Rio Helmi has been a leading exponent of documentary photography in Indonesia and i something of a Bali Legend over the last 4 and a half decades. Born to a Turkish mother and an Indonesian diplomat, he has been capturing images of Asia and writing since 1978.His work can be seen in magazines, documentaries and more than 20 large-format photographic books. Solo exhibitions of Rio’s still photography have been held in Bali, Jakarta, Madrid, Miyazaki, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sydney, and his works are held in private collections around the world including in London, Rome, Boston, Washington and Tokyo. In the past, Rio focused on the interaction between indigenous peoples and their environment. During this photo retreat, he will be sharing his knowledge to inspire and teach the art of storytelling and how to capture the world through a lens. 

The late René Burri of Magnum, who was one of Rio’s informal mentors, said: “Photography is not simply documentation. Even though it’s mechanical, you should use the camera for the expression of some kind of feeling – empathy, sympathy, love, hate or whatever it is. And if you don’t capture it in the moment, it doesn’t get stronger afterwards. While photographing, you have to employ your mind, your soul and your heart!” That really stuck with Rio throughout the years.


A photographic learning experience and visual exploration designed to give you tools and skills for visual storytelling. Learn the basics and the more advanced aspects. This is not a follow-the-leader photo tour with somebody holding your hand and telling you where to stand and what to point your lens at, what settings to use etc! You will learn how to make your own photographic decisions and create your own visual stories! It’s a mentorship designed to start you on the path of becoming a creative photographer not an instagram copycat!

Who is this Masterclass for? What equipment is needed?

This masterclass  is for enthusiastic amateurs or people starting out on their photographic careers, who have at least a basic command of digital photography, who would like to develop their visual communication skills further, who are interested in becoming a true visual storyteller. Visual storytelling has many  applications: documenting personal events, shooting stories for magazines and other media, photojournalism, wedding photography, narrative commercial work,  and so forth.

Equipment: any camera that can shoot in RAW format is fine, which includes iPhone 13 and up as well higher end Samsungs etc.  You will also need a laptop that has either photoshop or lightroom installed.


*Home base is Rio Helmi’s home in Pejeng, near Ubud

*Please note all participants are expected to submit a digital portfolio / sample of what they consider their most relevant work at least one week AHEAD of the actual class


DAY 1 :

Class at Rio Helmi’s residence: introduction to visual storytelling / documentary photography:  we will look at the reality of documentary photography today within a historical perspective, the different approaches and styles of various proponents of visual storytelling / documentary photography, the need to research stories (we will touch on how to pitch a story), access to subjects and how to adapt in the field,  photographic techniques such as composition and lighting  etc. that enhance our story telling, selecting, editing, sequencing, and presentation. Also and the visual elements that help complete a visual story, and the framework of the 5ws: who, what, where, when, why

Finalization and review of assignments (either self assigned or if needed assigned by Rio) – students are expected to “pitch” in accordance with what has been presented above: 5ws etc.

A simple vegetarian lunch will be provided, as well tea/coffee and snacks during the day.


DAY 2:

Morning – Students out shooting on their own or with their fixers. For those whose assignments are not too far away they can touch base at Rio’s place or if further away they can use WhatsApp to discuss issues in the field etc.

7pm: in the evening we will review the days take and Rio will give pointers. For those whose assignments have them working late they can submit a lores digital collection of their favorites by email, and it will reviewed the following morning.



DAY 3:

Morning – students out shooting again, those who shot late in the evening will review their evening/previous days take during the day with Rio in Pejeng around 10 am.

12.30pm : For those whose assigmentts permit, lunch and a basic introduction to editing and workflow.

3.00 pm : back to work shooting

7:00pm: review session and pointers.


DAY 4:

This is your final day in the field shooting. By this time you should have a good idea of what you need to get in order to complete your assignment.

Basically this is a full day shooting.

7pm : we meet at Rio’s place for a final review, initial tips on selection



9:00 am  – we begin selecting and editing, and work on our final presentation to the group.

3:00pm – participants start giving their final presentations. 20 minutes each!

7:00pm – closing ceremony and dinner



REGISTRATION:   click the link below –  (note registration only confirmed upon receipt of 50% deposit)

FEE & PAYMENT SCHEDULE: IDR 9,100,000  / USD 625.  –  50% down to confirm registration, remainder by June 20th 2023.

BANK TRANSFER: Rio Lihan Helmi, BCA (Bank Central Asia) Indonesia acc. 1350162891    Swift CENAIDJA