Saintes-Maries-De-La Mer, France

"When music travels faster than the distance"

23-26 of May 2019

This is a four day long
photo documentary workshop

When : from the 23th untill 26th of MAY 2019

Where: Saintes-Maries-De-La Mer, France (south,delta)

Focus: Photo-documentary, narrative story creating, personal development

Participants: 12

Price: 490€* 

*(not inc.) Travel expenses, lunch and supper, drinks

Reservation: to confirm your place in the workshop an amount of 150 euro has to be payed in advance

contact us for more information

Sara la Kali: The mysterious Saint loved by the Gypsies

Every year, the sleepy French town of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea comes alive with the sound of Gypsy Music. 

In May, Gypsies from all over Europe arrived in their caravans for the annual pilgrimage in honour of their enigmatic saint: Sara la Kali, or Black Sara.

Read all story here

Workshop description

This photography workshop will be about finding your own unique vision of the pilgrimage in the southern France village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by using the camera to explore in a direct, spontaneous way. Open to both serious amateurs and professionals alike, from fine art photographers to documentary photographers. It is a workshop that will emphasize the development of your own personal way of seeing photographically. This workshop will also be about learning how to edit your work intuitively, and will include discussions about how to take your photography to the next level. 



Jordi Oliver, one of Spain best photo documentary photographers. Specialised in humanistic photography and working with the Gypsy community for more then 10 years. Known for his alternative learning method, a born educator, teaching you how to bring your personal way of seeing out into your photographs.

Detailed Program


Thursday 23/05/2019

5 pm.: Start workshop, at Hotel Mas de Lys, with a presentation and welcome by Jordi Oliver and Tati Finchi.

6 pm.: Visit the town and greet Santa Sara (the holy statue in the church of the town).

7 pm.: Meet Esmeralda Romanez and her family, she is an activist fighting for the rights of the Gyspy families in South of France. She will explain us the history and legend of Santa Sara, the meaning of the pelgrimage and the importance of the music and the fire. 

8:30 pm.: we will have supper and after this go around the town to discover the music and the atmosphere. 


Friday 24/05/2019

8:30 am – 9 am: Briefing at breakfast 

10 am: The first Misa Solmene, at the church,we will go to the town and document the preparation of the ceremony.

 11 am: Location checking, we will take you to the roof of the church and prepare you for the technically and photographical difficulties. Tips and tricks that you will need in the afternoon.  

1 pm: Lunch in the town 

2 pm: Misa, of the relics of Santa Sara Kali, starts. 1000’s of people will gather in and out the church and around the streets and beach, this is the moment that every body has been waiting for.

3:30 pm: Procession of Santa Sara Kali from the church to the sea, this is a real intense and very emotional experience,  photographical this is very complicated, the preparation and class of the morning will help you to take a next step as a photographer and live this moment 100%.

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm: we will meet in the restaurant “Le Mirramar”, exchange experiences and supper.

8:30 pm: going to the camps to celebrate Santa  Sara and enjoy the music and fire, we are privileged to celebrate this together with the gypsy families.


Saturday 25/05/2019

 9 am: Briefing at breakfast, in this day you have 2 options of what you want to document or how want to continue your story.

Option A:

The local Misa with the people from the village dressed up in traditional clothing they call themselves the Arlesiennes and the Gaurdians, they celebrate the other 2 Maries, Marie Salome and Marie Jacobe. 

A procession will be hold from the church to the beach at 11 am.

Option B:

Describe the environment, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is located at a beautiful Delta in the Camargue an ideal location to document the space and time. 

2 pm: Lunch at the esplanade

5 pm: Some volunteers will go with Finchi to the super market to prepare the party of the night. 

7 pm : We are invited to create a closing party with Esmeralda and her family at the roulots  to celebrate the last night with a barbeque and some music. 


Sunday 26/05/2019


9 am: Briefing at breakfast

10 am: Arriving of the young bulls to town, for the traditional course camarguèse (not a bull fighting, don’t worry)

11 am: Ceremony of the Marques de Baronelli, a grave stone where the local Arlesiennes, guardians and some gypsy 

representatives will remember the Baronelli for the peace he brought between the gypsies and the local communities.

12:30 am: Reception at an old Mas with Ricard and some snacks, prepared by to local people.

2:30 pm: Last lunch at the esplanade,  last meal together.

4 pm: For those who want to stay there is the course camarguèse and traditional dancing at the Arena of the town. 


Latcho drom!


This workshop is a documentary, social, anthropological and festive workshop. We are working with people and for the people. 

The details of the program can always change so we ask you to be open for any improvisation. 

The workshop is for photographers from all levels with an open mind and spirit. 

Additional info

Photography as a social landscape

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