Bijloke Summer Academy - Photography

‘Believing is Seeing’ - Developing a Critical Approach to Documentary Photography

08.09 – 12.09.18 | Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK), Ghent

This five-day masterclass with Max Pinckers and Mathieu Asselin focusses on developing a personal vision, critical attitude and individual approach towards the production of an artistic body of work within the context of documentary photography. Based on a series of one-on-one mentoring sessions and group discussions, participants will be encouraged to question notions of truth, authenticity, objectivity and the underlying belief systems that drive our hyper-visual culture today. 

The workshop can be divided into two segments: the introduction of a theoretical framework along with a series of practical exercises. Key aspects are the role of aesthetics and conventions in photography, the influence of fiction on our perception of reality through images, the value of a self-reflexive mode in relation to political themes, and how photobooks have shaped documentary practice today.

About the teachers

Mathieu Asselin (FR/VEN, ˚1973) works and lives between Arles in France and New York City. He began his career working on film productions in Caracas, Venezuela, but shaped his photography practice in the United States. His work mainly consists out of longterm investigative documentary projects, such as his latest book Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation, which received international acclaim, winning the Kassel FotoBook Festival Dummy Award in 2016, the Aperture Foundation First Book Award in 2017 and has been shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2018. Les Rencontre d'Arles in France, the Photographer’s Gallery in London, the Fotomuseum Antwerp in Belgium and the European Parlement in Strasbourg are amongst recent venues where his work has been exhibited.

Max Pinckers (BE, ˚1988) is an artist based in Brussels, Belgium. His oeuvre explores documentary modes and their inherent power structures through various visual storytelling strategies in the form of self-published artist publications and exhibition installations. His works include The Fourth Wall (2012), Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty (2014), Trophy Camera v0.9 (2017) and Margins of Excess (2018). He is currently a doctoral researcher and lecturer in the arts at the School of Arts / KASK, Ghent. Pinckers has been internationally awarded and has had major exhibitions at MOCAK in Poland, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the United States and the Centre for Fine Arts - Bozar in Belgium, among others. In 2015 he founded the independent publishing house Lyre Press and was recently among the Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Arts.

Guidelines for preparation

Workshop participants should be able to show a good level of photographic aptitude and a desire to learn. Candidates will be expected to develop a positive attitude towards critical self-reflexion, discussion and constructive critique. Students should prepare their portfolio presentations and artistic discourse ahead of the workshop. 

Costs and benefits

The tuition fee is €1.100 per participant, which includes five full days of classes with Pinckers and Asselin, access to equipment and materials in the academy, such as printers, cameras, scanners, studios, darkrooms, computers, etc. and basic food and drinks throughout the day. A minimum of 8 participants will be required to run the masterclass.

Date and location
8 -12 September 2018
KASK, Campus Bijloke – Marissalgebouw
Jozef Kluyskensstraat 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium


The deadline for applications is 1 September 2018. Please apply by sending us your CV, a short bio, a motivation letter and a digital portfolio or link to your personal website. The jury will make a selection based on the most qualitative applications, and the relationship to the content of the masterclass.

Apply here: