The photographic narrative -- alone or in concert with other images -- can convey potent impressions about the world we live in.

Whether documenting a specific community, contemplating an interpersonal relationship, or capturing the highlights of a political or historical drama as it unfolds; visual stories have been a central theme in photography since its inception. Many photographers are talented shooters but lack basic understanding of how to creatively build a narrative out of their own images.

Using Maine as our sketch-pad, we will spend our week together, both photographing and in intensive critique. Students will learn how to implement various editing and sequencing techniques and gain a strong foundation of how to organize their work into powerful visual narratives be it documentary, or fictional imagery. The class will ruminate on how to develop images into coherent edits for portfolios, exhibitions, book projects, and clients.

Discussions and critiques will encourage participants to consider the use of text, audio, video, book design software, and other media technology in collaboration with their photographic practice. Our intensive week together will foster a deeper understanding of the visual story.


Karen Marshall

New York photographer Karen Marshall documents social issues. By focusing on the psychological lives of her subjects, she has worked on a series of visual stories that contemplate familial relationships and convey ideas about people and place within the cultural landscape.

Her seminal study, Between Girls: A Passage To Womanhood, articulates the coming of age of a group of urban middle class teenagers, following them from high school into adulthood 30 years later. Her interest in establishing new frameworks for the documentary genre has led Marshall to create an exhibition based on this project that uses traditional black and white photographs, book making, video and audio in conjunction with community programming. 

 In her documentary journey Marshall also has witnessed the struggling identity of a group of Navajo Indians and the demise of their earth-based culture in Caretakers of the Earth: Navajo Resistance and Relocation. She often directs her camera at family life, including her Pennsylvania Dutch in-laws’ clan in a series titled Pennsylvania In-Laws. In Still, Standing, a series begun in 2013, she explores the Polish landscape that her grandparents left behind when they immigrated to the United States in the early 1920's. 

 Marshall is the recipient of artist fellowships and sponsorships through the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as grants and support from private foundations. Her photographs have been exhibited in the United States, the Philippines, British Columbia, Israel, Colombia, and China, and are part of several collections, including the Feminist Artbase at The Brooklyn Museum. Her images have appeared in publications in the United States, Europe, and Asia. 

Her work as a freelance photographer spans many genres. Marshall’s distinctive style captures meaningful moments within a narrative frame. She has photographed for editorial, corporate, non-profit, and advertising clients for more than twenty-five years in Europe, South Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Marshall is an expert at visual storytelling with a thriving consulting business assisting photographers, foundations, and small companies in the creation of visual narratives. 

Marshall who holds an MFA in New Media (Transart Institute/Donau Universitat Krems, Austria) lectures frequently and is a committed mentor. She is a seminar leader in the fulltime Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Program at The International Center of Photography where she has been on the faculty for the past 20 years. She is an Associate Professor (Adjunct) at New York University, mentors MFA candidates at the Maine Media Workshops, and teaches independent workshops in the United States, China, Germany, and Italy.

Course Dates

Aug 6 to Aug 12



Class Size