Documenting Human Rights and the Artistic Practice

A Documentary Workshop with Jon Lowenstein and Carlos Javier Ortiz

Workshop Location: Leica Store San Francisco

When: May 19 - 21, 2023

Workshop Fee: $1,299

Other details:

  • This workshop is intended for intermediate to advanced photographers. Participants are expected to have a working knowledge of their cameras and have an interest in visual storytelling.
  • Max amount of participants - 15 
  • Lunch will be provided
  • All health, travel, and other potential liabilities are the responsibility of the student and should be covered adequately by their own insurance.
  • Cancellation Policy - full refund if cancellation is filed within 30 days. Half refund 14 days out.

Those who reserve their spot before 4/8/2023 save 10% off of the full price. 


Today, Documentary Photography is flourishing around the world between the linear narrative of storytelling on important issues to the more conceptual personal presentation approach. This is a glorious time to undertake and create documentary projects.

Leica Store San Francisco is excited to host a three-day workshop this spring. In collaboration with photographers Jon Lowenstein and Carlos Javier Ortiz, this workshop will examine the innovative approaches to successfully conceptualize, research, plan, and carry out a documentary project of substance.

The format of the workshop will focus on the use of still and motion imagery to create the visual narrative, advocacy, and understanding of how to better collaborate with creative partners such as editorial staff and non-profits. Additional topics covered will be grant writing, editing skills, along with funding proposals and research and effective distribution models. During this workshop, there will also be intensive reviews and editing of participants' existing work.

It is highly recommended that those who attend the workshop bring either a project in progress or an idea/concept that they are passionate about and would like to apply tried and true methodologies to help them get their project off the ground.

By the end of the workshop, each student will walk away with greater philosophical and practical knowledge of how to propel and present their ideas and personal project proposals to a higher level of personal artistic expression, social impact, and an overall deeper level of viewer emotional involvement.

Carlos Javier Ortiz and Jon Lowenstein have over 20 years of longstanding friendship based on mutual respect and artistic collaboration.

Workshop Itinerary

Afternoon Start time

Meet and greet between participants and instructors

An afternoon of photography in San Francisco. This will be an opportunity for participants to get to know one another, better understand each attendee's goals, and to advise on photo technique

Early evening wrap


Introductions by the instructors and a review of the participants projects and ideas

A morning critique to better understand the goals for the class

Visual approaches and how to get started on a new project

Basics of documentary work: Fresh approaches to the genre and alignment to personal vision

Presentation by Instructor


Human rights - community respect and responsibility

Ethics of photography - leave the community better than how you arrived.

Afternoon presentation

Afternoon critique - help define topic and personal goals for class



Lesson on Advocacy

Funding and the importance of grant writing, research, and editing


Final Edit 

How to approach different markets and reach out to clients

How to approach different markets

Presentation strategies 

Strategies to find collaborators to produce and disseminate your project

Slide show projections of final edits


Carlos Javier Ortiz is a director, cinematographer, documentary photographer and visual artist who focuses on urban life, gun violence, racism, poverty, and marginalized communities. In 2021, he received a National Geographic Explorer fellowship and in 2016, Carlos received a Guggenheim Fellowship for film/video. Carlos Javier’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in a variety of venues including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts; the International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY, and the Library of Congress. In addition, his photos were used to illustrate Ta-Nehisi Coates' The Case for Reparations (2014) Atlantic Magazine. His films "We All We Got" and "A Thousand Midnights" have screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, Los Angeles International Film Festival, AFI Film Festival, PBS Online Film Festival and Art Basel, Black and Blue, and Stadtkino Basel cinema. Carlos Javier has taught at Northwestern University, the University of California, Berkeley and an undergraduate course workshop at the University of Chicago on the intersection of the arts and human rights. He lives in Chicago, IL, and Berkeley, CA.

Jon Lowenstein specializes in long-term, in-depth documentary explorations that confront the realms of power, poverty, and violence. Through the combination of filmmaking, photography, experiential writing and personal testimonials, he strives for unsparing clarity by revealing the subjects of history that lack voice. Lowenstein’s commitment to social justice through community engagement runs both deep and long. Lowenstein has been recognized widely for his work exploring migration, wealth inequality and community resilience including being named a Guggenheim Fellow in photography, National Geographic Explorer, a TED Senior Fellow and the. He won the Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize. He is a Nikon European Ambassador and he is the founding member of the NOOR DOCUMENTARY FOUNDATION US and owner of NOOR Images cooperative based in Amsterdam. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the world and is collected in many institutions.


Contact us about this workshop.

415-801-5066 | [email protected]