Spazio Labo’ – Centro di fotografia | Strada Maggiore 29 | Bologna

Online Course – Telling the story






Over a period of eight weeks, this course will look at the different ideas, influences, and practices that have been used to tell visual stories in some of the major photographic movements and genres of photography.

Using both contemporary and historical examples, the course will take an engaging look at how stories are told through photography in print, in the gallery, in photobooks. The course will look at the ideas behind images and how artistic, cultural, and political influences have helped shape how those images can be understood.

Each session will include a lecture on a key genre of photography, as well as introductory readings and references to the ideas underlying that photography. There will be short sessions where students can put up images for peer and tutor review.

By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of how and why images are made, shown, and understood, how they fit within broader social and cultural movements, and how these ideas can be used to tell stories with their own images.


  • Theory, practice and reading
  • Ideas, influences and practices of visual storytelling
  • Historical and contemporary photography
  • Artistic, cultural, and political influences
  • The key genres of photography
  • The theory behind practice: assignments, seminars and reviews


In this introductory lecture, we will look at the outline of the module, as well as the idea that theory, practice and histories of photography overlap. We will also look at ideas of modes of photography, narrative voice, and story arcs. The emphasis is on the photographers taking control and responsibility of their work.

Who does the looking In this lecture we will look at the origins of portrait photography, how the face became the ‘mirror into the soul’, and how power and control have been invested in the person taking the photograph. We will also look at the global nature of photography, and the ways different theories of image, self, and photographic identity emerge from different visual traditions in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Where we look and what we show. Who does the looking matters? What we choose to look at matters too. And so does where you look at, and what we show. This lecture will look at the diverse global origins of landscape photography, examining the idea that the landscape is inherently political and economic in the way that it is and has been portrayed. The lecture will go beyond the picturesque to look at theories that extend to contemporary surveys of the landscape in representations of environmental issues, climate change, and land ownership. In this lecture what you don’t show matters just as much as what you do.

This lecture will look at the relationship between photography, anthropology, and travel. It will look at how photography has been used to show distant places (from a European perspective), how ideas of the exotic developed from art and extended into photography, and how this photographic practice extended into a dominant way of viewing the world. And it’s a way of looking that we need to move on from.

In this survey of street photography, we will look both at the grand tradition of Western street photography, as well as an expanded, global view of street photography that covers ideas of surveillance, technology, and voyeurism and how these mix with ideas of urban, economic, and national identity in contemporary representations of the street.

In this lecture, we will look at how photography, film, and literature have overlapped in staged photography and self-portraiture. Ideas of autobiography, the body, and the self will overlap with the ways in which different photographers have used cinema, national identity, and political histories to examine who they are and who, through the camera, they can be.

The first photography we are exposed to is family photography. We are photographed as babies, as children, in a variety of situations that are both individual yet standardised – we are photographed at family gatherings, in groups, at celebrations, on holiday. This lecture will look at how family photography both replicates idealised concepts of the family, as well as look at work where that idea of the ideal family is undermined and reinvented.

The boundaries between photographic genre have become blurred as definitive ideas of photographic style have merged and overlapped. This lecture will examine how photography has used fiction, storytelling, and speculation to tell a story. It will look at narrative approaches, unreliable narrators and the questioning of photographic frameworks as a means to an end in visual storytelling. How do you tell a story with images? That Is at the heart of this series of lectures and that is how this series will conclude.


Colin Pantall is a writer, lecturer and photographer based in Bath, Europe.

He writes for a range of publications including World Press Photo, Magnum Photos, The British Journal of Photography, and Source Magazine. He teaches at Falmouth, Bath Spa, and the University of Gloucestershire and runs independent lectures, workshops, and conversations linking contemporary photography to global, historical, and theoretical perspectives.

His photography focusses on domestic environments and family, and include his projects Sofa Portraits, All Quiet on the Home Front, and My German Family Album, projects where the conflicting narratives of family, environmental and political histories collide.

More info:



Instagram: @colin_pantall


FROM MARCH 16th, 2021



TUESDAY, 7 pm – 9.30 pm (CET)


200€ (Early Bird)

/ 240 € (full price)



Yes, if you are a photography student, a young professional in photography or very passionate about photography strongly willing to learn how and why images are made, shown, and understood, how they fit within broader social and cultural movements, and how these ideas can be used to tell stories with their own images.

If you still have doubts please feel free to contact us at | +39 3283383634 | +39 3394534132.


The course has a total duration of 20 hours which will all take place online.
Class 1 – Tuesday, March 16th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 2 – Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 3 – Tuesday, March 30th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 4 – Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 5 – Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 6 – Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 7 – Tuesday, April 27th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)
Class 8 – Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 – from 7 PM to 9.30 PM (CET)


From Nuuk (Greenland) to Wellington (New Zealand), from Adak (USA) to Nemuro (Japan), you are welcome to join our online classes from wherever you are based or connecting from – home, studio, train, beach. You just need a good internet connection and a computer (but also your tablet or smartphone will be fine).


All the classes will be recorded to be available for the participants for the whole week, online until the next class: you will not miss your terrific appointments: the aperitivo with your best friend, the table-tennis tournament, the book-launch of your favourite writer.


You might have homework to do and you will be able to share them with the teacher and the whole group into an online private folder where all the tips and resources will be uploaded to make together with you the path of this course.


Our support team dedicated to technical and management assistance for online activities will be available to students and teachers to make the remote teaching experience as fluid and organic as possible, both from a technical and organizational point of view.


A certificate of participation will be released to each participant at the end of the course.


Admission to the course is open to everyone until the maximum number of participants is reached: 20. Minimum number of participants: 10


If you enroll by February 23rd, 2021, the Early Bird price is 200€. Then, the participation fee will be 240€ (full price).

If you wish to participate, please send an email to

Participation in the online course is reserved to Spazio Labo’ members (2021 membership fee is 15 €).

Further info: – (0039) 328 3383634.


It is possible to obtain a full refund of the registration fee paid by submitting a cancellation in person, by email or by telephone within 5 days from the start of the course. For cancellations received after this period, the reimbursement of the registration fee is provided, less a deduction of 50 euros for administrative expenses. There is no refund for cancellations received after the course has begun.

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