Documentary Photography Workshops: Luxury Retreat Masterclasses

Starting this year, two leading photographers, Paul Hill and Nick Hannes, will take you through a series of documentary photography workshops to expand your photographic vision, giving you new perspectives in how to approach street, documentary and more personal image-making. 

Documentary photography workshops in the Ourika valleyA rural scene near the photography workshop location


Paul Hill is both a celebrated photographer and educator straddling traditions of photographic art and documentary styles. His unique take on personal creativity will be one of the key benefits in attending the documentary photography workshops retreat.

Nick Hannes is an acclaimed street/documentary photographer who embarks on major projects using economic and social backdrops to develop a personal way of seeing.  His images are highly accomplished displaying a confident visual style.  He received a Magnum photography Award in 2017 and teaches on a documentary photography course at the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium.


Focusing on the less obvious


Morocco like many developing countries entices tourists with sublime treats such as high quality hotels and visually stunning locations alongside a draw of street culture which is quirky, surprising and often a bit kitsch. This retreat gives you a stay in the former but orientates your creativity for seeing the latter.

We are attracted to difference and novelty, which is why it’s often difficult to photograph the familiar close to home.  Instead in a new location we rediscover a childlike wonder and everyday objects and scenes appear for what they look like, not what they are for.  That’s for the locals to think about!  Instead we can isolate subjects out of context that relate to out visual sensibility and also a theme if we have one. It’s what artists have always done.

When it comes to street photography we thrive on making pictures of folk going about their daily business, which is both stimulating and challenging ourselves.  Where we fall down is in seeking imagery that mimics genre successes, tried and tested approaches that also fetishise these environments, in Morocco’s case, the old world.

Images of elderly men with pointy headwear and young children looking up, are part of street culture and are valid as depictions of life, but in their ubiquitousness they tend to show less about the person behind the camera and don’t offer insight into the reality of a place. What is more interesting is to take a view on a place and find images which relate to that. There are many clashes of the old and new worlds in Marrakesh and the city has its own unique perspective on socials norms.


What these documentary photography workshops will give you:


Developing a personal take on things and stripping back to what you like about photography.

Allowing you the freedom to both have fun through making images but to also see and notice the less obvious and hidden.

Building a collection with photos that relate to each other, in essence a narrative that could work as a book. By the end of the retreat, you’ll have an outline sequence for one.

Spending time photographing in Marrakesh, both the old medina and new town as well as the countryside south, in the foothills of the Atlas.



Masterclass Retreat Format:


Presentations during which you will gain insights into the working methods and approaches of Paul Hill and Nick Hannes.

Documentary photography workshops on location led by two photographers at all times.

Workshop image reviews.

Portfolio feedback: The opportunity to have photos made prior to the workshop evaluated by the visiting photographers.

All location workshops are within 45 minutes drive of your base hotel retreat and review space, the wonderful La Amandier hotel,  the village of Marigha near to your retreat location, Marrakesh and Ourika Valley.


Paul Hill sessions:

There are six workshop sessions with Paul spread over 4 days looking at the personal and non-genre based photography.



1: A beginning introduction to the week by Darren Lewey. Paul Hill will then present his overview of where photography is now, in relation to making creative work as well as defining what creativity really is, reflecting on his personal journey and his current thinking about what photography can mean referencing his own images made in Morocco. His conclusion will centre on what makes a successful picture.  Paul will then set a creative exercise to be made within 50 metres of the workshop space.  After reviewing some of the images Paul will set out the aims for the afternoon’s workshop.

2: Exploring the local area on foot with PH/DL. Subjects can include; the retreat hotel garden grounds and building architecture, a nearby abandoned hotel, the Ouirgane village and reservoir with cactus, water reflections, earth houses and dereliction as potential subject matter.


3: Individual feedback with participants using their own computers to load images. The evening will have time set aside for a group viewing of the images made during the Workshop with Paul.


4: Paul and Darren will lead a walk through the Ourika Valley, a riverside jaunt of flimsy bridges, garish plastic furniture and trinkets for sale, leading to its waterfalls and tourists making sense of the place.


5: A workshop session with individual feedback from Paul and Darren with participants using their own computers to load images from the previous day.

6: A final feedback session and presentation of the Ourika images.


A short documentary photography course with Nick Hannes:

There are 4 workshops with Nick over 2 days exploring street photography.



In the evening Nick will introduce his work and discuss how he personalises locations that are new to him. He will discuss working in the public area in different places and cultures around the world and share his experiences of navigating these waters.  His tactics and strategies for getting the images he wants will be a focal point during his presentation.


A walk around Marrakesh with Nick and Darren. This is an all day event going into the evening dusk light. We will have a viewing area in the old medina where we will review images made in the morning.


A reviewing workshop with Nick and Darren followed by a final sequencing with Nick and presentation in the evening.


Day by day itinerary:


1:  Arrival day | Eve – two dinners sittings to allow for differ arrival times.

2:  Am –  Paul presentation | pm –  walk around workshop with Paul and Darren | Eve – group dinner/portfolio review with PH/DL.

3:  Am –  Review workshop with Paul | pm –  free time | Eve – presentation of workshop images made.

4:  Am –  Paul Hill workshop in Ourika Valley | pm workshop continuation | Eve – group dinner/portfolio review with PH/DL.

5:  Am –  Review workshop | pm –  review workshop/presentations | Eve – Nick Hannes presentation of work.

6:  Am –  Marrakesh workshop with NH/DL | pm workshop continuation | Eve – group dinner.

7:  Am –  Review workshop with NH | pm –  free time | Eve – presentation of work/wrap up.

8:  Departure day.


DATES: May 2nd – 9th 2022. 


FEE: £3500 / €3850 / USD4500 | Includes 7 night’s accommodation with an individual en-suite room, all meals and airport transfers.





Paul Hill was born in 1941 and is a photographer, journalist, author and teacher.

A major influence on contemporary British photography, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in 1990 and, four years later, was awarded an MBE by The Queen for services to photography. Between 1995 and 2010 he was a professor at De Montfort University, Leicester and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art by Derby University in 2011 and De Montfort University in 2012.

He has exhibited regularly since 1970 throughout the British Isles, Europe, North America, Japan and Australasia and is co- author (with Thomas J. Cooper) of Dialogue with Photography (1979/2005), Approaching Photography (1982/2004), and White Peak Dark Peak (1990) and Corridor of Uncertainty (2010). His work is in art collections across the world.




Born in Antwerp in 1974.  Nick is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent. After graduating he worked for eight years as a photojournalist before concentrating on documentary projects.  Red Journey, his first book (Lannoo Publishers, 2009), a year-long trip by bus and train through the former Soviet Union, examines the transitional phase in post-communist society.

His third book ‘Garden of Delight’ (Hannibal / Editions André Frère, 2018) showcases Dubai as the ultimate playground of globalisation and capitalism, and raises questions about authenticity and sustainability. This series was awarded the Magnum photography Award in 2017 and the Zeiss Photography Award in 2018.

He teaches documentary photography at KASK/The School of Arts in Ghent (B).




Darren Lewey was born in 1968 and studied photography at Derbyshire College of Art and Design and Film Production at Napier University.  After a career shooting and directing documentary projects for UK broadcasters, he moved into teaching at colleges in the UK before relocating to Morocco in 2010 to run photography workshops and courses.  Darren recently launched a new website, Creative Camera, offering a different online learning experience.  He is the facilitator and support tutor for the documentary photography workshops.


Register your interest below and for more information please contact Darren at:


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