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Recruiting Art in Service of Real Life Stories

Instructor: Amber Bracken
6:30 – 9:00 pm Eastern via Zoom
Eight Wednesdays beginning September 29, 2021

Course fee: $600
Limited to eleven students
Scholarship information


Photo by Amber Bracken

Photo by Amber Bracken. Veterans carry an American and a Mohawk Warrior Society flag through the storm at the Oceti Sakowin Standing Rock encampment. 

Class Description 

If you change your story, you change your world. Our stories inform how we understand ourselves, the world around us, and the choices we make — but not all stories get the same consideration. By recognizing the power in your documentary work, and critically engaging with the who, what and how of our storytelling, we can push back against compassion fatigue, and ensure we are worthy stewards of people's stories. We can and should be relentless in our pursuit of beauty, it is necessary in a fraught world, but in documentary photography aesthetics can never be allowed to interfere with truth. In this hands-on course, we will explore how to effectively recruit art in service of real life stories.

Over eight weeks, we will address the process of narrative non-fiction photography, from concept, to execution, and assembling the narrative. Through instruction, discussion and critique, students will learn how to assess their relationship to a story for better preparation, how to be effective in the field, and how to borrow concepts from fiction, like character and plot, to craft more effective true stories. We will also discuss practical considerations for sharing completed work.

This program is directed towards intermediate photographers who will bring a new or in- progress body of work to progress throughout the course. Student's will present work and together we will consider how concepts can enrich their existing story, and inform new work they create during the course.

Michael Snyder

Amber BrackenA lifelong Albertan, Amber photographs primarily across western North America to represent the global issues in her own backyard. Her work explores intersections of race, environment, culture and colonization. She specializes in invested relationship based and historically contextualized storytelling that centres people in their own stories. Recent work has focused on intergenerational trauma in Cree youth, Wet'suwet'en reoccupation and land rights fights, the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in homelessness, and interrogating the impact of race in her own family. Select clients include National Geographic, The Globe and Mail, The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, Maclean's, ESPN, and The New York Times. Select recognition includes The World Press, The Marty Forscher Fellowship and an ICP Infinity Award. 



Registration Fee
$600 Total
Option to pay 25% deposit now with balance due one week before course starts.

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