Review: Chobi Mela

Written on March 15, 2019, posted in News, Review

©Ron Haviv / VII Photo

February 28-March 9, 2019
Dhaka, Bangladesh

In 2019, the VII Academy sup­port­ed three work­shops and mul­ti­ple port­fo­lio reviews at the Chobi Mela fes­ti­val. Fifty-nine stu­dents received schol­ar­ships to par­tic­i­pate in one of three work­shops: “Your Photojournalism Survival Kit” with Ron Haviv; “Learning to See” with Christopher Morris; and “A Better Future For Independent Journalists” with Vaughan Smith. Eleven stu­dents attend­ed port­fo­lio review ses­sions with Gary Knight and Anush Babajanyan.

Chobi Mela was the first fes­ti­val of pho­tog­ra­phy in Asia, ini­ti­at­ed in in December 2000-January 2001 by Drik Picture Library Ltd. and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute. It is one of the most demo­graph­i­cal­ly inclu­sive pho­to fes­ti­vals in the world and has been the most sig­nif­i­cant pho­to­graph­ic event in Asia, held every two years in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Tenth edi­tion of Chobi Mela was held from February 28 to March 9, 2019.

Anush Babajanyan reviews a student's work during a portfolio review. © Tanvir Murad Topu
Anush Babajanyan reviews a stu­den­t’s work dur­ing a port­fo­lio review. © Tanvir Murad Topu


Your Photojournalism Survival Kit by Ron Haviv

March 4-5, 2019

Capturing a sto­ry demands an under­stand­ing of the issue at hand as well as the abil­i­ty to con­dense, pack­age, and pitch the sto­ry to a dis­trib­u­tor. Successful pho­to­jour­nal­ists make a job of nail­ing down the details before a shoot and being pre­pared for any­thing.

One of most impor­tant things that we as pho­tog­ra­phers need to do, right from the begin­ning, is think­ing out­side the box; how to think about things dif­fer­ent­ly in regards to the visu­al image and sto­ry is essen­tial to suc­cess. In “Your Photojournalism Survival Kit”, Ron Haviv brought three decades of expe­ri­ence in build­ing a pho­to­jour­nal­ism career on care­ful­ly laid ground­work to the class­room.

The work­shop con­cen­trat­ed on the fol­low­ing:

  • How to iden­ti­fy a cap­ti­vat­ing sto­ry and orga­nize a plan to pho­to­graph it.
  • How to mar­ket your work and build your career.
  • How to cre­ate a bud­get and a pitch let­ter.
  • How to plan for any even­tu­al­i­ty dur­ing the shoot, and cope with set­backs when they strike.

Twenty-nine stu­dents received schol­ar­ships to attend this work­shop.


Learning to See by Christopher Morris

March 1-4, 2019

How to cre­ate a per­son­al style is one of the often talked about issues in con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy. To define and sep­a­rate your vision in a very crowd­ed indus­try has always been extreme­ly chal­leng­ing. This work­shop helped stu­dents set out on a path to help define their vision by expos­ing the group to what Christopher feels are the com­mon mis­takes that many work­ing pho­tog­ra­phers are mak­ing today, high­light­ing the suc­cess­es of what makes a pho­to­graph stand the test of time and find­ing the jew­els and mas­ter­pieces in each student’s work. Christopher exposed the group to the dif­fer­ent forms of pho­to­jour­nal­ism that are preva­lent today and and led dis­cus­sions about every­thing from ethics to cre­ative pho­to­graph­ic styles.

Ten stu­dents received schol­ar­ships to attend this work­shop.

©Ron Haviv / VII Photo
©Ron Haviv / VII Photo