'The Word'





Tutors:  Rob Knight & Ian Hill


The Possibilities of Photography & The Written Word


“… a photo is a literary narrative, ya know what I mean…”  Garry Winogrand


“To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer's craft.”  John Szarkowski

What Are Our Objectives?

1. To produce a number of different writing outputs inspired by your photography
2. To explore all of the possibilities of words and photographs
3. To think conceptually about your aims and outcomes

“In photography of serious ambition, the photographer’s subject is almost never
simply the subject matter”
. Peter Fraser


Welcome to our new online workshop, ‘The Word’.

Photography—a word derived from the Greek terms phos (light) and graphe (writing or drawing)—is, by definition, a means of “writing with light.” 

The medium’s inherent relationship with writing manifests in various ways, from the use of captions and inscriptions to the appearance of words within pictures, signifying its expansive narrative potential.

We will be exploring some of the ideas and approaches to help photographers to develop writing skills and to produce written work which can complement your work as a photographer.

Many photographers feel a hesitancy in writing with their photography, believing that ‘the image should speak for itself’. Nonetheless, a number of well-known photographers have incorporated words and text into their work.

‘The Word’ will explore all of these uses of writing: as a means of describing your work, as a creative complement to your work, and as a prompt to encourage further creativity in your photography.

‘The Word’ brief asks that we play and experiment with as many of these approaches as possible. We will explore, reflect, and refine our practical work throughout the course, by looking at a range of inspirational photographers – historic and contemporary – who have used words alongside images.

We will also encourage you to try writing about your work – to look at what might make a compelling and meaningful artist’s statement, how to describe a body of work, and how you might articulate your motivations and purpose to produce, for example, a submission for RPS accreditation

“At the conclusion of any extended piece of work, one inevitably questions
the results. What have I learned during this journey? What has this intense period
of activity been about?”




The course will help to develop your understanding, ability and confidence to use words as part of your practice. It will combine plenary sessions (mostly to be held on Sunday evenings) alongside practical exercises, additional reading, peer-to-peer sessions and the opportunity for review of, and feedback on, your writing.

The benefits of being in a group for this kind of learning are invaluable. We will encourage you to bring ideas and inspirations, offer support and feedback to each other, and be willing to share writing on which you are working (and yes, we know this last one can be scary!)

We will explore writing in a variety of facets, from the functional, through the additive / complementary to the wholly creative. Your writing will have purpose and intent to give you a clear understanding of how you may integrate writing into your creative practice. We will help you understand the nuances of considering and writing for your audience and most importantly we'll explore the importance of writing with an authentic voice.



"What does photography mean to me? It is a medium of ongoing narrative, a means of using one sense to stimulate others, a mechanism for arresting the viewer’s attention and planting there some seed of a story. It is a way in which we try to understand the world; a lifebelt in a roaring sea." Ian Hill


The course is for anyone working digitally or analogue, with a camera or with a smartphone, who has an interest in working with words as well as images. It is for anyone who wants to consider and to understand better how to develop their creative potential through the combination of images and words. ’The Word’ is for anyone who wishes to explore their personal creativity through developing written responses to the world they see around them.

This workshop is for anyone who works with the medium, using any process or combination of processes, in video, audio or the written word. This introduction to writing as part of your photographic projects will allow you to bring your work together, and to reflect upon your picture-making and visual story telling as you shape your own photography journey.



The workshop will utilise different models of learning including:


  1. Scheduled online one to one sessions, starting with a getting to know you and objectives.
  2. Pre-recorded and curated video content that will form ideas for discussion and reflection.
  3. Group online video/audio discussions sessions led by the tutors where we will discuss your personal approaches to project development and writing.
  4. Live discussion sessions to collaborate and learn from tutors, but importantly for peers to consider alternative viewpoints and potential for projects and the written word.
  5. Practical assignments to help shape our thinking and learning for written work.
  6. Structured feedback both group based and individually throughout.
  7. Independent study around key texts to help inform tutorials.
  8. Collaborative and peer-to-peer working to further develop ideas around your project-based written work.
  9. We’ll explore how you may use different tools / technology to scaffold your confidence as ‘idea generation’ or framework for your early writing endeavours.
  10. You will individually keep a reflective notebook / journal throughout the workshop to develop your ideas and as a means of ‘talking to oneself’ to refine and shape these ideas. This will go with you when you leave the workshop as a very practical embodiment of the writing and reflective processes and your personal toolkit to take away.



On completion of the workshop each participant will receive a summary of their development. Each
participant can (if requested) be issued with a digital credential to demonstrate workshop participation which
can then be added to and shown on digital cv's, social media and on the learners LinkedIn profile, for
example, if they have one.

On Completion You will be able to:

  1. Acknowledge some ideas related to photographic projects / series and the written word.
  2. Understood different styles and techniques of writing, and how they might suit different audiences.
  3. Recognise some key photographers who have used writing as part of their work.
  4. Explore strategic approaches to working in a project manner.
  5. Apply your learning in the production of high-quality written work.
  6. Demonstrate an explorative mindset around photographic projects and alternative viewpoints.
  7. To reflect, explain and critique your own writing, images and project ideas.
  8. Embrace a playful approach to developing your written work.
  9. Reflect on the impact of working with attention over a given period and how this has affected creative understanding and development.


This new and exciting workshop will be offered online and delivered via our
dedicated online learning platform, video live group sessions and innovative collaboration tools where we will facilitate an engaging, positive and challenging learning environment for all participants.

‘The Project’ has been designed to work effectively as a stand alone workshop, but may be taken and
linked alongside our innovative and highly regarded, ‘The Sequence’, 'The Project' and the future ,’The Book’  and 'The Vision' workshops.

“One cannot photograph experience, but to have lived it can change and develop habitual

ways of seeing and of knowing." John Blakemore


“It isn't what a picture is of, it is what it is about.” John Szarkowski


“Most issues of importance cannot be photographed.” John Szarkowski



As well as being professional a photographer Rob has a long established professional background in education and learning at both degree and masters level.

Ian is based in Cumbria, in the north-west of England, and works in Black and White 35mm film.
​Increasingly, Ian has been trying to respond to environmental crisis in terms of what HE photographs, where HE photographs, and how HE photographs. This has led to an increasing focus on the local, the small-scale, the un-noticed; hedgerow plants, gate latches, abandoned walls and sheepfolds. It has also led to changes in his technical practice, by using environmentally benign chemicals, for example. This work has helped Ian to re-define his own photography, working on projects which speak more about the local, about the need for nurture, about our connection with the land

Hear Ian talk about his work on The Biblioscapes Podcast with Euan Ross.

Ian's interview with the United Nations of Photography Podcast.

'Lineage' by Ian Hill - Another Place Press - Zine (Field Notes #66)

The course duration will be over a five week period, with the first week being the introductory period where we will stage a one to one session with each participant to understand their individual learning style and starting point with photography based writing, participants will be introduced to the first key concepts and key writers / thinkers on writing for photography and everyone will get to know one and other and how all the systems including learning portal work .

Each week will be a mixture of 1to1 sessions online, reading and reflective comment / discussion in the learning portal, live online group discussion sessions and reflective sessions to explore your own writing development and group collaboration as well as it's development across the five weeks. Weeks two and three will be intense enough to develop your thinking and as a group challenge everyone to collaborate and discuss individual approaches to working on written pieces to accompany projects / series as well as the key practitioners in the area. Our key focus across the five weeks will be extremely practical and experiential in leading your through writing confidence and competence, ideation, inception, development and reflection of your writing and images  to explore, create and refine approaches to working with words and photography as a combined creative approach.



This workshop is highly participatory and will develop an effective toolkit with which you can frame your approach to writing for and with photography and working in series' moving forward.


To sign up for this new course please complete THIS form.

We guarantee this course will both enable and empower every attendee moving forward with their writing & photography and personal creative journey no matter what your previous level of experience.


NEXT COURSE DATES: 7/01/24 - 11/02/24 (5 weeks with 1 week reflection / consolidation midway)


Course price: £485 per person

The workshop will be limited to strictly 12 participants to ensure the cohort size is large enough for vibrant discussion and small enough for 1to1 time, coaching and mentoring across the duration.

"I loved every aspect of the workshop and the amount of effort that Rob and David obviously put into the creation and running of the course was extraordinary. I loved the fact that everyone was encouraged to participate - which cannot have been easy because we all came with different requirements. I loved the fact that you changed tack after the first group session to make sure things were more time limited and comprehensively covered. In other words you flexed to the needs of the course and participants. In the future just carry on I would say."

"It has made my completely rethink photobooks and how I will approach my projects and books in the future"


"I like and appreciate that Rob is very clear in what he says and has a very easy and relaxed manner. At no time was I made to feel that I wasn't an equal member of the group and my opinions/contributions were as valuable as everyone else's. This is a skill not all trainers possess."