• Photo: Mads Greve

    Photo: Mads Greve

  • Photo: Mads Greve

    Photo: Mads Greve

  • Photo: Mads Nissen/ Politiken/ Panos Pictures

    Photo: Mads Nissen/ Politiken/ Panos Pictures

Masterclass: The High North - photo essays on Arctic realities

Open call – Masterclass in documentary photography in the Barents region 2022

We are looking for the brightest young talents for a unique, free-of-charge, workshop on life in the high north – The Barents region covering Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland. If you have the curiosity and talent – we will support you with logistics and mentoring by World Press Photo winner Mads Nissen and teacher at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX) Mads Greve.

The masterclass will take place in March/April 2022 in Murmansk, Russia. Apply now.

DEADLINE FOR APPLYING: 25. May 2021. See details below.


Most people in the Barents region live in so called monocities build around a single industry such as mining. Many inhabitants still rely on these mines, factories and jobs derived from the industry. Pollution has a negative impact on both people and nature, but the whole region is deeply dependent on the production. Cities like Nikel, Apatity, Murmansk, Kirkenes and Kiruna were founded because of the minerals. But what happens when the mine closes? What future does the region hold for the young generation?

Another challenge is the climate crisis.

Climate changes are having dramatic effect in the Barents region, where indigenous people, the young generation and large industry all have to adopt rapidly to the changing environment.

85-year-old Rosa Luzia Lunardi is embraced by nurse Adriana Silva da Costa Souza. The first hug she receives in five months. Photo: Mads Nissen/ Politiken/ Panos Pictures

THE HIGH NORTH Masterclass aims to build knowledge, respect and personal relations across the borders at a time with growing political and cultural tensions.

We are inviting photographers from both North West Russia and the Nordic countries to apply for this unique opportunity to get together and learn from one another as well as our experienced masters. All in the middle of a fascinating region largely unknown to most Europeans. As we successfully did in previous years, our aim is once again to produce a photo book with the work.

Our base will be in Murmansk where World Press Photo-winner Mads Nissen and Mads Greve, teacher at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, will help you become a stronger visual storyteller using your distinct photographic voice. Furthermore Anna Kireeva, journalist and chair of Barents Press Russia, will help and coach you in relation to your own choice of story and the local realities and opportunities. Taking advantage of the group’s unique photographic approaches, knowledge and network we will support each other in making the strongest stories from the region.

The Masterclass will cover flights to and from Murmansk, food and accommodation during Phase Two and Phase Four and a contribution will be given to each participant to help cover expenses while in the field. All teaching and teaching material are also included.

The masterclass is conducted by Nordic Journalist Centre and Danish School of Media and Journalism with the support by The Nordic Council of Ministers. It is a continuation of our previous photographic workshops held in St. Peterburg, Kaliningrad, Copenhagen and Reykjavik.



Phase One – Getting ready (online)

This phase consists of at least one webinar and initial one-on-one feedback on your idea.

We will introduce you to The Barents region and its people. Their different living conditions and their current challenges. The aim is to broaden your horizon, inspire you and help you develop a realistic image of what to expect when working in the region.

We will also focus on journalistic methodology and how to write a strong pitch and introduction to your story.

Lastly, each participant will get the opportunity of an online session with an experienced journalist from the Barents region to get further practical information and inputs on your ideas. The goal is to help all participants develop realistic ideas for their time in the field.

Phase Two – Getting Together (Murmansk, Russia)

Murmansk, 14. – 19. March, 2022

We will kick-start the Masterclass in Murmansk. Over the course of four days, we will analyze picture stories, conceptual documentary photography, different journalistic approaches and look into how various photographic languages can be used as a tool to convey your personal vision. In group-sessions we will develop your story ideas, so everyone feels inspired and equipped to go out into the field.

(Check in on the 14th, check out on the 19th)

Phase Three – Working in the field

Field work:
Barents region, 19. March – 29. March, 2022

It’s now time to start working on your story. All participants will work in the Barents region. You can choose to work in either Russia, Norway, Sweden or Finland depending on your story, abilities and your individual visa and travel permissions. The Masterclass includes a subsidy covering some of the expenses of the field work for each participant.

Phase Four – Editing (Murmansk, Russia)

Murmansk, 29. March – 2. April, 2022

Eager to see each other’s work we’ll once again meet in Murmansk. We learn about the importance and different methods in editing a body of work. It’s easy to get lost, but we will guide you to see the potential in your material. You are the author of your work, but together we might be able to make your voice clearer.

(Check in on the 29th, check out on the 2nd)

How to apply

Homesick, Photo: Mads Greve

Participants must be photojournalists or documentary photographers from North West Russia or from one of the Nordic countries – Iceland, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Aaland. Up to 14 participants will be selected.

Participants must be under the age of 35.

Students, as well as participants in the NJC Masterclasses “Next Door” (2014), “Next to Me” (2016) and “Next to You (2019) cannot participate.

Participants must speak English at a good level.

Participants must be able to work independently in a foreign country and to plan the practical aspects of their field work including any research and planning before arriving in Murmansk.

Participants are required to participate in the full masterclass (all four phases) and invest time to produce their picture stories. Participants must be prepared to spend the time needed for any visa applications. Other inquiries related to the Masterclass must be expected and will need to be answered to professionally and within deadlines.

The Masterclass is free of charge for the participants. Travel expenses to/from Murmansk, food and accommodation during the two workshops will be covered. Each participant will be given a subsidy to cover expenses during the field work but participants must be open to having to pay for any possible expenses related to their chosen picture story and the visas needed.

You need to submit:

– Your CV
– A short description of your photographic interests and motivation (maximum ½ page)
– 20 selected photographs – stories or singles is your choice – which shows your voice, talent and interests. Must be jpg. and approximately 5 mb each

The application will be sent via WeTransfer to mg@dmjx.dk and deadline is 25. May at 12.00 AM (CET).

For any questions feel free to contact
Mads Greve, email: mg@dmjx.dk
Mads Nissen, email: info@madsnissen.com
Mikkel Odgaard, email: mo@dmjx.dk (for practical information)


About the tutors:


Mads Nissen, documentary photographer
(b. 1979, Denmark)

Mads Nissen. Photo: Morten Rode

Mads Nissen. Photo: Morten Rode

For Mads Nissen photography is all about empathy – creating understanding, a closeness, an intimacy. He strives to build that connection while focusing on contemporary social issues such as inequality, human rights violations and our often destructive relationship with nature.

Mads graduated with distinction from The Danish School of Media and Journalism in 2007. After graduating he moved to Shanghai to document the human and social consequences of China’s historic economic rise. Since 2014 he has worked as a staff photographer at the Danish daily Politiken, a newspaper internationally praised for its strong commitment to visual journalism. In addition to Politiken, his images have been published in Time, Newsweek, CNN, National Geographic, The Guardian, Stern, Der Spiegel and many publications.

He frequently gives lectures and workshop and has had solo-exhibitions across Europe and Latin America.

In 2015, his photograph of a gay couple from Russia was selected as World Press Photo of the
Year, in 2021 his photograph of an elderly woman getting a hug for the first time in five months was selected as World Press Photo of the Year. In 2018 he was named ‘Photographer of the Year’ for the third time in Denmark. He has also twice been shortlisted as ‘Photographer of the Year’ at the Pictures of the Year International Award (POYi).

Mads Nissen has published three photo books: ‘The Fallen’ (People’s Press), ‘AMAZONAS’ (Gyldendal) and most recently the award-winning ‘We are Indestructible’ (GOST Books).

Mads Nissen is represented by Panos Pictures. And by Prospekt in Italy and Laif in Germany.



Mads Greve, associate professor in photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism

Mads Greve, associate professor in photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX)

Mads Greve, associate professor in photojournalism at the Danish School of Media and Journalism (DMJX)

For Mads Greve teaching master classes and workshops with participants from different countries and cultures is always interesting. He finds it exciting to see the different approaches to stories and to photojournalism and enjoys the guidance and tutoring of participants with a focus on making their story stand out in the strongest possible way.

As an associate Professor at the Danish School of Media and Journalism he feels privileged to be able to work with students from all over the world.

In addition to teaching he works on personal projects and have published two photographic books, Man kan ikke engang græde (Ajour 2008) and Blind Date (Ajour/Postcart 2012).
His third book, Homesick, is planned for release in May 2021.

Mads Greve’s work has been exhibited at Copenhagen Photo Festival, Kolga Tbilisi Photo Festival in Tbilisi and at Vizualizator Photo Festival in Belgrade.



Anna Kireeva, journalist and chair of Barents Press Russia

Anna Kireeva, Chair of Barents Press Russia and member of NJC’s Advisory Board

Graduated from Murmansk State University with English as a major. She worked as a journalist at Bellona (an NGO in Murmansk) from 2002 to 2019, where climate and environmental issues in the arctic region were her main field of work.

Anne Kireeva has written more than 500 articles focusing on the arctic from both local and international angles.

She is chair of Barents Press Russia and member of Nordic Journalist Centre’s Advisory Board.



NJC Masterclass for young Nordic and North West Russian photo journalists 2021.

The project is supported by Nordic Council of Ministers. The project is conducted by Nordic Journalist Centre.

NJC is free to use the photos from the project for a photo book about The High North and in promoting future courses and masterclasses. Apart from that the participants hold the rights to the material and are free to sell any photos from the project.