noor-nikon masterclass in almaty

Between March and April 2016, the NOOR-Nikon Masterclass in Documentary Photography took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Fourteen young and aspiring documentary photographers and photojournalists hailing from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan came together for a week of learning and sharing with NOOR photographers Yuri Kozyrev, Bénédicte Kurzen and Sebastián Liste and NOOR’s editor & projects director Asmara Pelupessy. The masterclass was hosted by the International Centre for Journalism MediaNet.

During the five intensive days, the group reviewed and shared their portfolios and projects, listened to presentations by the photographers, held in-depth discussions on ethical, practical, and creative issues, and edited a special assignment on the theme of ‘Power’ shot by participants for this masterclass. Below you will find a showcase of the participants’ work.


Ever wondered what it’s like to participate in a Noor-Nikon masterclass? Watch reflections from tutors and participants.


The masterclass has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Nikon Europe.

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Almaz Toleke (KZ)

Anisa Sabiri (TJK)

Damir Otegen (KZ)

Danil Usmanov (KG)

Darya Komleva-Litvinova (KZ)

Dmitry Motinov (KG)

Elyor Nematov (KG)

Mayya Kelova (TKM)

Nazik Muradova (TKM)

Reyhana Turdieva (KG)

Stanislav Magay (UZ)

Svetlana Zelenskaya (KG)

Turar Kazangapov (KZ)

Yuri Vedenin (UZ)

tutor team

Yuri Kozyrev, Bénédicte Kurzen, Sebastián Liste and NOOR’s editor & projects director Asmara Pelupessy.


'It was incredible to work with the photographers! I think that NOOR gathered a “dream team” of tutors in the names of Yuri, Bénédicte, and Sebastián. Every photographer differed from another, everyone had his/her individual approach in work, and we got three different views and answers to our questions. It was great! They are really the best team one can imagine!'

Almaz Toleke, Kazakhstan.


'The experience was definitely positive. Starting from the first day, we have been discovering something new every day. Be that a presentation or just a conversation during a coffee break. The new information was flowing constantly.'

Damir Otegen, Kazakhstan.


'Thanks to the masterclass I became more confident in myself. There was a number of questions that were bothering me, and I managed to find answers to them. My ideas of approaching a project and choosing a theme have changed. It was important for me.'

Danil Usmanov, Kyrgyzstan.


'The master-class helped to draw an overall picture of my career. The experience shared by NOOR helps to make a long-term plan.'

Elyor Nematov, Kyrgyzstan.


'I have learned a lot from the masterclass. It was great to interact with peers and learn what shooting technics they use. Engaging with the tutors was super helpful in terms of getting ideas and inspirations for creating new photo stories. It was also great to receive a feedback on how to create a portfolio and what it means to build a real story (spend enough time with the subject, be patient, wait for the right moment, etc.).'

Nazik Muradova, Turkmenistan.


'The important things I've learned were the practical skills and ethical principles of the documentary photographer. But the crucial knowledge was the full involvement, immersion and self-sarcifice in the work of the NOOR photographers.'

Stanislav Magay, Uzbekistan.


almaz toleke (kz)


Almaz Toleke is a photographer based in Almaty (Kazakhstan). He started working in journalism at…

damir otegen (kz)


Damir Otegen is a freelance photographer based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, whose work focuses in…

danil usmanov (kg)


Danil Usmanov is based in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and currently works as a staff photojournalist…

darya komleva-litvinova (kz)


Daria Komleva-Litvinova is freelance documentary photographer based in Kazakhstan. She was the recipient of…

dmitry motinov (kg)


Dmitry Motinov is a photojournalist based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He has been working in…

elyor nematov (kg)


Elyor Nematov is a freelance photojournalist and conducts documentary photography workshops, training students to…

mayya kelova (tkm)


Mayya Kelova is a Communications Specialist at United Nations, Turkmenistan. Mayya started doing photography in…

nazik muradova (tkm)


Nazik Muradova is from Turkmenistan and started doing photography in 2014. She works as…

reyhana turdieva (kg)


Reyhana Turdieva is a freelance photographer living in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Since her involvement in…

stanislav magay (uz)


In 2009 Stanislav started photographing for his blog about Tashkent -, to illustrate…

svetlana zelenskaya (kg)


Svetlana Zelenskaya (b. 1985) is a photographer based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She started her…

turar kazangapov (kz)


Turar Kazangapov lives in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan. He has been involved in photography…