* * Due to travel restrictions imposed in response to the spread of the Corona Virus, Simon’s workshop dates had to be rescheduled from this early Spring (March 27-30) to this fall. Thank you for your understanding * *

The art of landscape photography goes far beyond seductive panoramas or topographical documentation. It can, and perhaps always should, be infused with other layers of meaning giving voice for instance to the traumas of the past, or pointing to the imperceptible pull of present-day transformations. Ultimately, its message should comment on how complex and misunderstood – or overlooked – the environment we live in often appears to us. That critical unveiling involved when photographing vast spaces and their histories is what can make photographic landscapes artistic. Just as William Eggleston famously declared to be ‘at war with the obvious’, meaningful landscape photography demands looking at the world as battlefields of conflicting realities.

Shifting up your landscape and documentary practice closer to such an integral vision and understanding is precisely what the work of legendary photographer and National Geographic contributor Simon Norfolk has achieved to great international acclaim all around the world for over twenty-five years. Join him and a talented small group of documentary photographers (12 max) on beautiful Bowen Island in September as he spends 3 (and a half) days sharing his methods and unique breadth of experience designing, researching and shooting groundbreaking projects and monographs. Under his guidance and in his expert company, participants will also spend several evening and morning hours producing new images in the field to be critiqued as a group.

© Cover image: Simon Norfolk, The Lewis Glacier, Mt. Kenya, 1963 (A), 2014. From the series When I am Laid in Earth.

© Simon Norfolk, Controlled destruction by the Halo Trust of US cluster bombs dropped in error on the civilian village and orchards of Aqa Ali-Khuja on the Shomali Plain, north of Kabul, May 2002. From the series Afghanistan: Chronotopia.

© Simon Norfolk, Former teahouse next to the wreckage of the old, Soviet-era ‘Afghan Exhibition of Economic and Social Achievements’ in Kabul. Balloons were illegal under the Taliban, December 2001. From the series Afghanistan: Chronotopia.

© Simon Norfolk, BBC Relay Station, 2003. From the series Ascension Island: The Panopticon.

© Simon Norfolk + Klaus Thymann, Shroud 8, 2018. From the series Shroud.


Born: 1963 in Lagos, Nigeria.
Lives in Hove, UK and Kabul, Afghanistan.
Simon Norfolk is a landscape photographer whose work over twenty years has been themed around a probing and stretching of the meaning of the word ‘battlefield’ in all its forms. As such, he has photographed in some of the world’s worst war-zones and refugee crises, but is equally at home photographing supercomputers used to design military systems or the test-launching of nuclear missiles. Time’s layeredness in the landscape is an ongoing fascination of his. His work has been widely recognised: he has won The Discovery Prize at Les Rencontres d’Arles in 2005; The Infinity Prize from The International Center of Photography in 2004; and he was winner of the European Publishing Award, 2002. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the Citibank Prize now known as the Deutsche Börse Prize and in 2013 he won the Prix Pictet Commission. He has won multiple World Press Photo and Sony World Photography awards.
He has produced four monographs of his work including ‘Afghanistan: Chronotopia’ (2002) which was published in five languages; ‘For Most Of It I Have No Words’ (1998) about the landscapes of genocide; and ‘Bleed’ (2005) about the war in Bosnia. His most recent is ‘Burke + Norfolk; Photographs from the War in Afghanistan.’ (2011).
He has work held in major collections such as The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Getty in Los Angeles as well as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Wilson Centre for Photography and the Sir Elton John Collection. His work has been shown widely and internationally from Brighton to Ulaanbaatar and in 2011 his ‘Burke + Norfolk’ work was one of the first ever photography solo shows at Tate Modern in London.
He has been described by one critic as ‘the leading documentary photographer of our time. Passionate, intelligent and political; there is no one working in photography that has his vision or his clarity.’ He is currently running at a pretty nifty Number 44 on ‘The 55 Best Photographers of all Time. In the History of the World. Ever. Definitely.’



I’m pleased to be able to offer a three-day Masterclass through FOTOFILMIC on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver from Friday September 25 to Sunday the 27th, 2020. I rarely come to North America, I hope you’ll like to join me.

In this workshop we will discuss, share & learn about the development of your long-term photographic projects. I’m good at visual narrative and storytelling and I want to help with crafting your stories. Together we’ll work on (re)conceptualizing and clarifying your project ideas; making them sharper and more effective. I get shown a lot of work that is pretty good but not often do I see work that is really special. I think a lot of us can get up to a fairly good level (even a fairly good professional level) but don’t know how to make that final step up to getting published/assigned/taken on by galleries etc. How do you give your project that extra sophistication, the sharpness that makes it stand out from the rest, the lucidity that wins awards or gets published in top-flight outlets?

I want to show you how I craft my projects and how I layer them up with ideas to make them multifaceted. I’ll show you a little (very little) of my old work, some newer, unseen projects but more importantly I’ll show you how I research and clarify an idea and the influences I bring to bear not just on what I photograph but why  I make my pictures look the way they do.

The class is aimed at photographers with some experience, but are now ready to shift up to a higher level. Ideally, you’ve begun or have the sketch for a larger body of work or a more serious project.

We’ll also go out shooting one late evening followed by a very early morning (that’s the routine I stick to when I’m on assignment) and we’ll have the chance to review the work made. 

Don’t underestimate how much you will learn from the rest of the class; I’ll try to stream the entrants so that everybody is about the same level but also everybody has something to teach each other. The class will be limited to just 10 and I expect it to be friendly and supportive as well as lively and challenging.

Three days isn’t long, I’ll make myself available on the 4th day (Mon 28th) in the morning to further look over your own long-term projects if you like.

Simon Norfolk


Nestled in spectacular Howe Sound, North America’s southernmost fjord surrounded by towering peaks that rise straight out of the sea, Bowen Island is Vancouver’s natural playground since the 1900s. Dubbed Happy Isle in the 1950s, this enchanted island is known to Vancouverites for its exceptional serenity and laid-back country living easily accessible just a short 20-minute ferry ride from the city.

Today Bowen Island attracts visitors from all around the globe for its lakes, beaches, crown forest lands and beautiful hiking trails up to Mount Gardner (2350 feet) offering stunning panoramic views of Howe Sound. Visitors can also enjoy ‘Snug Cove’, its tiny port and historical marina revitalized with an array of attractions, historic old turn-of-the-century buildings, boutiques, galleries and boardwalks.



$895USD (regular)
$795USD (student and recent graduate)


2 SEATS LEFT, open on a first-come, first-served basis


Applications are free of charge (no fee). A maximum of 10 participants will be selected to attend, guaranteeing optimal individual attention as well as safe social distancing. All remaining open seats will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. The workshop is open to both film and digital photographers.


Full tuition payment will be required upon being selected to confirm participation. 


103-555 Prometheus Pl
Bowen Island, BC V0N 1G2


Flights and accommodations are not included. Detailed transportation directions &  lodging information will be provided upon registration.

Complimentary coffee, tea and small snacks will be provided every morning.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, withdrawal/cancelation notices have been allowed up to 4 weeks before the workshop on Friday, Aug.28, 2020 at the latest to receive a refund. Please note that with the exception of Coronavirus related withdrawals, all deposits/full registrations remain otherwise subject to a  $250 USD cancelation fee*.

Cancelation requests received after Aug.28, 2020 will not be accepted but fully transferable tuition credit will be allowed toward any other future workshop, seminar or retreat for 2 full years (until Sept. 30, 2022).

* In the event the workshop was not meeting minimum enrolment or needed to be canceled for any reason (including Coronavirus developments), deposits will be refunded in full (no cancelation fee retained). Please also note FotoFilmic cannot be held responsible for any traveling expense refunds if the workshop gets canceled. Purchasing travel insurance is therefore recommended.


For any questions or inquiries, please contact FotoFilmic Co-Director Bastien Desfriches Doria directly at

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