Maggie Steber workshop


A workshop over 5 days, exploring the elusive mysterious nature of ideas, sometimes dark, sometimes dreamlike, whatever the photographer considers mysterious. Mystery is all around us if we choose to see it. 

It can be on the street at night or during the day, in the light and shadow of street lamps where someone lurks, or the slicing rays of hot light that fall between tall buildings, inside an apartment where some drama takes place or a forbidden love. Where and how we find mystery is what this workshop is about. Each photographer takes on the theme of “Mystery”, creating an essay inspired by the sights and emotions of the life in the city and the tools we learn in class. The workshop is for the photographer who wants to open their imaginations and explore a new territory, even if for a short while, that will expand their thinking and visual approach. 

To pique our imaginations we will review the photographs of a wide variety of photographers whose work addresses mystery including Maggie’s.

Film noir, pulp fiction, the use of light and shadow to portray love and loss, life and death, suspense, murder, or the yin and yang of life. The idea of mystery and considering how to visualize it is something we will explore together to reach into the fascinating darker genre of photography where anything goes. Consider this your secret garden, a safe place to express wherever your imagination takes you. Participants are expected to have a basic understanding of their camera functions and operation. This is not a “how to” or technically focused program.


Right now we are taking expressions of interest in the workshop. Places are limited. Please send 6 sample images of your work to mail@headon.com.au with "EOI Maggie Steber workshop" in the subject line or click on the below button.
EOI Deadline: Wednesday 22 March 2017.

Cost: $1200 ($1175 members)

Maximum 15 participants

Dates: 4 May - 8 May 2017

Location: Paddington (TBC)








4 May

5pm – 9pm

Class time to review students’ work and get to know one another. For this review please bring 10 of your favorite photographs, be it a project, series, or individual shots, for review. Bring digital Images on a small USB drive or prints if you have them. Prints are not required. Review of work by other photographers working with mystery as a theme, and Maggie’s work. Brainstorm about ideas you might have and build on that.

Students will be expected to photograph and bring photographs to class the next day.  Will discuss during the class. 


5 May

5pm – 9pm

Class time to review work you shot the night before or before class. Choose your 10 to 15 best/favorite images that show something compelling, mysterious, or scenic, whatever your theme, for showing in the class.  Critique and discussion on focusing ideas. Three in-class photographic exercises.  Bring flashlight if you have one, your smart phone, and a camera to class for the exercises. Class discussion of each student’s ideas. Discussion on how music and films can improve your style and thinking.


6 May

9am – 12.30pm

Shooting time for students

12.30pm – 3pm

Class time to review work. One on ones with Maggie.


7 May

9am – 12.30pm

Class time to review/critique progress with student projects. Lesson editing and sequencing your photographs. One on ones with Maggie


Shooting time or attend Head On Photo Festival panel discussion Unpacking the Prizes – Head On Photo Awards 2017 judges discuss their choices


Shooting time. Last day to photograph. One on one meetings with Maggie.


Dinner for workshop students and teachers (extra cost and optional)


 8 May


Class time to sequence final selection of photographs and build slide presentation.   (Last class day).




Maggie Steber is a documentary photographer who has worked in 66 countries on stories concerning the human experience. Her honours include the Leica Medal of Excellence, World Press Photo Foundation First Prize in Spot News, the Overseas Press Club, Pictures of the Year for Best Documentary Photo, the Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to Journalism (University of Missouri), the Alicia Patterson Grant, the Ernst Haas Grant.  Steber also won and a Knight Foundation grant for the New American Newspaper project, a visually-driven tabloid she researched and conceived.

Maggie has served as a judge for many photographic competitions in several genres of work including documentary and art and conceptual photography. She was a judge for Head On Portrait Prize 2017, World Press Photo, International Pictures of the Year, the Alexia Grant, Visura Grant, Getty-Instagram Grant, the Pulitzer Prize (US), the Alicia Patterson Grant, Young Arts Foundation, the Miami Street Photography Festival, the Obscura Festival in Malaysia and many others.

For over three decades, Steber has worked in Haiti. Aperture published her monograph, DANCING ON FIRE in 1991. In 2013 Steber was named as one of 11 Women of Vision by National Geographic Magazine. 

Steber served as a Newsweek Magazine contract photographer in the 1990s and as the Asst. Managing Editor of Photography and Features at The Miami Herald from 1999-2013, overseeing photo-driven projects that won a Pulitzer and were twice finalists for the honour.

Steber’s photographs are included in the Library of Congress American Women Photographers Collection and The Richter Library among others including private collectors. Her work has been exhibited internationally including a group exhibition at the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Reporters Sans Frontieres. Main clients include National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, AARP, The Guardian, Politico, People, and Geo Magazine. Steber teaches workshops internationally including at the World Press Joop Swart Master Classes, the International Center for Photography in New York City, the Foundry Workshops, Missouri Photo Workshops, various Leica Akademie USA workshops in US and Canada, and at the Obscura Photo Festival in Penang, Malaysia.



By the conclusion of this workshop you will:

  1. Gain confidence in editing and sequencing your work
  2. Create photographs that are visually intriguing 


This is not a “how to” course. The workshop is best suited for people who are already familiar with the operations of their camera and are looking for a creativity driven course.

You can employ any photographic style from documentary to fine art.

Due to the quick turn-around time, we advise the use of a digital camera over analogue processes. 


  • Appropriate camera gear for your shooting style (+spare batteries!)
  • Check at the end of each class session for what you need to bring to the next one. This might include prints/digital file, flash-light or other items brought up in class.
  • Note taking equipment (note pad, pen, digital tablet etc.)
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Clothing suitable for the weather conditions (both indoor and outdoor)


Product event date: 
Thursday, 4 May 2017 - 5:00pm - Monday, 8 May 2017 - 9:00pm