space at appointments that will be set according to the workshop’s schedule.

To maximize your time spent with Chien-Chi Chang, before joining him for the daily sessions, you will first meet the workshopx editors who will help you prepare for the meetings with the workshop’s leader.

During the editing sessions we will go through your photographs and discuss them extensively. This is when most of the learning happens – in a process in which you will gradually discover your personal style and vision, clarify your message and build the plot of your story.

You will also attend a series of Chien-Chi Chang’s lectures on his own work, photography and problems regarding the shooting process. In addition, there will be daily visual and editing exercises, and later audio and moving images will be introduced and incorporated for the possibility of making a multimedia.

On the final day you will edit the week’s work into a coherent visual narrative, sum up the whole workshop experience and discuss your future plans.

At the final stage of the workshop we will print selected photographs taken by the participants with the assistance of a professional ILFORD photo lab staff. The prints will be presented at a “pop-up” exhibition during our goodbye meeting.

There will be also a plenty of occasions to meet, exchange ideas and socialize with other participants, who are coming from all around the world.


You should have a good understanding of the photographic process and arrive with working knowledge of your equipment and ready to shoot. The workshop is limited to digital cameras – during the critique and photo editing sessions we will use electronic equipment only. Having your own laptop is required. You should be able to shoot RAW and export the files to a portable device on your own.

Despite our logistic support, you will be expected to fully engage in your work and motivate yourself to explore, take initiative and leave your comfort zones during this intensive week.

The workshop will be conducted in English.


Application is made by e-mail: Please include: full name, billing address, phone number and link to personal website (body of work) of the applicant. If you don’t have a website, please attach a zip file with 20 photographs (800px wide jpg images) and a personal statement. Applicants will be selected on the quality of their portfolio and a first-come, first-served basis.

The workshopx will be fully confirmed to happen when we reach the minimum number of 6 participants. This will be announced not later than on 26 April 2017.

IMPORTANT: By applying you agree to the workshop regulations.