By land and sea, move beyond the picturesque to find your unique view of Venice

Jim Sandman The Canals of Venice Workshop led by international photojournalist Peter Turnley, will take his very successful street photography and photo essay approach to photography one step further, offering a wonderful seven-day learning and shooting experience in not only the streets but on the waters one of the world’s most beautiful and exciting cities, Venice.  This is an ideal time to visit and photograph Venice-a time of year where there the daily life and weather is wonderfully conducive to interesting photographs, and also a time when the hordes of summer tourists visiting Venice are gone, and the city rediscovers its’ authenticity.

Students and teacher will meet approx. 3-4 hours a day as a group for lectures, photo presentations, photo critiques of the each students daily work, visits to museums and galleries, and discussion of successful techniques for making spontaneous, human images of the life of a city.

Each day, students will be explore on their own on foot and boat, the streets and canals of Venice and to shoot for at least half of each day. Students will be urged to try to discover a theme of life in Venice that interests them and to create a photo story around that theme. Peter Turnley will help them develop the themes and work and it is not important at all to know ahead of time what the theme will be.  Discovering and developing a theme of interest will be one of the key aspects of the workshop. A theme can be very specific, or very broad, such as “Impressions of Venice”. Students are pushed to go beyond simply the picturesque and to discover a sense of the texture and the rhythm to the real life of this exciting and unique city.

As it is a city very different than many because of the canals and water and the way that this affects and influences the organization of the life of the city, students will hear some early lectures on some of the particularities of life in Venice. Students are pushed to photograph not only scenes and environments, but also the people and life of Venice. Those who are naturally timid about approaching people will learn techniques and be exposed to ideas and a spirit that will help them go forward with their photographic communication including photographing people. This should be a tremendously visual locale for making interesting, creative and powerful images.

Students  focus on how to use documentary photography as a tool for visual storytelling and illuminating the intimate moments of everyday reality. Students are encouraged to photograph both the ordinary and extraordinary scenes of daily life and to not shy away from the challenge of photographing people. With Peter's guidance and support, students learn to overcome any hesitations and timidity that is limiting their work. 

Turnley is a master at photographing people and has vast experience in helping students relax and find a sense of purpose in the process of photographing people and daily life. He is a disciple of Henri-Cartier-Bresson, and passionately encourages his students to hone their attention to the “decisive moments” everyday life. Students will create a final 15-image photo story/essay from their week of shooting in Venice. Peters helps the students refine not only their photography, but gain a greater sense of creating a narrative with images, and how to conceptualize images into dynamic storytelling. Turnley helps find the threads of commonality in your images that contribute to each person’s individual vision.  This will be a tremendous opportunity to create a personal portfolio/body of work about one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

At the end of the workshop, there will be a class show where each student will present a photo story (essay) comprising 15 photographs of their work edited from their shoot during the seven days. Peter Turnley encourages a very warm and helpful spirit among the students in his workshops-there is no sense of competition-students are encouraged to take risks to make interesting photographs, and Peter conceives of this experience as a gift the student is offering themselves of a week photographing a truly unique city.


This is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son or daughter or partner. Non-photographic companions may join the group sessions and meals but are not involved in the critique or review sessions. Companion supplement is $250.


Peter will likely be renting an apartment in the San Marcos area, which is where the workshop meetings will be held.

Students may choose a hotel of their liking (NOT included in the tuition costs) and there are numerous hotels to be found on the Internet.  Students are encouraged to choose a hotel within walking distance of St. Mark’s Square.

Some hotels we have found in the immediate area:

Palace Bonvecchiati Hotel - Calle Goldoni, 4488, Venice - 041 528 5017

Ca Alvise, Venice - Piazza San Marco, 3673, Venice - 041 520 5488

Hotel Bella Venezia - San Marco, 4710, Venice - 041 528 8779

Hotel Al Codega Venice - Corte del Forno, Venice - 041 2413288

San Gallo Hotel Venice - San Marco, 1093/A, Venice - 041 522 7311

Gorizia A La Valigia Hotel Venice Hotel - San Marco, Calle Fabbri, 4696/A, Venice - 041 522 3737

San Luca Hotel Venice - San Marco, 4671, Venice - 041 296 0833


Plan to arrive on Saturday, or Sunday morning at the latest, to allow at least a day to get acclimated to Venice. The first workshop session will begin at 2pm on Sunday. Flights from the States are often in the evenings, which mean you could fly Friday evening, and make your plane or train connection to Venice on Saturday  and give yourself an evening to get acclimated before the workshop begins on Sunday.

if you are flying into Venice, from the Marco Polo airport you can catch the bus to Piazzale Roma (Venice bus station) and then from Piazzale Roma catch the actv vaporetto (water bus) number 2 (S.Marco direction, through the Grand Canal) to S.Samuele boat stop.


The workshop ends at noon Saturday with a final show of the students’ final 15 image photo stories made during the week. Students are free to leave on Saturday afternoon, which would enable those needing to get back to the States to work on Monday the time to do so. Those wishing to stay in the region longer are free to continue their trip afternoon on Saturday.


This workshop is conducted using digital cameras. Students are encouraged to use a 35 mm digital camera. You will need to bring a laptop computer to Venice and will need to know how to download your digital images each evening to a folder so that your days work can be brought to class the next day on either a flash drive, external hard drive, or disc, for review each day with Peter Turnley.

What to Bring

Besides your SLR digital cameras, students are asked to bring along a body of creative work to share, it can be a printed portfolio, a digital card of images, or any sort of visual set of work. Your portfolio can be prints or digital images. The workshop will have an LCD projector and there will be a final show of all of the students work during the final session.

Camera Gear

A digital SLR camera is required. Students may work with a high end point and shoot camera such as a Canon G10. Two bodies are recommended, with a minimum of at least one wide-angle lens, such as a 17-35mm zoom, or 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, or 50mm lens. In order to shoot comfortably in low light situations, it will be preferable that students have a wide-angle lens that is relatively fast and has a wide aperture such as 1.4 1.8. 2 or 2.8. Bring several memory cards (at least 1 gigabyte cards are recommended), extra batteries and necessary battery chargers. A laptop should have image management software, such as Apple’s Aperture, Adobe’s Light Room or, as Peter suggests, PhotoMechanic, which can be downloaded, free, on a trial basis from A back-up system for storing each day’s work is also required. This can be your laptop, a portable external hard drive storage device, flash drive, or discs. Additionally, you will need means of transmitting your daily selection of edited images in a folder to Peter for review; flash drives are the most practical, but you can also use an external hard drive, or DVD.

Research and Preparation

Research and preparation are important parts of any endeavor, particularly adventures. There are many very thorough guidebooks about Venice and extensive information about Venice to be found on the Internet.


The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop. You will be a guest of the workshop for a group opening dinner on Sunday night, and a final dinner on Friday night. Aside from the two group meals, breakfasts, lunches and dinners are independent but students are encouraged to join each other in local restaurants and cafes. Past students usually have spent around $50 a day on meals.

For more information about teacher Peter Turnley, please consult his personal website:

Turnley has published 5 books of his work:


McClellan Street

In Times of War and Peace

Beijing Spring

Moments of Revolution

This promises to be an exceptional experience for any photographer wishing to create a portfolio/body of work, on the life and scenes of an extraordinary city in the world


Terms and Conditions for Destinations Workshops

1. Reservations & Payments

A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop.  Final payment in full is due 60 days prior  to the start date of  your workshop unless stated differently in the course description..  Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.

2. Cancellations

All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark, or upon receipt of an email providing notice of cancellation. If you provide written notice of cancellation  60 days or more prior to the departure date for your workshop, your deposit, and any additional payment, will be refunded in full, less an administration fee of $55.00. If you provide written notice of cancellation less than 60 days prior to the departure date for your workshop, your full deposit will be forfeited; any additional funds paid to Maine Media for the workshop will be refunded.  No refunds of any amount will be made to persons who (i) fail to provide written notice of cancellation, or who (ii) begin a workshop, but fail to complete the workshop.

3. Basis of Rates

All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

4. Insurance

It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries or illnesses.

5. Itinerary Changes

The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.

6.  Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for all travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered. If you are a U.S. citizen, Maine Media will notify you if your destination requires a visa.  Non-U.S. citizens are required to contact the appropriate consular office for entry requirements for their workshop. Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.

7. Medical Issues

All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.

8. Liability Waiver

Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.   Click here to download.

9. Responsibility & Photography

To ensure a safe photographic experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive; or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop. 

Sign and Return Waiver Form



Peter Turnley

Peter Turnley is renown for his photography of the realities of the human condition. His photographs have been featured on the cover of Newsweek 43 times and are published frequently in the world’s most prestigious publications. He has worked in over 90 countries and has witnessed most major stories of international geo-political and historic significance in the last thirty years. His photographs draw attention to the plight of those who suffer great hardships or injustice. He also affirms with his vision the many aspects of life that are beautiful, poetic, just, and inspirational.

Turnley’s photographs have been featured in Newsweek, Harper’s, Stern, Paris Match, Geo, LIFE, National Geographic, The London Sunday Times, VSD, Le Figaro, Le Monde, New Yorker, and DoubleTake. Peter Turnley worked on contract for the Newsweek Magazine from 1986-2001 and as a contributing editor/photographer with Harper’s Magazine from 2003-2007. His work is frequently published in photo essay form in magazines, on major television networks such as CNN, ABC’s “Nightline”, and in online publications, such as The Online Photographer. Turnley’s photographs have been published the world over and have won many international awards including the Overseas Press Club Award for Best Photographic Reporting from Abroad, numerous awards and citations from World Press Photo, and the University of Missouri’s Pictures of the Year competition.

Turnley has photographed most of the world’s conflicts of the last decade including the Gulf War-1991, the Balkans (Bosnia), Somalia, Rwanda, South Africa, Chechnya, Haiti, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the war in Iraq-2003, and also maintains an ongoing documentation of the major refugee populations of the world. He witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989, the liberation of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid in South Africa. He was in New York at “Ground Zero” on Sept 11, 2001, New Orleans during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Haiti after the tragic earthquake of 2011, and Egypt during the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He is currently working on a long-term project on daily life in Cuba, “Cuba-A Grace of Spirit”. Turnley has produced portraits and covered many of the modern world’s most influential people: Obama, Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin, Mandela, Arafat, Schroeder, Ceausescu, Gaddafi, Chirac, Clinton, Reagan, Bush Sr, Lady Diana, and Pope Jean Paul II among others.

Since 1975, Turnley has also continually photographed the life of Paris, his adopted home. Turnley was born in the U.S., but has lived more than half his life in Paris. His tender, humorous, and sensual view of Paris, offers distinct contrast to the stark realities depicted in his photojournalism. He has photographed the extensively the life of Paris these past 35 years. Turnley worked as the assistant to the famous French photographer Robert Doisneau in Paris in the early 1980’s.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Sorbonne of Paris, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques of Paris, Turnley has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from the New School of Social Research in New York and St. Francis College of Indiana. He received a Nieman Fellowship from Harvard for the academic year 2000-2001.

Peter Turnley also teaches photography workshops on street photography and the photo-essay in Paris, Cuba, New York, Mumbai, Venice, Sicily, and Lisbon.

He presently lives in both New York and Paris, and has previously published six books of his work: French Kiss – A Love Letter to Paris, Beijing Spring, Moments of Revolution, In Times of War and Peace, Parisians, and McClellan Street.

To view a video of Peters work, Moments of the Human Condition,  plase visit

Course Dates

Oct 2 to Oct 8




Class Size