The Canals of Venice Workshop

October 2-8, 2016 – Tuition $2,295

Student Galleries

The Canals of Venice Workshop led by international photojournalist Peter Turnley, will take his very successful street photography and photo essay approach to photography one step further, offering a wonderful seven-day learning and shooting experience in not only the streets but on the waters one of the world’s most beautiful and exciting cities, Venice. This is an ideal time to visit and photograph Venice-a time of year where there the daily life and weather is wonderfully conducive to interesting photographs, and also a time when the hordes of summer tourists visiting Venice are gone, and the city rediscovers its’ authenticity.

Students and teacher will meet approx. 3-4 hours a day as a group for lectures, photo presentations, photo critiques of the each students daily work, visits to museums and galleries, and discussion of successful techniques for making spontaneous, human images of the life of a city.

Each day, students will be explore on their own on foot and boat, the streets and canals of Venice and to shoot for at least half of each day. Students will be urged to try to discover a theme of life in Venice that interests them and to create a photo story around that theme. Peter Turnley will help them develop the themes and work and it is not important at all to know ahead of time what the theme will be. Discovering and developing a theme of interest will be one of the key aspects of the workshop. A theme can be very specific, or very broad, such as “Impressions of Venice”. Students are pushed to go beyond simply the picturesque and to discover a sense of the texture and the rhythm to the real life of this exciting and unique city.

As it is a city very different than many because of the canals and water and the way that this affects and influences the organization of the life of the city, students will hear some early lectures on some of the particularities of life in Venice. Students are pushed to photograph not only scenes and environments, but also the people and life of Venice. Those who are naturally timid about approaching people will learn techniques and be exposed to ideas and a spirit that will help them go forward with their photographic communication including photographing people. This should be a tremendously visual locale for making interesting, creative and powerful images.

Students focus on how to use documentary photography as a tool for visual storytelling and illuminating the intimate moments of everyday reality. Students are encouraged to photograph both the ordinary and extraordinary scenes of daily life and to not shy away from the challenge of photographing people. With Peter's guidance and support, students learn to overcome any hesitations and timidity that is limiting their work.

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 passionately encourages his students to hone their attention to the “decisive moments” everyday life. Students will create a final 15-image photo story/essay from their week of shooting in Venice. Peters helps the students refine not only their photography, but gain a greater sense of creating a narrative with images, and how to conceptualize images into dynamic storytelling. Turnley helps find the threads of commonality in your images that contribute to each person’s individual vision. This will be a tremendous opportunity to create a personal portfolio/body of work about one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

At the end of the workshop, there will be a class show where each student will present a photo story (essay) comprising 15 photographs of their work edited from their shoot during the seven days. Peter Turnley encourages a very warm and helpful spirit among the students in his workshops-there is no sense of competition-students are encouraged to take risks to make interesting photographs, and Peter conceives of this experience as a gift the student is offering themselves of a week photographing a truly unique city.


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.


Peter will likely be renting an apartment in the San Marcos area, which is where the workshop meetings will be held. The location of his apartment/classroom is: Location: Calle del Cafetier 30124 Vaporetto stop: S.Angelo Sestiere: San Marco

Students may choose a hotel of their liking and there are numerous hotels to be found on the Internet. Students are encouraged to choose a hotel within walking distance of St. Mark’s Square. It is also possible to rent very nice and affordable apartments in Venice for the week.

Some hotels we have found in the immediate area:

Palace Bonvecchiati Hotel

Calle Goldoni, 4488
041 528 5017

Hotel Ca Alvise

Piazza San Marco, 3673
041 520 5488

Hotel Bella Venezia

San Marco, 4710
041 528 8779

Hotel Al Codega Venice

Corte del Forno
041 2413288

San Gallo Hotel Venice

San Marco, 1093/A
041 522 7311

Gorizia A La Valigia Hotel Venice Hotel

San Marco, Calle Fabbri, 4696/A
041 522 3737

San Luca Hotel Venice

San Marco, 4671
041 296 0833


Plan to arrive on Saturday, or Sunday morning at the latest, to allow at least a day to get acclimated to Venice. The first workshop session will begin at 2pm on Sunday. Flights from the States are often in the evenings, which mean you could fly Friday evening, and make your plane or train connection to Venice on Saturday and give yourself an evening to get acclimated before the workshop begins on Sunday.

if you are flying into Venice, from the Marco Polo airport you can catch the bus to Piazzale Roma (Venice bus station) and then from Piazzale Roma catch the actv vaporetto (water bus) number 2 (S.Marco direction, through the Grand Canal) to S.Samuele boat stop.


The workshop ends at noon Saturday with a final show of the students’ final 15 image photo stories made during the week. Students are free to leave on Saturday afternoon, which would enable those needing to get back to the States to work on Monday the time to do so. Those wishing to stay in the region longer are free to continue their trip afternoon on Saturday.

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 Venice and extensive information about Venice to be found on the Internet.


The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop. You will be a guest of the workshop for a group opening dinner on Sunday night, and a final dinner on Friday night. 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. Past students usually have spent around $50 a day on meals.