Mentor program:
Art & Storytelling spring 2019
with Cheryl Newman & guests
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Bilder Nordic School of Photography is proud to present the fifth version of the mentor program ART & STORYTELLING with the renown photo editor Cheryl Newman and a team of inspiring guests. The workshop is aimed to you who need guidance in forming a professional portfolio with a distinct photographic identity or are working on a long-term project that needs a final presentation. In addition, the workshop will prepare you to get in touch with photo editors to secure your assignments. 

For norwegian version – click here

This workshop is meant for photographers with work experience, people with an education within photography or very experienced enthusiasts. You should have a solid amount of work and a desire to advance to an international professional level. The workshop is not genre-defined and can also suit you who are in the process of a long-term project where you need guidance in further development and presentation forms.

The mentor program covers two different angles; the photographer and the photo editor. From the perspective of the photographer you’ll go through themes ranging from selection of portfolios and platforms to how to plan and prepare for your first meeting with a photo editor and how to handle possible rejections. From the perspective of the photo editor, you’re focusing on finding a niche, developing a distinctive style and getting your work published, as well as a realistic approach to marketing strategies, estimating projects, and working with customers.

This is a unique opportunity to reshape your portfolio in a manner that qualifies for viewing in international portfolio reviews and professional venues as well as preparation before referring to important industry contacts.


I came to the Mentor programme with a huge portfolio – perhaps 5 years of unedited work. The help, advise and input I received from Cheryl Newman and Marcus Bleasdale both conceptually and practically was invaluable and a revelation to my artistic practice. They are both in touch with the photography industry internationally and together we edited a new portfolio.

Following the programme I continued to work with Cheryl. We first made a trip to Copenhagen to meet with galleries where she introduced me to interesting people within the art and photography business. Then in 2016 she contacted me to say that she had found a gallery that was very interested in my work (what a nice mail to get!).

In May 2016 I was invited to submit work to FIXphoto via LA Noble Gallery in London. This was a high profile exhibition during Photo London at The Barge House Gallery on London’s South Bank. From this exhibition I am now delighted to be represented by Laura Noble in the UK.

The group of dedicated photographers I met in the mentor program was also a very positive experience. I made many new friends whom I keep in contact with both in Oslo and London. – Einar Sira, participant of the mentor program spring 2015

The workshop runs over four weeks in fall and winter 2019/2020, with four mentoring  weekends from November 14th to January 12th. We start off with an intense kick-off weekend where you present your current portfolio and analyze strengths and weaknesses as well as set a goal for the workshop. During the workshop you will be encouraged to shoot new material to strengthen parts of your portfolio and get feedback on this. Along the way you will meet several exciting guests; both Norwegian and international photographers and industry actors (more info coming soon!). You will work to further develop a distinctive personal style, as well as present your work both digitally, online and on print. The closing weekend is used to complete a professional portfolio in book form that meets the requirements for meeting professional image actors in the international market.


What kind of portfolio do you need? How should you build the right style and image range for your portfolio? How do you get assignments based on your photographic identity? What kind of platform should you present your work on? What images are photo editors expecting to see? How do you get a meeting with the photo editor? How to choose a marketing strategy? If these are questions you want answers to, this is the workshop for you!


About Cheryl Newman
Cheryl Newman is an independent photographer, curator and consultant living in London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and Chairman of the prestigious RPS Photographic Awards. For more than fifteen years she was the photography director of the Telegraph magazine where she raised the profile of the magazine commissioning intelligent and inventive photography worldwide. She is a contributing editor and writer with PYLOT magazine showcasing art, fashion and documentary analogue imagery. She has served as a jury member for numerous photographic awards globally and a regular speaker on the photo circuit in the UK, US and Europe. Currently she is commissioning and curating, ‘We Feed the World’, a photographic project documenting agroecology globally. The exhibition will premier in London in April 2018. Cheryl is a nominator for the Deutsche Borse Photography prize and consultant and judge for the Moran Photography Awards, Sydney, Australia. Cheryl is the 2019 Curatorial Director of PondyPHOTO, an international public art, photography festival in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India.


The mentor program I run in conjunction with Bilder Nordic is unique within Norway. As an editor, writer and educator of photographer my experience within the industry is exceptional. The 15 years I spent as photography director of the award-winning Telegraph magazine has given me access to many of the worlds most renowned photographers, publishers and gallerists and my work as both a curator and artist has enriched my experience within the photographic community. The program we have developed is rich, rewarding and most of all flexible in its approach to allow the artists to develop their practice in a challenging and supportive atmosphere. The photographers can expect honesty, enthusiasm and commitment from me and I would expect them to be able to take gentle criticism when necessary, be open-minded and to take suggestions on board.

Through the weekend workshops we will look at many aspects of photographic practice including; photographic genres and where I fit, how to edit and sequence your work, the complexities of the photographic print, working towards a photo books, how to reach an audience, creating a great website, how to survive in the marketplace, ethics and why you need them, new funding models and grant applications, commercial collaboration, and the editorial market.

But primarily we will dig deep into who you are as an artist and fundamentally improve and enrich your practice. With support from international guests, including photographers, publishers and gallerists this is a motivational, exciting and fun experience for the practicing photographer and a life changing experience for the enthusiastic amateur. I am very excited to work with photographers developing on long-term projects in an environment of mutual respect. – Cheryl Newman

The mentor program involves several formal international guests, as well as several informal local guests. More information about the formal guests is published on a continuous basis.


Rena Effendi

Rena Effendi is an Azerbajani freelance photographer. Her work focuses on themes of environment, post-conflict society, the effects of oil industry on people, and social disparity. She has received many international awards including the Alexia 2018 Professional Grant, World Press Photo, SONY World Photography Award, Getty Images Editorial Grant and was short-listed for the Prix Pictet Award in Photography and Sustainability.

Effendi is represented by National Geographic Creative agency and ILEX Gallery. Rena Effendi’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. She has worked on editorial assignments for the National Geographic, The New Yorker, Newsweek, TIME, The New York Times magazine, Vogue, Marie Claire, The Sunday Times, GEO and others.

Rena Effendi’s early work focused on oil industry’s effects on people’s lives. As a result, she followed a 1,700 km oil pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work was published in 2009 in her first book: «Pipe Dreams: A Chronicle of lives along the pipeline».

In 2013, Rena Effendi published her second monograph Liquid Land where her images are paired with photographs of perished butterflies hunted by her father, a Soviet entomologist, who collected more than 30,000 butterflies in Soviet Union. Liquid Land punctuates the theme of fragility and environmental decay of Baku, the city where Effendi was born and grew up.

You can read more about her and see her work on her webpage


Foto: Rena Effendi
Foto: Rena Effendi
Foto: Rena Effendi
Foto: Rena Effendi
Foto: Rena Effendi
Foto: Rena Effendi
Foto: Rena Effendi





  • 28th – 29th of september / Kick-off weekend with Cheryl Newman / Guest: Rena Effendi
    Saturday 28th of September: 10.00 – 18.00
    Sunday 29th of September: 10.00 – 18.00
  • 26th – 27th of October / Mentoring weekend with Cheryl Newman / Guest: TBA
    Saturday 26th of October: 10.00 – 18.00
    Sunday 27th of October: 10.00 – 18.00
  • 23rd – 24th of November / Mentoring weekend with Cheryl Newman / Guest: TBA
    Saturday 23rd of November: 10.00 – 18.00
    Sunday 24th of November: 10.00 – 18.00
  • 11th – 12th of January / Final weekend with Cheryl Newman / Guest: TBA
    Saturday 11th of January: 10.00 – 18.00
    Sunday 12th of January: 10.00 – 18.00

Practical information

Kick-off weekend September 28th – 29th
Mentoring weekend October 26th – 27th
Mentoring weekend November 23rd – 24th
Final weekend January 11th – 12th
Detailed program in the end of the page.

Bilder Nordic School of Photography, Nedre Vollgate 8, 0158 Oslo

NOK 15 000,-

Maximum participants 

To secure your seat on the mentor program you’re required to upload your portfolio. When you’ve signed up through the button in the header you’ll receive an automated email with instructions to finalise your registration.