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Photography Workshops at the ESBA Algiers

Workshops at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts, showcasing the works of eight students.
By Andreas Rost | Jun 2005

In conjunction with the exhibition "Die ganze Stadt - La ville entière - The Entire City," organized by the Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa) in cooperation with the Goethe Institute and German Embassy of Algeria, I was asked to conduct a photography workshop at the Ecole Superieur des Beaux Arts Algiers (ESBA) in November 2003. In the context of this exhibition of artistic documentary photography, the workshop was meant to have the "documentary" as its theme. Considering the special conditions in Algiers (the official ban on photographing in public spaces, for example), I placed the main focus on documenting everyday life, one’s own family and friends. Using examples of international contemporary photography, I gave the students an overview of photographic working methods. As it turned out, a large portion of the course participants had never used a camera or worked in a darkroom before.

After examining the first photographs, individual concepts were developed for each of the 14 participants. Evaluating and discussing their works in a protected atmosphere was very important for the students. That, as a rule, more students attended the classes than were registered for the workshop pointed to a great need for information on international contemporary photography. The students especially valued being looked after individually and having their work corrected, something they had never experienced before in this form.

The wide variety of series based on the theme of "everyday life" created during the course were shown in an exhibition at the school. A half year later, together with the students, the concept of this show was elaborated on during a second workshop. Shown here were slide projections, computer presentations, installations, as well as traditionally-hung photographs. Thanks to the support of the firm of Agfa it was also possible to publish a catalog.

The experience gained with these two workshops allowed me to realize a third one at the ESBA in 2005 – a two-month workshop sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), for which I dared a far more complex, photographic theme with the students. I asked them which images they carried in themselves, where these came from, and requested that they work with these images. I wanted to encourage the participants not to adapt to ideological guidelines, not to reproduce social ideals, or to use any photographic trends found on the market; but instead, to orient themselves to their own world. The works depicted here make evident the different ways in which the students responded to my questions. I’m already pleased about the fourth and closing workshop, scheduled for 2006, in which we plan to work together on developing a form for presentations and exhibitions.


Andreas Rost

* 1966 in Weimar. 1988 - 1993 Studied photography at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst Leipzig (Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig). Since 1994 works as a freelance photographer in Berlin.

(From the German: Karl Johnson)

Workshops at the
ESBA in Algiers:

5 - 20 November 2003
20 Febr. - 7 March 2004
20 Febr. - 20 April 2005
January 2006

Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts

Parc Ziryab
Boulevard Krim Belkacem

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