The Market Photo Workshop is a school of photography that provides affordable photographic education to historically disadvantaged youth that have had limited access to the medium in the past. Over the years the MPW has provided an accessible and viable source of education, equipping aspiring young marginalised photographers with the necessary photographic skills to allow them to pursue income generating careers.

Course Outcomes

  • Equipping the students with the technical and practical skills they will need for a career in photography, and building a portfolio of work to open career opportunities for themselves
  • Providing the students with income generating skills and the ability to operate within the photography industry
  • Creating networks for students within the industry through which they can be exposed to and gain insight into the various different photography practices.
  • Equipping the students with an understanding of the histories of photography and its practices in relation to other forms of visual culture, society and the media.
  • Through the work of the students creating an archive of contemporary South African life. This archive is reflected in the many exhibitions curated by the Market Photo Workshop.
  • Enabling the students through exposure in public programmes to critical thinking and debates of photography and art practice.


  • Foundation Course

As a basic introduction to photography, the Foundation Course teaches the fundamentals of digital and analogue photography from photographing the image, to printing it, and analysing its meanings and concepts. The course is taught according to six modules: (1) Technical Practical, (2) Visual Literacy (3) Applied Photography, (4) Visual Narrative (5) Post Production and (6) Professional Practice. Visual Literacy is intended to equip students with an understanding of the histories of photography and its practices in relation to other forms of visual culture, society, and the media. Professional Practice is aimed at providing students with the basic skills and experience they will need when entering the professional field, soft skills that are often left untaught in many education and training platforms. Visual Narrative prepares students to engage in long term photographic projects that look into issues in great depth. This course is run on a full time basis over 12 weeks.

  • Intermediate Course

The Intermediate Course consolidates and develops on the skills and knowledge acquired in the Foundation Course, by expanding the range of photographic skills and knowledge, including technical and practical skills, visual literacy, and professional practice. Students begin to build up a portfolio of work and a deeper understanding of the way meanings are made and interpreted through images and of the way one would operate within the photography industry. This course operates on a full-time basis over a period of 21 weeks.

  • Advanced Photography Programme

In this course the focus is placed on the individual’s creative, conceptual and professional development and personal photographic vision.  Specialist skills are introduced at this level, in addition to which students will embark on a series of independent self-motivated projects.  The modular course thematic deals with representation, construction, and the centre and periphery binary.  Aspects of visual culture, applied writing, professional practice, and practical and technical photography unlock the complexities of contemporary and professional contexts.  Students also select options from a programme of advanced interventions; these are short, intense programmes with defined outcomes – such as the production of a portfolio, publication, or exhibition.  The interventions are designed to provide learners with specific skills, experience, and access to the professional worlds of photography, and at the same time create interfaces and networks with public spheres in order to define and establish new ideas around photography.  In addition to the 6 modules offered in the short courses, students in the APP are introduced to multimedia and multiplatform to prepare students for creating lens-based work that is relevant to a digital based world. An internship towards the end of the course brings an important industry relationship to the training. The APP is a full time yearlong programme.

  • Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Programme

The Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Programme (PDP) is an intensive, yearlong training course designed to prepare students for the professional world of photojournalism and documentary photography practice.  The PDP is the only course of its kind on the African continent and focuses heavily on inculcating a critical awareness of socio-political issues, cultural contexts, and contemporary media practices and perspectives, as they appear within the broader South African, and African, landscape. The methodologies and perspectives employed throughout the course are specific and contextual, and suit students with a keen interest in African affairs.

The PDP programme equips students with theoretical concepts and knowledge, while simultaneously emphasising hands-on experience. Johannesburg, being a vibrant political and cultural arena, provides an ideal backdrop to the experiential learning programme. This dynamic and interactive process sees students not only having to complete various real-life assignments, but also having the opportunity to participate in a multitude of public programmes and projects facilitated and run by the Photo Workshop. These projects help students familiarise themselves with the South African environment, and also provide opportunities for students to practice the skills learned in class. Projects are run concurrently with classes throughout the year.

Applications for the Foundation and Intermediate Courses are open throughout the year, while applications close on 9 December 2021.