Experiences

Profile of VisionWorkshops Founder Kirsten Elstner

Profile of VisionWorkshops Founder Kirsten Elstner

What gave you the idea to start VisionWorkshops? Before I founded VisionWorkshops I was working as a photographer with The New York Times and the International Red Cross. I got the idea to put the camera in the hands of the youth who were the subject of our photographs so that they could tell the — Read more…

NGPC - Bahamas

NGPC – Bahamas

In partnership with the US Embassy Nassau and The Bahamas National Drug Council, 20 students representing public and private schools on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Crooked Island were selected to participate in this Photo Camp based on the merit of their entries to the “Youth Against Drugs” Essay, Rap and Poetry contest.

A Special Thank You...

A Special Thank You…

As CMJF President and Chairman of our VisionWorkshops Board, Hank Libby, has the unique position of thoughtfully bringing together like-minded organizations in our community that, together, make a more positive and dynamic impact.


NGPC Baltimore Final Show

NGPC Baltimore Final Show

NGPC Baltimore - Finding Home

NGPC Baltimore – Finding Home

Photo Camp Baltimore brought together refugee youth from Burma and Eritrea now residing in a suburb outside of Baltimore, to explore using photography, writing and audio recordings to tell their own stories of what its like to make a new home.  Every evening students brought home cameras and lessons learned at photo camp to capture — Read more…

Faces of Photo Camp - Baltimore

Faces of Photo Camp – Baltimore

A great way to get to know yourself and others is through making portraits.  National Geographic Photo Camp instructors utilize the process of portrait photography as an incredible tool through which students can look at themselves, each other, and the different people they encounter everyday.  Baltimore  students had the opportunity to take studio portraits of — Read more…


National Geographic Photo Camp - Baltimore

National Geographic Photo Camp – Baltimore

National Geographic Photo Camp - Haiti

National Geographic Photo Camp – Haiti

This one has been two years in the making… VisionWorkshops and our partners at National Geographic and Mercy Corps have been trying to make this Photo Camp happen since the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, and it finally came to fruition this year!  Led by National Geographic staffers Susan Poulton and Katel LeDu, and photographers — Read more…

Faces of Photo Camp - Doha

Faces of Photo Camp – Doha

  Portraits are such an integral part of story-telling.  Human beings are naturally drawn to portraits where they can regard another human through eye contact, or portraits that illustrate the environment in which a person lives.  Having our students make portraits of themselves, each other, and people they encounter in the environments they experience during — Read more…


Multimedia Monday!

Multimedia Monday!

It is indeed a multimedia world.  A multi-platform, multi-tasking, multi-cultural world.  VisionWorkshops and National Geographic Photo Camp are now frequently being asked by our partners to keep up with that trend and teach our students the tools for expressing their views and themselves  through these media rich outlets.  Given the amount of content that invades our — Read more…

Ocean For Life in Film Festival!!

Ocean For Life in Film Festival!!

Great News! The 2011 National Geographic Photo Camp – Ocean for Life youth media project titled “Sense of Place” will be featured during the 9th Annual San Francisco Ocean Film Festival on March 8-11, 2012. Congratulations to Bashmah Al-Mesad (Kuwait), Tomas Fuentes-Afflick (California), Erica Haasen Knox (Illinois), Nasser Marzook (Qatar), Molly Struble (Arizona) and Hala — Read more…

NGPC Doha - Instructor Selects

NGPC Doha – Instructor Selects

National Geographic Photo Camp Doha instructor, Isabelle Carbonell, talks about two of her favorite photos here: I was trying to dig into what I jokingly call my “calling the elephant in the room an elephant” theme, being “Women” in a country which does not represent women on photo or film easily. I did a fashion show for — Read more…


NGPC Doha - Instructor Tyrone Turner's Faves!

NGPC Doha – Instructor Tyrone Turner’s Faves!

We were excited to have Photo Camp – Doha, Lead Instructor and National Geographic photographer Tyrone Turner on board as this was his first Photo Camp experience.  Below he shares his favorite images and critiques. National Geographic Photo Camp Doha / Photo by Khalid Al Ibrahim A strong moment, not only of the sunset and Doha in the — Read more…

Mentor Spotlight - NGPC Philadelphia Staff

Mentor Spotlight – NGPC Philadelphia Staff

Photo Camp Philly exceeded my expectations as a first timer.  As an NG staffer, you hear about Photo Camps, see various blog posts, and occasionally meet someone who has volunteered for one of the camps.  From all of this information, gleaned by reading and hearing about the Photo Camps, I knew it would be an — Read more…

National Geographic Oceans Site!

National Geographic Oceans Site!

We are extremely excited to have the work from our Ocean for Life students be featured on National Geographic’s Oceans website.  The NOAA sponsored field study gave students hands-on experience documenting humanity’s effects on the health of our oceans and how it interconnects us all.  Click the image below for more!


National Geographic Photo Camp - Smith Island, Words From Our Students

National Geographic Photo Camp – Smith Island, Words From Our Students

There are a lot of differences between here and home. For one thing it’s more peaceful. It’s like the rest of the world is on pause. Things are just more beautiful here. In the city a pile of bricks to me, was just a pile of bricks. But here through the eye of my camera — Read more…

Our Mentors - Alison Harbaugh

Our Mentors – Alison Harbaugh

In this new blog series, VisionWorkshops hopes to highlight our incredibly diverse and talented group of mentors. Acting as teachers, assistants and friends to our students, our mentors work across all our programs. We hope their experiences with our students and programs as told by them will add another chapter to the story that is — Read more…

A Lasting Impression

A Lasting Impression

Pine Ridge came with a preface. One that was relayed to me with great emotional depth as a place that was overwrought with “permanent grief” and the repercussions that come with that. What I found; however, were nine kids with a glimmer of hope in their eyes, and an unmatched excitement by having a camera — Read more…


Slow Down

Slow Down

Day three of our photography workshop with the kids from Pine Ridge, afforded us the opportunity to slow the pace and enjoy our surroundings. Rockin’ R Ranch were our hosts for morning trail riding and the students were tasked to photograph ‘action’ for our lesson. While many of the students were seasoned riders, and were — Read more…

A Change of Perspective

A Change of Perspective

Often times, when faced with a difficult situation, human nature is to fight, flight, or freeze. However, a shift in how we see things can turn an unsurmountable challenge into a positive, life-changing experience. The same applies to photography. Our view of the world through the viewfinder of a camera can change drastically depending on — Read more…

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

These students represent an aspect of American culture that is often overlooked or shied away from. This year, we decided to adapt our programming to better fit the needs and the challenges they face. Our thought was that an “adventure photography workshop” approach would be an exciting way to engage and encourage the students to — Read more…


First Impressions

First Impressions

Being new to the photography camps outside of our regional programming, coming here to Pine Ridge has, thus far, been a wonderful first-time experience. South Dakota greeted us with quite a storm, that we watched from across the rolling green plains, callused with these so-called Badlands. Moody maybe, but definitely not “bad.” One thing that — Read more…

Photo Camp Crimea

Maybe it was the myth and magic of the Black Sea drifting in with the tide, but when things really fall into place during one of our camps, the evidence is truly in the student images that are produced. Our Crimean students traveled from near and far to the resort town of Simiez to capture — Read more…

Our Instructors- Raul Touzon

Our Instructors- Raul Touzon

Last May I had the unique opportunity to teach at Photo Camp here in Homestead, Florida. WHAT A GIFT – I shared the classroom with an outstanding group of professionals, and an AMAZING bunch of teenagers. In this camp, they learned to use three types of cameras; an Olympus Evolt 510, and an Olympus underwater — Read more…