Announcing a new workshop from the creators of the Erotic Eye


Sacred Eye Workshop : Sicily
May 25-June 3, 2018

With Donna Ferrato, Tomeu Coll, & special guest Letizia Battaglia

The first in a series of thought-provoking photographic sessions, The Sacred Eye, created by Donna Ferrato and Tomeu Coll, will push photographers to think before they shoot.

The mission of this workshop is to shine a light on the great strength of Sicilian women. Photographers will explore the challenges women encounter in a male dominated society. Our daily prayer is to respect every woman’s unique voice as they speak their truth in the face of hardships of domestic violence, sex assault, sexism and ageism.

In Italy, honor killings of unfaithful wives, daughters, and sisters were quasi-legal until 1981 and only officially condemned in 2007. Over 100 women are killed in Italy by men each year, the vast majority by their partners or ex-partners. Around one in three Italian women suffer abuse at some point in their life. The goal is to see the invisible and develop instincts of a concerned photographer.

We are proud to announce that Sicily’s legendary photographer, Letizia Battaglia, author of such books as Passion Justice Freedom (©1999 Aperture) and Anthology (©2016 Drago), will join the group for a day in Palermo, to discuss her work, and provide insight from her experiences.

Each day the group will travel to new places, meeting and listening to the locals while focusing on the complex environmental and personal aspects of these women’s lives. This is a chance for earnest photographers who want to make a difference and are open minded. In the past, Tomeu and Donna accompany photography students to help develop their practice. The class has mandatory daily critiques, to help them improve. Some photographers keep returning to these workshops because our mentorship doesn’t stop when the workshop ends. We encourage photographers to work outside their comfort zones. As a photographer from the LA workshop said:

The best advice I had from Donna is to plant my own seeds. So often in life we wait for things to happen. We don’t dare to do things. She showed me how to provoke, go to people, ask questions, even if you think you look stupid or you think you’re not good enough. —Julia Vogelweith

The Sacred Eye is now accepting applications to spend ten awareness-building days learning how to use your cameras to break down the wall of patriarchy and to find women who want to tell their stories their way.

 Letizia & Donna receive the 1986  W. Eugene Smith Grant

Letizia & Donna receive the 1986 W. Eugene Smith Grant

Donna is a passionately engaged, mission-driven photojournalist, who has dedicated her life to first bearing witness to domestic abuse and all of its immediate and consequential generational implications, and then to taking action. Her intimate, long-term narratives—the artistry of Donna’s work, the trust she establishes between herself and her subjects—affirms her, the work’s humanity.  The evidentiary nature of Donna’s work has changed hearts, minds, and policy, and affirms why it matters. In a world of text messages, and visual sound-bites, the efficacy of engaged, often character-driven storytelling and the integrity and commitment it requires are the best lessons and practices any photographer could hope to learn and embody. —Melissa Harris, editor of Living with the Enemy and Love and Lust

Special thanks to our sponsor, CSF Adams


To apply to The Sacred Eye, please fill out the form below. Applications are due April 2nd at midnight EST. They will be judged on a rolling basis so we advise applying as soon as possible, as only 8 students will be accepted. You will be notified of your status by April 6th or earlier.

In response to the inequities in the photo world, the workshop fee will be less for women than for men; $5,000 for women photographers, and $6,000 for men. 50% will be due upon acceptance and 50% due by April 30th. The course fee includes meals while at the house, transportation on group outings, & lodging for the duration. Itinerary to be announced shortly.

Email with questions.

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