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Spéos Alumni Testimonials

Spéos Alumni Testimonials2022-08-31T16:47:32+02:00

Hélène-Degrandpré

France
helenedegrandpre.fr

I had the opportunity to attend the Professional Photography program in 1 year at Spéos in 2016 thanks to a professional re-orientation program (a so-called “congé individuel de formation”).
A self-taught amateur for almost 20 years, I didn’t succeed to make photography my profession previously.

The year at Spéos was decisive for me because — beyond the new technical skills I acquired (the equipment and the studios allowed me to explore a lot!) — all the facets and skills of the profession were taught. The exchanges with the teachers, the diversity of the courses, their methods as well as the encounters with the other students in an international context were very enriching for me. At Spéos, I was able to make the difference between amateur photography and a professional approach.

I am now a professional freelance photographer (“auteur photographe”), which allows me to work for organizations in the associative and social sectors, either in photo reportage or in a mobile studio. At the same time, I am developing my personal documentary work. I recommend Spéos to all those who wish to make photography their profession, in all domains of photography and irrespective of the networks they plan to develop.

Elsa Goudenège

France
www.elsagoudenege.com

I started Spéos right after high school and those 2 years taught me a lot. The mix between practice and theory suited me best as a learning method, and the Professional Photography program in 2 years – through its studio and photojournalism courses – gave me sufficient time to hone my skills.

During the training and thanks to the school’s advice and contacts, I was able to get my first professional experiences, confirming the photographic fields I wanted to further explore.

The proximity between the training and the professional world gives us an insight into our future careers. Moreover, the lectures by former students during exhibition openings at the school’s gallery allow for alumni networking opportunities.

After my time at Spéos, followed by a Bachelor in Fine Arts, I am now a freelance photographer in Paris.

Analía Cid

Argentina
www.analiacid.com

When I finished my undergraduate studies in sociology in Buenos Aires, I was seduced by the idea of ​​doing a specialization in documentary photography abroad. Although I had a long experience with photography, beginning in my teens, I wanted to obtain a degree that could formalize my accumulated knowledge, while learning new things. At that moment, I heard about the program that Spéos was about to launch in collaboration with the Magnum Photos Agency and decided to sign up for the first ever cohort of the Creative Documentary and Photojournalism by Magnum Photos & Spéos in 2015. Both the duration of the program (one year) and the language in which it would be taught (English) made it accessible to my possibilities.

The year spent on the program was intense and challenging. The knowledge obtained allowed me to think of myself as a photographer at an international level, giving me tools to perform with excellence in work related to photojournalism and documentary photography. Getting to know Magnum from the inside was a dream come true; at the same time, it raised new questions for me about ethics and respect for the stories I wanted to tell. The discussions with my colleagues, whom I remember fondly, reinforced my commitment to photographic production in Latin America, influencing the projects I carried out when I returned home.

Over the years I can say without hesitation that my experience at Spéos made me a better photographer. Since then, I have been able to publish my work in national and regional media, participate in exhibitions in different parts of the world and be part of far-reaching collective projects, such as the Women Photograph platform and The Journal collective.

Rajkumar Ranadeva Singh

Inde
www.ranadeva.com

After studying engineering, I went for a month-long vacation to the Ladakh region of India. During this trip, it occurred to me that I wanted to become a photographer and as I am always inclined to choose the most challenging field, I chose fashion photography!

Why Paris? It is the fashion capital and I was very curious about its artistic reputation. Spéos seemed to me the perfect school, with its Professional photography in 1 year program. Indeed, I wanted to be able to start my career quickly, I was already 26 years old at the time.

Above all, the Visual Identity class set apart Spéos compared to other schools. I owe a lot to this course and its teacher, who helped me find my artistic universe and to develop my already strong sense of detail.

Since October 2012, I am a professional photographer based in Paris. In 2013, I was the finalist for Prix PICTO Jeune Photographie de la Mode.

Alexandra Uhart

Chile
www.alexandrauhartphotography.com

The unique experience of studying professional photography in Paris is something that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to follow this path. It is an inspiration that will likely last a lifetime, with smartly chosen courses, exhibitions and talks that students are invited to attend, plus a great cultural exchange with photographers from all over the world.

It was a fun learning experience that gave me all necessary tools to create images on the highest technical level. After studying at Spéos in 2010 (I graduated from the program Professional photography in 1 year), I went on to work in London as the Photography Director of a culture magazine.

I currently work and exhibit freelance internationally.

Marieke Zapasnik

Switzerland – Great Britain
www.mariekezapasnik.com

At my arrival at Spéos, I was already doing photography for about 8 years. But I knew that I needed to push further and deepen my approach, especially in documentary photography. I entered the school because, at the time, except of the school in Arles, Spéos was the only one that had a photojournalism specialization. I followed the Professional photography in 1 year program, specialization photo reportage.

My time at Spéos taught me to get out of my comfort zone. The people I’ve met, teachers and students alike, made my photography evolve, taught me move forward fearlessly.

Today, thanks to this period of my life, I feel more capable to accomplish my projects, to go deeper and to meet others. I’ve also learned that I shouldn’t wait for opportunities to come to me, but to create them, and seize them at the maximum.
I am proud of the 2017 batch, the people that shared my journey and shared paths!

Louise Cardon de Lichtbuer

Belgium
instagram.com/louise.ca.dl.photo

Interested in photography since childhood, the choice to pursue this passion later in life came intuitively. And so, in 2016 I chose to deepen my knowledge at Spéos, enrolling in the Professional Photography in 2 years, specialization photo reportage.

My time at Spéos has taught me all the necessary techniques needed when it comes to professional photography. And just as important, it provided me and my classmates to connect with passionate and skilled people already working in the industry. My work improved a lot and these exchanges, as well as the classes at Spéos, encouraged and guided me to present my photography work for many different contests and grants.

To name some of my personal favorite highlights: receiving the Belgian Journalistic Foundation Grant, and having my work exhibited in Paris, London, Tel-Aviv, Antwerp thanks to the contests I have enrolled in.
The school guides you through all the essential steps needed to start or perfect your skills to become a professional photographer.

Today my photography work has evolved, and I shoot mainly portraits and yoga. With the skills I learned at Spéos, I was able to define and develop my personal style and visual identity over the years.

Elvira Viedma

Spain
instagram.com/elviraviedma

While studying Audiovisual Communication in Madrid, I became interested in photography. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a group of creative friends who were actively participating in the development of Madrid’s alternative cultural scene. Thus, I started documenting what was happening around me with my analog cameras.

After some years, I decided that I needed a change and came to Paris to study at Spéos into the Professional Photography in 1 year. I couldn’t be happier about the choice I made. The school allowed me to meet amazing photographers that would later on become friends and that would also be a great source of inspiration. Assisting the classes at Spéos really pushed me to go forward in my photography. I would go everywhere with my cameras and wouldn’t be afraid to shoot in any kind of situation, always excited to show the results to my classmates and teachers.

Lately I’ve been more focused on my other passion, mainly the organization of concerts, but photography has always been present. As the years have passed, I’ve kept collaborating with other Spéos students, for photography but also for other cultural projects.

Amir Tikriti

USA
www.amirtikriti.com

I followed the Fashion Photography program in 2017 with Dominique Issermann. I cannot speak highly enough of her. She was very open with her knowledge, patient, instructive and even invited us into her home for classes. It was an amazing experience!
As a matter of fact, the best part about Spéos was the teachers and faculty. They encouraged us to play and experiment, and they were available to us almost whenever we needed. It was evident that they really cared about their work and wanted us to succeed.

In addition, I made some amazing friends at Spéos. I keep in contact with many to this day and they make up the backbone of my life in Paris.

Raul Guillermo

Peru
www.raulguillermo.com

At my arrival at Spéos, I was already doing photography as a hobby for quite some time. However, I knew that I needed to explore further, especially because I was not sure if I wanted to pursue documentary or fashion photography. I visited the school before enrolling into the Professional Photography in 1 year program and I found it perfect for what I needed. I also liked the idea that you are able to follow classes both in photojournalism and fashion, and for the second part of the program decide to specialize in one. My time in Spéos taught me to open my eyes and embrace the unknown.

All the experiences and people made me evolve in my way of seeing, they taught me to open myself and move forward. Today, thanks to this period of my life, I feel more confident and determined on accomplishing my projects, to go deeper on subjects and to talk about my work easily.

Habib Dargham

Lebanon
www.habibdargham.com

Leaving my family and friends was quite a hard thing to do. Spéos helped me start anew in Paris and understand the system and business of photography in France. Most importantly, Spéos has become like a second family: the friends and the connections I made through the school were the beginning of my career.

The school is an experience for everyone, always up to date in their teaching, and always following up with their students post-graduation. Even though I did the fashion program, this didn’t stop me to expand my knowledge in photojournalism, and Spéos gave me really important advice that helped me win the Grand Prix Paris Match du Photoreportage Étudiant 2021 with my series Le cri d’un silence (“The cry of silence”).

Photography is creation, it’s an art that you can’t learn, it’s an experience and Spéos is here to help you do exactly that.

Valérie Chauffour

France
www.valeriechauffour.com

When I left Air France I had been practicing photography for some years but I needed to get my overall skills to the next level. I wanted to join a short and efficient course and it was better for me to stay in Paris — my home town — at that time. So Spéos appeared to be the best choice, and it was indeed. I would definitely recommend the Spéos programs: lots of great new courses, the school is always evolving, successfully bringing new talented photographers out to the world.

Anna Shumanskaia

Russia
www.annashumanskaia.com

I had always wanted to become a professional photographer and it was probably a hand of fortune that led me to the stand of Spéos at the Salon des Étudiants in Paris (we went there to look for the school for my daughter). The girl representing Spéos was Russian and I didn’t speak any French at that time! It was a pure intuition choice, which I’m really happy about!

I enrolled in The Entrepreneurial Photographer in 2 years program, in French, having studied the language for 9 months only. It was a real challenge for me! I found myself in a new world with the discovery of technical terms which I didn’t know even in Russian! But thanks to the friendly teachers and groupmates I started feeling at ease. My favourite part of studying was shooting in the studio, which permitted me to express my imagination without limits! Photojournalism part was very interesting and inspiring too! Photoshop, Visual Identity, Visits of Exhibitions, Printing Techniques…
Everything was new and magical for me! So it was a wonderful period which began a new chapter of my life.

Since that time I have been participating in different exhibitions and International Art Events. I have also been working as a freelance photographer for the press and individuals and have had two personal projects published in photo books.

My Spéos life was fantastic and I recommend it to those who want to turn their photography passion into a profession.

Liza Moura

Brazil
http://www.lizamoura.com

After a course in Art History, I wanted to immerse myself in Photography. At Spéos, I was precisely oriented towards finding my own photographic and visual identity. I followed the Professional Photography in 2 years program. I had the opportunity to have highly qualified professionals as teachers, real masters in photography who transmitted me a knowledge that I had never imagined existed before entering school!

The photojournalism team is excellent, it transmits not only the technique but also the passion. This school opened me to a different world. It’s a unique experience.

Through Spéos, I had the opportunity to know the Paris Match Student Grand Prix where I submitted my final study project (a series entitled “Jaurès, the corner of hope”) and I won the Public Prize with the most voted report!
With this work, I was also chosen to exhibit in Arles with the BYOPaper project. It was a good start.

At Spéos, the exchange of experiences is constant, not only with the teachers, but also with the other students. I met people from all over the world and I made friends that I will keep forever.

I highly recommend the Spéos School to anyone looking for a high level of training and a memorable experience. Many thanks to the Spéos team and in particular to Phillippe Bachelier, Ana Cruz and Leonardo Antoniadis.

Robert Hyde

United States
www.roberthyde.xyz

The Spéos/Magnum Creative Documentary program was exactly what I needed; a fast-track to a professional photography practice.

The administrative team at Spéos is highly competent and the teachers and guest lecturers know their fields intimately. The workshops at Magnum were instructive, inspiring and formative and the staff was warmly welcoming.

Invitations to exclusive Magnum events and the opportunity to collaborate with students in Germany and Denmark were unexpected pleasures.

Penelope Thomaidi

Greece
www.penelopethomaidi.com

Studying at the Creative Documentary and Photojournalism 1-year course with Spéos and Magnum Photos has been an intensive and very productive experience that widened my understanding of both the photographic practice and the photographic industry.

Learning on the side of Magnum photographers and recognized professionals of the industry was a great privilege. We were encouraged to be critical towards our production and challenged to overcome difficulties in order to get the most out of our photography. The development of our graduation long-term project was quite a life-changing experience.

While every class with Magnum gave food for thought related to the way we take pictures, Spéos teachers taught us how to organize our production and be prepared to meet the standards of the professional world. At the end of the course, a series of lectures and portfolio reviews was a unique chance to meet in person important players of the French photographic world.

The human approach and the kindness of most of the people we interacted with, was itself a source of inspiration which makes me to consider myself lucky to have studied with Spéos and Magnum Photos.

Shortly after the course, I became member of a photographer’s collective and I feel that the experiences and the relationships that started in Paris are the best beginning for my professional activity.

Adam DelGiudice

United States
www.delgiudicephoto.com

My experience studying at Magnum & Spéos International Photography School has been a dream come true and a life experience I will always remember. Under the guidance and critical eye of some of the titans of documentary photography I’ve grown as both a photographer and a person. There is no substitute for experience and this experience has been life changing, to be able to do workshops with the photographers I look up to and to have my work critiqued by them has honed my talents allowed me to solidify my vision. I will have graduated this program changed for the better and am extremely grateful to everyone at Magnum both the photographers and the gracious and hospitable staff at the agency for giving me this incredible opportunity to nurture and develop my passion for photojournalism.

Lance Laurence

United States
lancelaurence.com

Through my time in the Magnum Photos & Spéos International Photography School Creative and Documentary storytelling Master Class, I learned how to better organize a photographic essay and how I could make a series stylistically coherent. Before I came for the program I just made “pretty pictures.” They often times looked as if they were created by different photographers and they didn’t offer much deeper insights. Now I have a much better understanding of how to create a story that is structured well and conveys a narrative that resonates with viewers.

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