Storytelling & Social Media Workshop with John Stanmeyer

Tbilisi, Georgia ~ 22-30 June, 2016

Our second in a series of Storytelling and Social Media Workshops will bring 12 photographers to the historic and beautiful city of Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia. Located in the heart of the Caucasus. Tbilisi is often called the Paris of the region with its gilded architecture, rich history warm and welcoming people, the perfect setting for deeply enrich storytelling.

John Stanmeyer spent has spent much time in Georgia and Armenia, falling in love with the region, the culture and its people. We now return for a second time this year to this enchanting area of the Caucasus for a workshop like no other — storytelling and the power of publishing in today’s ever evolving media landscape.

Throughout the 9 day workshop, John will collaborate closely with each photographer as they work on their individual stories, most specifically in the storytelling and editing processes. At times, John will try to go out with photographers, however experience shows that having another photographer around you while working only alters, affects the situations each photographer works in. If a photographer is having difficulty in the field connecting with the story, John will indeed go out with the photographer, guiding and inspiring wherever needed. Keep in mind that this is not a “Follow the flag, now take a picture of this!” type workshop. John’s workshops are all about individual, in-depth storytelling where each photographer not only will learn how to expand their photography, you will learn how to expand your thinking and awareness of the world around you. In every workshop John has hosted, each photographer leaves effected, expanded — for John and others, these are almost therapy photo sessions of enlightenment.

Editing of photography happens each day at the workshop venue. This is done both individually and in groups, making it a fascinating learning experience for all when witnessing how each photographers images evolve throughout the course of the workshop, into a completed story.

During most evenings of the workshop, John will present stories he has produced from over twenty years of photographing for the world’s leading publications, such as National Geographic and Time magazine. Stanmeyer will bring each photographer into his planning, research and psyche of creating more than 14 stories for National Geographic.

The workshop venue will be held in the heart of the old city of Tbilisi. To make this workshop truly affordable and accessible to all, we have chosen to rent out two houses where each participant will stay, one of the homes being the venue of the workshop, both in walking distance of each other.  John and the workshop team will help each photographer choose which location they wish to stay based upon their budget — prices are roughly $20-$40 per night.

It is expected that each photographer arrives to Tbilisi by the morning of June 22nd. By the afternoon, we will converge at the workshop venue where each photographer will meet with John and will be introduced to their fixer/translators to begin logistics planning for the next day’s photography. Photography on your story begins either on that afternoon of the 22nd (if you so choose) or early on the 23rd.

Joining John this year will be Anush Babajanyan, co-founder of 4Plus, an NGO that uses photography to empower women in the Caucasus. Anush is one of of the most talented photographers working today in Caucasus, helping to expand both your photography and cultural understanding in the truly rich, subtle nuances of Georgian culture and traditions.

On the evening of the 30th of June, each photographer will project their completed work to all attending the workshop, as well as invited guests. Photographers will present and discuss the unique aspects of each story in the exact same manner as a completed story for National Geographic magazine is presented upon completion to editors. This evening event is truly something magical and amazing, with each photographer learning something new not only about their own work but also the work of their colleagues.

We encourage all photographers to consider staying longer in country to keep honing their photographic skills. John and the workshop team can help in offering expertise and insight into places around Tbilisi as well as in Armenia which is only a short 2 hours drive south.

Workshop Fee

Early Bird

  • Register before April 31, 2016
  • New Workshop Attendee

Early Bird & Returning

  • Register before April 31, 2016
  • Returning Workshop Attendee

Standard & Returning

  • Register after April 31, 2016
  • Returning Workshop Attendee


  • Register after April 31, 2016
  • New Workshop Attendee

Workshop Requirements

This is not a workshop teaching f-stops or how a camera works. This is a workshop about storytelling and the power of photography. Each participant must be a competent, passionate photographer, with a solid understanding of their camera. You can use any camera you wish, even an iPhone (John often uses his iPhone on assignments). Each photographer needs their own laptop, external hard drives to store their photos and editing software such as Lightroom, Aperture or Photo Mechanic. Photographers wanting to record audio should bring their own digital or analogue audio recorders. Also remember to bring power cables and any other accessories you feel you need to connect to 220v power.

Additional Insight

The workshop venue will be held in Tbilisi, located in the heart of the old city. To make this workshop truly affordable and accessible to all, we have chosen to rent out two houses where each participant will stay, one of the homes being the venue of the workshop, both in walking distance of each other. John and the workshop team will help each photographer choose which location they wish to stay based upon their budget — prices are roughly $20-$40 per night.

If you are fluent in Georgian or Russian, there is no need for a translator. To support those who are not fluent in these languages, we have arranged talented fixer/translators to work with each photographer. Their fee is $20 per day. While it is not required, we recommend each photographer to support all food and added transport costs for your fixer. With expenses being low in Tbilisi, most food costs should be minimal.
Most stories you will work on can be accomplished via taxi’s. Taxi costs in Tbilisi are very low compared to other countries, averaging $2-5 per ride. For those working on stories outside of the city center, we are making arrangements to have hired car/drivers at an average cost per day of roughly $25-$40. We will work with you on sorting such logistics once your story theme has been chosen.

All air transport to and from Tbilisi, Georgia, are the responsibilities of each participant. Depending on where you are traveling from, there are amazingly low rates from major hub cities.

Prices may vary however as of March 2, 2016, here are a few price options selected cities:

  • New York, JFK-TBS on Azerbaijan Airlines — $703 USD R/T
  • Los Angeles, LAX-TBS on Aeroflot — $1100 R/T
  • London, LGW-TBS on Pegasus Airlines — $301 R/T
  • Paris, CDG-TBS on Aeroflot — $298 R/T
  • Singapore, SIN-TBS on mixed carriers — $863 R/T
  • Bangkok, BKK-TBS on Aeroflot departing/returning any day — $806 R/T
Airport transport to the central area from the airport is easily arranged via taxi. Most taxi drivers speak some English and can easily take to you your AirBnB lodging. Cost should be no more than $20.


A $1,000 nonrefundable deposit is payable on confirmation of a space in the workshop. It is recommended to make the deposit immediately upon confirming a space in the workshop as these intimate events fill quickly.

To receive the 10% or 20% discount options, the remaining balance must be paid by April 31, 2016 (Note: Register early to take advantage of both the special discounts and to make sure you there is space). If registering after April 31, 2016, deposit and full payment must be received by May 31, 2016.

Cancellation policy: A 50-percent refund will be given up to one month prior to the start of the workshop for any participant who has paid in full for the workshop, however the $1,000 deposit is not refundable for any reason of cancellation — The reason for this is due to the high preparation costs, staffing fees and other significant expense to run international workshops prior to the start of workshop.

Spouse/partner/children of a participant are welcomed however they cannot partake in the actual workshop.

Bank Transfer Fees

All wire transfer fees are the responsibility of the registering/participating photographer. Please read Liability Waiver.