Photography Retreat: The Holy Week in Puglia

13-23 april, 2019

“A wonderful week spent at the Trullo Cicerone in the Valle d’Itria, Puglia, enjoying our shared passion of photography. Lessons, conversations, trips, tips and mentoring all made possible with the generosity of this man –  thank you for your time, wisdom and sharing your life’s photographic adventures and stories. Also a huge thank you to Ursula: your knowledge of the history and traditions of this area brought the ‘why’ in our storytelling to life. Together you create an amazing experience. Not to mention the wonderful food.”

Sally, Australia

This ten day workshop in visual storytelling will be focusing on the traditions and rites of the Settimana Santa, the Holy Week, in Puglia, and the subsequent Easter celebrations. Puglia is a region of unparalleled depth of religious traditions, with plenty of local variations and peculiarities. Participants will visit and photograph beautiful towns and churches, as well as unique processions and ceremonies.

The workshop is designed for all amateur or professional photographers. It focuses especially on developing mind and eye for chosing the right angle and frame, as well as on developing a story.


Located in the Valle d’Itria in Puglia, Southern Italy, the retreat is an opportunity for photography passionates to improve their skills, reflect, present and exchange experience in a unique and inspiring place, within a small group of participants under the tutorage of Manoocher Deghati, world-renowned photojournalist with more than 40 years of experience. Click here to watch a video about Manoocher and his life in Puglia.

The programme takes place in the pittoresque Valle d’Itria between Martina Franca, Cisternino and Locorotondo, on our small-scale farm home and vinyard. Host Ursula will take care of your culinary well-being. As an archaeologist and passionate cook, she prepares historic meals from the region’s past and present with zero mile ingredients and our own wine and olive oil.



The workshop will take place over a period of ten days, with a half day theoretical session (adaptable
to the participants’ skills and interests), and shooting assignments, visits, and outdoor activities.

Saturday, April 13: Arrival and welcome

Sunday, April 14: Palm Sunday in Locorotondo: benediction of the palm branches (olive twigs, actually), the Quarantana (lent witch), traditional palm Sunday lunch
Afternoon: Slideshow and comments on photography and photojournalism
Review of portfolios of the participants

Monday, April 15: Morning: shooting assignment in Cisternino
Afternoon: The role of art history in photography and editing: Why are pictures important for humanity? When and how did it all start? How does art history and our perception of aesthetics influence our choices in photo editing? Why is it important to be aware of it?
Review and discussion about the previous day’s photos

Tuesday, April 16: Visual story telling
Review and discussion about the previous day’s assignment
Afternoon: The Medieval cave village of Lama D’Antico and its churches with Byzantine frescoes

Wednesday, April 17 Morning: shooting assignment in Ostuni
The technical aspects of photography: composition, light, exposure…
Review and discussion about the previous day’s assignment

Thursday, April 18: Ethics: What ethical guidelines are important in photography and editing?
Review and discussion about the previous day’s assignment
The night of Maundy Thursday in Martina Franca: At midnight between Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the statue of the Virgin is carried by hooded and barefoot members of traditional confraternities.

Friday, April 19: Review and discussion about the previous day’s assignment
7pm: Passione vivente (life passion) in Alberobello, among trulli.

Saturday, April 20: Holy Saturday morning: Processione della Desolatain Canosa: hundreds of women dressed in black, their faces veiled, hold a procession in commemoration of the sufferings of Mary, Christ’s mother.
Easter Eve: Il Sparo della Quarantena: On thatevening the Quarantana (lent witch) is burned, marking the end of lent. Later that evening, as the beginning of the Easter liturgy, the Easter fire is lightened and blessed in front of all churches.

Sunday, April 21: Easter Sunday is a day of celebration within family, which is spend eating and drinking throughout the day. We will have a traditional Easter lunch.

Monday, April 22: Easter Monday / Pasquetta: Literally everybody is out on that day for the traditional, sumptious Easter picknick.
Evening: Review of the participants’ assignments and evaluation of the course

Tuesday, April 23: Departure

Ten day workshop per person, including ten nights accommodation: € 2,400.-
The workshop fee is split into two payments, the first payment is due upon registration. This payment confirms your stay. The second payment is due upon arrival.
Participants are responsible for their own insurance.

The price includes breakfast, Palm Sunday lunch, Easter feast, and traditional Easter Monday picknick.

Please list any special needs or considerations (double/single room request, accessibility needs, food preferences, allergies…). Thank you!

The nearest airports are Bari (1 1⁄2 h drive) and Brindisi (45 mins drive). There are trains and buses connecting the airport with the respective city centres. From there trains leave to Locorotondo or Martina Franca. Rental cars are available at both airports, as well as taxi services.
We strongly recommend to organize your own transportation for the period of the workshop.

Manoocher speaks English, Italian, French, Spanish, Farsi, Azeri, and Turkish.

Please feel free to contact us for more information!

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