A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Photography Workshop with Gordon Meuleman!

This weekend, the Leideners had the privilege to participate in a photography workshop by Gordon Meuleman – and it was amazing!


We’re starting the Workshop! – Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

Everyone who follows our blog knows, that we love to show you pictures of life in Leiden. And while we pride ourselves with always providing attractive imagery, we are by no means professional photographers. Together with the bloggers from our Dutch sister-blog “Het Leids Kwartiertje”, the Leideners got to meet someone who does know a thing or two about photography: Gordon Meuleman.

Gordon is a professional (street) photographer, part of the Olympus Visionary programme and his art has been published in several national and international exhibitions. He is the official photographer of Den Haag’s National Theatre, one half of the artist-duo “The SOGO Show” and you might have seen his work in the National Geographic Magazine. In other words, we had a really cool teacher.

Workshop Part 1


Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

In the beginning, Gordon introduced us to the basic technicalities of photography: From ISO to shutter speed, or the differences in camera equipment – we had a question, Gordon had the answer. While this was very informative, Gordon also taught us something even more important: That there is a difference between a technically flawless picture and a truly good photograph. Using some of his own work as an example, he showed us that pictures can suggest a story. Fascinatingly, these stories are extremely malleable and change with each person to look at the picture.

To paraphrase his words, we needed to know the rules of photography and then learn how to break them correctly.

Workshop Part 2

The second part of the workshop was all hands-on-camera themed. For about an hour, we were let loose on the city of Leiden, embarking on our quest for interesting photographs. The challenge: Street photography that featured strangers, preferably looking at the camera.

This is a lot harder than it sounds, you kind of feel like you’re intruding into people’s life. Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun searching for beautiful and interesting scenes – as Gordon said, the world suddenly becomes brighter when you are on the lookout for a good motive.


Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

At the end of our photo-safari, we shared our favourite pictures and Gordon gave us some individual advice. It was great to see what everyone come up with, and we were all energized to go back out. Since we had reached the end of the workshop, however, we opted for the Dutch way to end a social event: A nice borrel.


Photograph by Laura Cirigliano

We were all extremely happy to have attended the workshop, and want to thank Gordon Meuleman for a truly inspiring experience. Safe to say, that we will take out our cameras more frequently now!



PS: Gordon has a permanent exhibition in the Koninklijke Schouwburg, so make sure to check it out!

What are your favourite motives? Is there anything you would like to see more pictures of? Let us know in the comments!

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