The Sicily Streets and Easter Ritual Workshop

April 1-6, 2015 – Tuition $2,145

Student Galleries

The Sicily Streets and Ritual Easter Workshop takes students in the heart and soul of Sicily during the week of Easter. In the days before Easter, every town in Sicily performs traditional religious processions at Easter time. These remarkably emotional visual scenes combine Christian and pagan themes into unique rituals unlike anywhere in the world. They are both striking visual events and an authentic inroads and immersion into the traditions and pulse of everyday life in Sicily.

This weeklong workshop begins on the Wednesday before Holy Friday when the processions begin, and students will move from village to village throughout the week witnessing a range of processions, from intimate emotional processions in rural eastern villages to the more well known, larger processions in and around Sicily’s largest city and the workshop’s base, Palermo. Students will explore the fascinating island of Sicily in search of the special moments of passion, pain and joy that have accompanied the emotional Easter week in Sicily for hundreds of years. This is not simply a photographic journey, but a once-in-a-lifetime human and culinary experience. Students will be immersed in the crossroads of unique and extraordinary cultures and architecture, the warm, proud spirit of everyday Sicilians, and savor breathtakingly delicious Sicilian cuisine.

The workshop base is Palermo and each morning students will gather together for approximately three hours of lectures, presentations, photo critiques of student’s daily work, and discussion with Peter Turnley, and a number of Italian photographers and experts of life in Sicily. Peter will discuss various insights into technique, intent, composition, and the creative use of the camera in a relaxed atmosphere. He will review and critique each student’s portfolio, and works-in-process, discuss careers, getting published and offer each student an idea of how far along they are and how they can become even better photographers/visual communicators. Most importantly, he will help each student revel in the joy and wonderment of observation and seeing. Students will focus on how to use documentary photography as a tool for visual storytelling, illuminating the intimate moments of everyday reality. Students will be encouraged to photograph both the ordinary and extraordinary scenes of daily life and to embrace the challenge of photographing people. The other half of each day will be spent photographing the processions and everyday life in Sicily, either in groups in shared cars or on their own around the vibrant city of Palermo, with processions of varying size and motif taking place in different quarters of the city each day.


The tution for this workshop is $2,150. If you'd like to register for this workshop, please get in touch with Peter Turnley at and instructions will be provided for making a $250 deposit to hold a spot in the workshop. The balance of $1,900 will be due within 30 days of the workshop.

The student’s aim will be to create a personal photo essay based around a particular visual theme of their choosing. Peter will work with students in their choice of theme. The focus of this workshop is street photography and documenting the life and reality of this incredible region at its most dramatic time. Peter will help the students be aware of all of the amazing visual opportunities to witness and explore each day. Turnley is a master at photographing people and has vast experience in helping students relax and find a sense of purpose in the process of photographing people and daily life. He is a disciple of Henri-Cartier-Bresson, and encourages his students to search for “decisive moments” in everyday life.

Students will create and select final 15-image photo essay from their week of shooting around Sicily. Peter Turnley will help the students refine not only their photography, but gain a greater sense of creating a visual narrative, and how to conceptualize images into dynamic storytelling. Turnley will help you find the threads of commonality in your images that contribute to each person’s individual vision.

The Sicily Streets and Easter Rituals Workshop will offer an unforgettable opportunity to experience the unending surprises of Sicily in the midst of a truly unique and culturally significant annual event.


This is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son or daughter or partner. Non-photographic companions may join the group sessions and meals but are not involved in the critique or review sessions. Companion supplement is $250.


While students are welcome to stay anywhere in Palermo, which has a fast, and modern public transportation system and is easily traversed by foot, bicycle or taxi, Peter has booked the Centrale Palace Hotel. This is where the class will be held.

Students are however advised to make hotel reservations well in advance of the workshop as many hotels are fully booked or considerably raise their rates during the Easter week in Palermo. Compared to the much of Europe, hotel accommodations in Palermo are extremely affordable. The following are recommended hotels, all with good Internet access, and within close proximity to the workshop space.

Centrale Palace Hotel
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 327
Palermo 90134 PA
(+39)0 91 33 66 66

Giorgio's House Palermo

Via Mongitore
(+39) 34 72 21 48 23

Attic 12 Bed & Breakfast

Via dell'Autonomia Siciliana n.51
(+39) 33 33 10 05 46

Grand Hotel et Des Palmes Palermo

Via Roma 398
(+39) 09 16 02 81 11

Hotel Residenza D’Aragona

Via Ottavio D'Aragona, 25, 90139 Palermo Ph. (+39) 09 16 62 22 22


The most affordable way to reach Palermo is on any of the many daily flights available from numerous U.S. Cities to either Rome or Milan airports. From here, national carrier Alitalia and numerous other low-cost airlines have frequent flights to Palermo International Airport, Falcone Borsellino.

It is recommended that students rent a car for the week in order to be able to move freely to different villages in near Sicily during the week.

Camera Gear and Technology

Participants will need to bring a digital SLR or rangefinder camera, a laptop computer, and a thumb drive. Two camera bodies are recommended, with a minimum of at least one wide-angle lens such as a 17-35mm zoom, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, or 50mm. Students may bring longer lenses as well, but Peter will strongly encourage participants to use a wide angle lens in order to get close to the subject, which allows a sense of context, environment, and intimacy. A wide-angle lens that is relatively fast and has a wide aperture (1.4, 1.8, 2, or 2.8) is encouraged in order to photograph in low light situations. It is recommended that participants bring extra memory cards, extra camera batteries, and all necessary battery chargers for their equipment.

Students will need to know how to transfer the photographs they make each day onto their laptop computer. Each day, participants will bring a selection of their favorite photographs, or those they’d like to discuss, in a folder on a thumb drive, to the daily photo review and critique sessions. Students are encouraged to use image management software for this selection process. Peter recommends PhotoMechanic, however other programs such as Apple’s Aperture, or Adobe Lightroom may be used. PhotoMechanic can be downloaded for a free trial basis from

Students will be encouraged to choose from the outset if they want to show their work in color or in black and white, and they will be encouraged to stick to their choice of one of the other throughout the workshop.

Final Group Show and Portfolios of Past Work

At each photo critique and review session, Peter will work with each photographer to make a a “selects” folder of their most successful images. At the end of the week, Peter will select with each photographer from this overall “selects” folder, a final individual photo story of 15 images, which will be seen as part of a group final show during the last workshop session.

Each participant should also bring a portfolio of a selection of their past work. Approximately 30 photographs are recommended, and they may be brought in a folder on a thumb drive, or as a selection of prints. Students’ portfolios of past work will also be shared during the final session of the workshop.

Research and Preparation

Research and preparation are important parts of any endeavor, particularly adventures. There are many very thorough guidebooks about Palermo and Sicily itself. The internet is also a great resource to find out more about the processions.


The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop.. Aside from the two group meals, breakfasts, lunches and dinners are independent but students are encouraged to join each other in local restaurants and cafes. Students usually spend around $40 a day on meals.


The tuition for this workshop is $2,145. If you'd like to register for this workshop, please email Peter Turnley to receive instructions for making a $400 deposit to hold a spot in the workshop. The balance of $1,745 will be due within 30 days of the workshop.