Seeing Crete: A Photo Diary

Join Greek-American Stella Johnson on a journey of imagemaking, storytelling and discovery on the Greek Island of Crete. Stella has been photographing Crete since 2007, working on her book ZOE (Mother Life), and making invaluable contacts for her students. Participants learn how to approach the incredibly welcoming Greeks for a storytelling project or learn how to make a set of disparate images work together to form a narrative that chronicles the students week- think culture, light, color or whatever strikes you!

Join Greek-American Stella Johnson on a journey of imagemaking, storytelling and discovery on the Greek Island of Crete. Stella has been photographing Crete since 2007, working on her book ZOE (Mother Life), and making invaluable contacts for her students.

Participants learn how to approach the incredibly welcoming Greeks for a storytelling project or learn how to make a set of disparate images work together to form a narrative that chronicles the students’ week- think culture, light, color or whatever strikes you!

Stella teaches how to develop a personal style of shooting, see and use all sources of light, abstract the details, and make strong compositions. She assists students in determining and defining their interests and ideas while learning how to shoot compelling images that tell a story.

The class takes a historical look at photographic documentary traditions and major practitioners. Participants are out each day photographing an area, a segment of the culture or a person, depending on individual interests. Stella meets privately and in class for daily critique as she reviews images, shares her professional experiences working on stories in remote destinations, and explores what it takes to develop the strong relationships necessary to work on long-term projects.

The class works with Greek teaching assistants who photograph with the group and act as translators and guides adding an essential local flavor to the experience with insiders’ perspective of the culture.

The class is open to all students who love photography, love learning about new cultures and want to hone their visual skills. An iPhone for imagemaking is encouraged and helpful for photographing strangers.

Prior Student work: View on Facebook  or on Stella's website

Arrival Plan to arrive in Chania by Sunday, June 19. The workshop begins that evening with a group dinner and introductions. The first day of classes is Monday, June 20.

Departures The workshop ends Saturday, June 24 with a group dinner and presentation of all participants’ work. Departure is the following day, or you can remain on to explore more of Crete.

Technology This workshop is conducted using digital cameras and iPhones. If you wish to shoot film, you may so do, but we suggest that you take it home for processing.

What to Bring Besides your SLR and Point-and-Shoot digital cameras, bring a body of your creative work with you to share—a portfolio or CD of images. Bring a notebook or journal, a small tape recorder or iPod with mic to record the discussions along with ambient music and sound effects.

Camera Gear Digital SLR and Point-and-Shoot digital cameras are suggested. Two bodies are recommended, along with lenses from 28mm to 50 mm. Bring at least 5 extra cards (1 Gig each), extra batteries, battery charger and a laptop with image management software. Make sure you have a back-up system on which to download each day’s work. This can be an external hard drive like LaCie.

iPhones are welcome!

You may shoot traditional film.

Research and preparation Research and preparation are important parts of any adventure. The more research done before the workshop, the more effective the time in country.

Accommodations Stella stays in the beach town of Nea Chora at the Danoas Hotel, which is right on the water. Classes will be conducted at the Danaos. Students are responsible for booking their own rooms here or elsewhere. Stella has rooms on reserve so students need to identify themselves as one of her students. Limited availability. Pricing includes a large continental breakfast. email Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε. 

Nea Chora Beach is 10 minutes walking distance outside of the Venetian port town of Chania and htere are numerous hotels there.

Meals The first and last meals are included in the cost of the workshop. You will be a guest of the workshop for a group opening dinner on Sunday night and for the final dinner on Friday night. Aside from the two group meals, breakfasts, lunches and dinners are independent; students are encouraged to join each other in local restaurants and cafes. Expect to be paying around $50 a day on meals.

Terms and Conditions for Travel Workshops

1. Reservations & Payments

A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop. Final payment in full is due 45 days prior to the start date of your workshop unless stated differently in the course description.. Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.

2. Cancellations

Please review our cancellation policy at

3. Basis of Rates

All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

4. Insurance

It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries or illnesses.

5. Itinerary Changes

The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.

6. Passports and Visas

A valid passport is required for all international travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered. Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.

7. Medical Issues

All participants must be in good health.  You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration. This document may be found on the course description page.

8. Liability Waiver

Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.  Click here to download.

9. Responsibility & Photography

To ensure a safe experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations. The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive; or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment. No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop.

Sign and Return Waiver Form



Stella Johnson

Stella Johnson is a photographer and educator known for her passionate and honest documentary projects. She received a Core Fulbright Scholar Grant to photograph in Mexico in 2003, and a Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to teach in Mexico in 2006. Her monograph, Al Sol: Photographs from Mexico, Cameroon and Nicaragua, was published by the University of Maine Press in 2008. Johnson’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally.

A dedicated educator, Johnson holds teaching positions at Boston University and Lesley University College of Art and Design. She also teaches workshops in Greece, Cuba, and Mexico. She was a 2013 finalist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, and a nominee for the Boston Foundation’s Brother Thomas Fellowship. Johnson’s work has received numerous honors including a New England Foundation for the Arts Cultural Collaborative Artist-in-Residence Grant and Julia Margaret Cameron Award.

Johnson holds a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and an MS in journalism from Boston University. Her work is held in public collections including The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, The Haggerty Museum of Art, The

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Portland Museum of Art, and The Southeast Museum of Photography, among others.

Follow Stella on Instagram at 

Image courtesy of © Francie Bishop Good


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