2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Varanasi, India


Click here to add your name to the Varanasi waitlist.

Ten years ago I took my first trip to India and fell in love with the chaos and the sensuality of it all. Nowhere did I feel this more than Varanasi. I spent a week in that ancient city, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, walking the ghats along the sacred Ganges River and reveling in the light and ever-changing story of the place. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to return, but next March I'm going back to spend a week walking those same ghats on my own, and then spend two weeks doing my Mentor Series Workshops, each of them one week long.

I designed my Mentor Series as the workshop I would have wanted to do once I was comfortable with my cameras. They are a chance to settle in to one place, to know the light, to meet the people over and over again, to get intimate and go deeper. They are also a chance to do this with someone who cares deeply about both your craft and your creative process. You'll come ready to spend time on your own, walking with your camera and following your muse, because at this stage that’s what most of us need to do meaningful work, but knowing that our time together will give you plenty of opportunities to talk about your work, your struggles, your ideas, the visual language, and what it means to create a body of intentional work—which is what you will present at the end of the week.

The Varanasi Mentor Series Workshop is limited to only 5 students, giving us ample time to get deeper and to talk personally about your work. Enrollment is by application only, and preference is given to alumni. If you want to explore this ancient city on the Ganges River—the holiest city in India—next March, submit your application. Details below.

Week One: March 4—11, 2018

The Workshop begins with dinner on March 4 and ends with dinner on March 10, with accommodations provided until March 11.

Week Two: March 11—18, 2018

The Workshop begins with dinner on March 11 and ends with dinner on March 17, with accommodations provided until March 18.

The Cost

USD $5,900

Upon acceptance of your application, payment is due within 30 days. If payment is not received in 30 days, your spot will be opened to the waitlist.

Cost includes tuition, accommodations for seven nights, and meals. International and domestic airfare/transportation, alcohol, souvenirs, and the usual personal expenses are not included.

We will be staying at a 3-star hotel close to the ghats, chosen particularly for the location.

Cost is based on single occupancy.

Is This Workshop For You?

The Mentor Series Workshops are not photographic tours, they are opportunities for discovery. This might be an opportunity for you if:

  • You have a great sense of humour and are comfortable with a little dust and adventure. 
  • You don’t go into withdrawals or freak out if you don’t have access to fast/reliable internet.
  • You know how to use your camera, know how to make sharp photographs and are hungering for something more.
  • You’re in a bit of a creative rut and need a supportive mentor to give you a nudge forward.
  • You want to go deeper, tell stronger stories, and learn to put more emotional content into your images.
  • You want to learn to create a cohesive body of work and become more intentional in your photography.
  • You’re OK walking for a couple hours at a time on your own with a camera and your muse, knowing you’ll have time for feedback and critique later.
  • You’re better without a tour guide, especially the ones that drone on and on about historic stuff when you just want to photograph the fascinating characters sitting in the great light around the corner.
  • You’re willing to work hard, be vulnerable, receive honest feedback, laugh hard, and play well with others in one of the most visually rich places in the world.
  • You’re OK with trusting me when I ask you to be present in the place we are, and refraining from consuming or contributing to social media during the workshop. I don’t want Varanasi and this experience to share your attention span with the rest of the world.

Reviews from Previous Participants

“I’ve now done two Mentor Workshops with David. The first changed how I approached photography. The second one changed how I approach my life's work. There are so many workshops where I can learn a technique or how to take photos like the instructor. But I wanted something more. I needed someone to believe in me and my work and who I trusted to push me. David is more than a mentor. He is now a friend and I can't imagine a year going by without now attending at least one workshop with him.” ~ Sean Howard

"David, the Jodphur photography trip offered a rare blend of the finest ingredients that has taken my photography - and my spirit - to a whole other level! Whether it was shooting one-on-one with you in the field, your unending access to give image critiques or other tips; insane laughter and good times with a small, intimate group every night at dinner; and new, wonderful friendships formed, made for a trip that exceeded all my expectations.” ~ Karen O'Hern

"Going on a trip with David, one learns very quickly that David is passionate. But he's not passionate about "his" photography, or even "your" photography. He is passionate about your being able to get the photo that you makes you passionate. And this was most amazing to me. I know how to push the button. But he challenged me, asking what is my story, what is my vision and what is my reason for taking this photograph. Then David wants to help you take the photograph that makes you most passionate about your own work. This was an amazing experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.” ~Bruce Lewandoski

"Having the good fortune to travel and mentor with David has been a pivotal moment in my photographic journey, and one of the best investments I have made in myself and my craft. David cares deeply about your photography, your vision, and your success. He is insightful, encouraging, approachable, and funny. He will motivate you and challenge you. If you want to improve your skills and grow as an artist, I highly recommend mentoring with David!” ~ Debbie Danielson

"I have travelled with David twice now - once to Hokkaido, and once to Venice. David is a caring mentor and his expert feedback and encouragement have helped me to grow as a photographer. The great food and even better company on the trips is a welcome bonus.” ~ Achim Reisigner

"At the end of my week in Florence, I'd produced a body of work that I couldn't have imagined doing before David's workshop. An enormous "Thank You!" for the most unforgettable week of my life.” ~ Kris Rogers

"It was great, a wonderful week on every aspect, and I've learned a lot. I learned to let go and to focus, and I'm now way more confident about building a series of photographs. Living in Venice for a week has been a wonderful experience, mainly because David's love for that place could be felt in a way I was craving to explore it and let its magic win me over, despite the flow of tourists. I'll definitely come back in Italy with David !” ~ Laurent Breillat

"Just returned from the Florence workshop with renewed energy and excitement about new directions in my photography after a week with David duChemin. I gained a fresh and deeper understanding of elements that can make images more compelling. Over the course of the week I could see the results in my own photographs as I put those concepts into practice. David was always available to review and discuss our work, which he did several times with each of us individually. His insights were keen and his comments were always constructive. Images captured by the other photographers in our group were inspirational, as well. Participating in this workshop was a rewarding investment for my development as an artist." —Ron Clemmons

David duChemin Workshop

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