About the Masterclass

Not the Camera, But the Photographer

Legendary photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “It is an illusion that photographs are made with the camera…they are made with the eye, heart and head”. This is at the heart of our thinking at Kathmandu Inside Out (or KIO in short) and what we hope will be at the heart of your photography.

Sharing the Art of Visual Storytelling

The KIO photography masterclass was founded in 2012 by international documentary photographer Edwin Koo and was born from a desire to share the potential of visual storytelling with like-minded people. Through his experience, Edwin understands there are many photographers who have a desire to step beyond the single image, to develop their own visual style and to create not just pretty pictures, but meaningful and compelling images.

Discover Your Personal Voice

For our photographs to mean something, to convey meaning and most importantly to tell a story, we as photographers need to slow down, contemplate, and take our time to observe life around us. We need time to take a deep breath and watch the world, instinctively sensing our story. What better place is there for any photographer to do this than in Nepal? It is an enchanting country, steeped in thousands of years of history, Kathmandu is the gateway to the majestic Himalayas where many great explorers, travellers, writers and photographers have found their inspiration.

Masterclass 2017

2 - 9 December APPLY NOW

Don’t Just Create Photographs. Create Stories.

KIO™ is about a vision and a desire to tell visual stories. Those of you who are inquisitive about the world, interested in human stories and are prepared to delve into your own imaginations, embrace your craft and expand your photographic storytelling, will do well on this course.  It is one thing to take great single photographs; it is another to breath life into a series of images and create a story you resonate with.

Grow Your Potential with Passionate People

Our expertise is built upon the foundation of solid and proven process. Now in our 5th year, we go from strength to strength and have mentored 42 visual stories. Our dedicated organisational team, ensure a comfortable, enjoyable and productive experience for all.

"When The Mountains Called" Photo Exhibition by Kathmandu Inside Out, at ION Orchard 11-17 May 2015, is also a fundraiser in aid of Nepal earthquake victims.

Bring out the Storyteller in You

KIO™ is open to anyone with a keen interest in photography and visual storytelling and for those with a desire to learn to move on from a single image, to creating a strong and meaningful body of work.  KIO™ past participants have included people with no prior experience in visual storytelling who have completed their first visual story with our guidance. You can see their work in the Stories section on this site. Equally, those experienced in visual storytelling have much to gain from Edwin and the team.

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

Journey through your Story with Buddies

When you embark on a storytelling journey with KIO™ we will guide you towards finding your own unique voice in becoming a proficient storyteller. Our unique methodology of partnering every participant with a KIO™ Buddy allows your journey to be truly personal and provides one-to-one support and assistance for the duration of the course.

When you come Kathmandu, you will be paired up with your very own buddy.  Your buddy is a crucial component of KIO and your storytelling process as they are the ones with access to local knowledge and how to get you to where you want to be.  In a nut shell, your buddy compares to a foreign journalists’ fixer who just gets everything done – they are key to accessing your story and in helping you complete it in a foreign country in eight days.

You will meet your buddy on Day One and he/she will remain with you throughout the duration of the course or as and when you need them to help you out – it’s up to you.  Many of our buddies move around on motorbikes.  This is a great way to travel but if you’re not up to sitting on the back of a bike then you can choose alternative transport.

Initially drawn from the pool of trusted freelance documentary photographers and photojournalists who became personal friends of Edwin during his time living and working in Nepal, our team of buddies has grown over the years into a reliable and trusted part of the KIO family.  We are very proud of the KIO buddies, they will be your companion, enabler, assistant and most importantly, your friend.

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

You will meet your buddy on Day One and he/she will remain with you throughout the duration of the course or as and when you need them to help you out – it’s up to you.  Many of our buddies move around on motorbikes.  This is a great way to travel but if you’re not up to sitting on the back of a bike then you can choose alternative transport.

Initially drawn from the pool of trusted freelance documentary photographers and photojournalists who became personal friends of Edwin during his time living and working in Nepal, our team of buddies has grown over the years into a reliable and trusted part of the KIO family.  We are very proud of the KIO buddies, they will be your companion, enabler, assistant and most importantly, your friend.

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

Transform Your Ideas into Stories Now

We will begin by helping you to prepare your visual journey months before you disembark in Kathmandu. A story requires thought, planning, preparation and research. The more you prepare the better your story will be, because like all stories, the more you read, think, learn and discover, the better the outcome of your images will be.

More than just retelling what happens, a story is about narration. Therefore key to understanding the concepts of visual storytelling is your understanding of how narrative relates to the construction of events and what happens in those events to create a story – this is what you will learn and discover on this masterclass.

Learn more about how Edwin and the KIO™ team can help you do just that!

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.
Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

How to Apply

Please click Apply Now and fill in all mandatory fields in the application form to be considered for a place in the masterclass. You are required to send us a hyperlink to your portfolio (it can be a website, a Facebook album, or Instagram account). Successful applicants will be notified by email within 7 days of submitting their application.

If you are accepted on the course you will receive an email confirming your place, together with a request for the full fee (US$1500) to be paid within 15 days of notice to secure your place in the masterclass. We will also include tips on how to formulate your story idea proposals.

Masterclass 2017

2 - 9 December APPLY NOW

Course Outline

The morning of day 1 begins with a keynote lecture by Edwin Koo, introducing his photographic approach and explaining the KIO™ methodology.

Edwin will provide insight into working and shooting in a foreign country, providing you with information and advice, easing you into what lies ahead in the frenetic and bustling Himalayan city of Kathmandu and Patan as a working photographer.

We will then move onto the group portfolios for review and discussion, followed by individual story idea discussions and pairing you up with your Buddy.

Break for lunch. This is a time where you and your Buddies can have lunch together and take the opportunity to get to get to know one other.

The afternoon will be spent with your buddy heading off together to familiarise yourself with your environment, or even getting to work straight away.

During these four days you will learn about narrative and context and recognise why it is important to create your own narrative, choose your own story, formulate your own ideas. You will spend most of these days out shooting with your buddy to assist you and get you around.

If you did a good job in researching your story ideas before the course, you should be feeling quite comfortable and eager to get on with your story at this point. The next four days will be exciting and intense. You will manage your own schedule and set out with your KIO™ Buddy each day to shoot your story. Shooting duration will be entirely dependant on you and your story needs.

Pre-booked time slots will be arranged with you for each day to meet with Edwin for an individual review and critique session. Edwin will spend dedicated one on one time with you each day to run through your days work and guide you.

He will use contact sheet methodology, reviewing your images, discussing with you your decisions and hesitations, hits and misses. He will check and set direction as required for the aims of your shooting for the following day and in the process enable your narrative journey.

Additionally there will be a session with a guest lecturer at KIO™ HQ in this section of the course. This will provide you with some additional insights into storytelling.

You will spend both of these days heading out to capture your final images, dashing back to HQ where you will be working together with Edwin to select your best images using a logical method of culling your shots. Your aim in these two days is to finalise your story presentation.

You will begin the editing process of your images. In the KIO™ camp, editing images at this stage is not done digitally. We print off your selected images with good old fashioned ink and a printer. Everyone will spread out across every room, floor and wall space of KIO HQ, sequencing and editing your best images. Together with Edwin you will assess and evaluate the story sequencing and flow.

The final images with then be sequenced into a 3-minute audio visual slideshow by the media team. By all means bring your own music with you or if you wish or the media team can assist you with a selection of music.

You will be required to write a few paragraphs for your opening slides to set the scene, but again, if you need help with this then we are always at hand to assist.

It’s the final and last day of KIO™. Everyone has worked their sock’s off and are feeling elated if not a tad exhausted.

At this point in time, everyone on the course will be well aquatinted with Edwin having spent each day working intimately with him and getting to know him, not only as a professional photographer and course mentor, but also as a friend.

The whole group will be there – each and everyone of you on the course, together with all of those who have been involved in your story creation: the KIO™ team; buddies; media team; visiting lectures; your story protagonist; the press; magazine editors; NGO’s who you may have worked with and other organisations; and well…it’s a house full of friends and collaborators who have all had something to do with your story, all having worked hard together to make your story happen. Through this we have all become part of each other’s stories – you are now part of the KIO™ family.

It is only right to celebrate your achievements together and share your experiences with one another by presenting each story at KIO’s Final Presentation on the morning of Day 8. This is a moment when we can all take a deep breath – your stories have spoken and been shared for the first time. It is a liberating and often emotional moment for us all.

It is a great achievement to shoot a visual story in eight days, and you can be proud of yourselves. And so, to end the presentations we will award you with your KIO™ certificate and a traditional Khata for good luck.

Finally, all KIO™ participants will head out with the team to be treated to a farewell lunch, where we can all relax and raise a glass or two before we say farewell and wish you Bon Voyage.

Accommodation

The Lalit Heritage Home, an apartment-style homestay located in historical Patan, has been designated as the official accommodation for KIO 2017 masterclass.

This refurbished traditional Newari homestead will function as the masterclass headquarters, so it is highly recommended that every participant resides there. It is the hub where your entire storytelling journey is based, where we hold keynote lectures, one-to-one reviews, and late night edits with the KIO team over a cup of home-brewed coffee.

For more details on booking your accommodation, please visit Pricing.

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

What Gear To Bring

We are in the business of straight and honest storytelling, so if you have a lot of gear are unsure of what to bring with you, or are about to splash some cash out on something new, here are some recommendations from Edwin on what to bring.

  • camera body
  • lenses – we tend to work with primes, so if you have 20mm or 24mm, 35mm, 50mm that’s good but if not then zoom is also fine as long as you can work with 35mm and 50mm.
  • batteries + chargers
  • external hard drive for storage and back up of images
  • laptop
  • Adobe Lightroom on laptop.  If you don’t have it, go to adobe.com and download the 30 day free trial before you travel.
  • audio recorder for recording ambient sound and interviews (optional)
  • Extra memory cards (8GB and above)
  • If you are an iPhone shooter then that too is fine.

Don’t be intimidated by the list though, it’s merely a suggestion and a personal point of view.  At the end of the day bring what you have but remember you are photographing stories in one of the poorest countries in the world.  You don’t want to bring big fancy gear which not only distracts, but could also make your subjects feel uncomfortable. So, bring the bare minimum, you’ll be moving around quite a lot so you won’t want to be lugging heavy gear around with you, least of all having to leave gear lying around although Nepal is relatively crime free but the risk is yours.

Remember, it’s not the camera that counts, it’s you!

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

What to Pack

Kathmandu is a shoppers paradise!  You can buy almost anything so do come with an extra bag for all your Christmas shopping.  We do!  And if you forget something, it’s not usually a problem.

There’s no need to come overloaded with baggage but bring what you are comfortable with.  Kathmandu is warm during the day, but gets cold at night, so we advise you pack your thermals, bring a warm jacket, with scarf, hat and gloves.  Bring some sturdy footwear as well as throwing in your favourite pair of flip-flops/thongs.  Make your day time wear practical and comfortable for warm weather, but be sure that your night wear is warm and toasty.  Basically speaking, it’s summer during the day and winter at night.

If trekking, then your list maybe somewhat more comprehensive. Get in touch with us so we can help you plan for your trip!

Participants of KIO™ come from all walks of life, young and old, with or without photography knowledge.

Weather in Kathmandu

The weather in Kathmandu for late November (Autumn season) average highs of 22˚C and lows of 9˚C whilst early December (start of the winter season) is mostly clear and stable with highs of 18˚C and lows of 4˚C.  There is an average of nine hrs a day sunlight with very little rainfall.  In five years we have not seen any rain during this period. Nights do get chilly, the cold is definitely cold when you’re in the Himalayas!

Kathmandu Inside Out © 2017
Kathmandu Inside Out (KIO™) is about a vision and a desire to tell visual stories using the power of photography. Those of you who are inquisitive about the world, interested in human stories and are prepared to delve into your own imaginations, embrace your craft and expand your photographic storytelling, will do well on this course. The immersive 8-day journey will help you hone your senses and expand your photographic ability, whatever your skill level.
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