An Invitation to Photographic Storytelling

Harvey Schipper

Friday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm


3 weeks: $85 members/$106 non-members

Modern digital technology frees us to be artists and storytellers first, technicians second. This highly interactive three-day seminar is about the expression of inner vision through photography.

In each session, we will examine (and create) images, and ask the question, “What is the story I am trying to tell? How did I come to that point of view? How did I compose the image? What elements add to or detract from the story? Are there some simple (technical) tricks we can employ to make our story telling better?

The great photographic storyteller becomes intimate with his or her surroundings. When we are deeply resonant with what we experience it becomes possible to tell a large story in a single image. Or a small series.

We’ll start with the building blocks of an image: noticing the light; lines; colour and form.

We then build on those foundations to consider: perspective, mood, and mystery and revelation.

Finally, we’ll put it all together exploring: stories in an instant; and stories over time.

Each session will mix examples from my experience with the results of students’ explorations based on exercises and homework from one session to the next.

This course is built around Dr. Schipper’s book:  Of Light, An invitation to photographic storytelling. Interested students may purchase his book from

About two weeks before the course begins, we’ll send a brief assignment for the first session.

Student Level:

Beginner to advanced photographer. It helps to be comfortable with a camera. However, the seminar presumes neither advanced equipment, nor technical wizardry. This is about creativity and storytelling, not technique. Any previous artistic creative experience is a decided asset.

Student Supply List:

A camera. Each participant will prepare a small portfolio of photographs based on each session which we will then share and critique. They can be in electronic format, preferably on a memory stick, though small prints are workable.

Dr. Schipper is Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.  He has travelled the world in the cause of cancer control as an engineer and physician. His camera has been a constant companion, a tool to focus his vision and impart his story. His photography has animated lectures, and become widely recognized as photographic art. He has mounted solo shows in Toronto and Winnipeg.