Proposal for the training of four Hope Foundation ‘Community Photojournalists’ in Kolkata, November 2013

HOPE administer primary health care at Solo Bigha slum.


The Proposal.

This is a proposal to train 4 Kolkata based people shoot documentary and photojournalistic images within their communities and  The Hope Foundation projects in Kolkata generally. Applicants should already be or be prepared to become HOPE, Kolkata Volunteers. The training will take place during my next visit to India in early to late November which will be around the time when I am running a Street Photography Workshop in aid of HOPE.

The selected candidates will be encouraged to identify ‘stories’ within their communities and then shoot appropriate imagery and write explanatory text. These ‘stories’ (which may often be ‘ongoing’ in nature and require follow-up visits), will provide continuing and updated content to be used on the HOPE websites and social media.

The pictures you will take and the words you write will be key to raising both national and international awareness of HOPE projects in Kolkata. I am proposing that you will go out into your communities, identify, shoot and write about ‘real lives’ and concerns within in your own neighbourhoods. You will also be expected cover other HOPE projects which might be an trip out with the Night Ambulance to bring back a person in distress to the HOPE hospital, cover a fundraising events in a photojournalistic style and other stories as required by HOPE.

I believe that learning and honing these skills will provide a bedrock of skills to make you later employable by newspapers, magazines and web based media as well as providing a greater presence for HOPE and a voice for your communities.

As time goes on you will be encouraged to upload your material to the HOPE websites and social media, (Facebook and Twitter) updating your stories online, using a standard ‘in-house’ style to preserve consistency across the mediums.


The Training.

Training will take place over a number of days in early to late November 2013. I will discuss with you how to identify stories, train each of you to shoot in a photojournalistic style and then provide pointers on creating simple written copy. Your images will be continuously critiqued by me and you will be encouraged to then adjust your shooting style accordingly.

I will show you how to use Adobe Lightroom to import, cull, process and export your images in various sizes for various outputs. Please try and get or share a copy of this software on some computer that we can work on. I will also have my laptop with me to demonstrate.

Lastly I shall also show you how to improve your camera skills if I feel you are lacking in technical knowledge. A basic understanding of the interaction between aperture, shutter speed and ISO would be very helpful and improve your chances of selection. Like any good photojournalist it is even more important you have a good ‘eye’ and are able to interact with people sensitively — having good ‘bedside manner’ as it is sometimes referred to. These skills are paramount in allowing you to obtain the images and the stories that ultimately will be the most compelling.


Who should apply.

Applicants should be working as volunteers for the HOPE or be prepared to become one. They should have an interest in photography and not just videography. They should have a good knowledge of spoken and written English. Please note I shall be teaching photography and basic writing skills – not videography. (HOPE will also be using video stories on its sites but this proposal does relate to teaching videography)’


How to apply.

Anyone interested in becoming part of this exciting venture should please send me by email a short introduction to themselves and address the items below. A full CV is not necessary – I just want to get a sense of you and your current skills and motivations.

1/ Why would like to be involved?
2/Do you presently have any camera skills – can you shoot fully manual?
3/Are you a resident of Kolkata and able to devote time to this project. Can you commit to 5–10 hours a week to this project?
4/Do you have access to a computer or have your own laptop?

Along with your basic introduction please email me 20 images maximum, at low resolution (850 pixels on the long edge, 72ppi) showing your current shooting style. Please send only images that have people in them. If you have shot any candid or reportage images, even better. Dont worry if they are not all that great just please send me what you consider your best selection. I am not so much looking for technical ability as the ability to frame and compose – ie, having a good ‘camera eye’. I am also looking for your own natural ability to identify your best images. This ability to pick your own best work is also key to creating strong stories.

I shall make my final candidate selection after a short but friendly personal interviews on my arrival in Kolkata. Please be aware that  I only shall write back to shortlisted applicants — please do not be offended if you do not hear back from me. Time constraints mean that I will not be able to answer applications that have not been shortlisted for a final interview. I have a full time job working as a professional photographer in London and I simply will not have the time to respond to anybody other than those selected.

My email is :

Please visit this link to see my upcoming workshop in aid of the HOPE in November.

November 2013 photography workshop.






  1. Helen Batt - Hi Mark, I often see your images on my facebook feed so it's interesting to read a bit about The Hope foundation. I'm off to India in November myself on a photography workshop and really looking forward to it! Hopefully it will aid my photojournalists skills.

    • Mark - Thanks Helen - I hope you have a great time in India.

  2. Mike Garrard - What a great experience this will be for all involved... good luck with it all.

Leave a Comment