I first worked with Stuart in Bangladesh when he gave workshop to photojournalism students for Pathshala Institute in 2010. His advice was clear and supportive and he encouraged me! We have kept in touch ever since and when I was in Cairo making my work about The Silent Wound he helped me on email and telephone to work out what was possible. It was very useful to have that input from so far away and he made me confident about what I could do. Stuart helped me to edit my work about acid attack survivors for my (successful) World Press Masterclass submission and I know that I can rely on him for honest and straight advice. Thank you for your valuable direction!
- Farzana Hossen, photographer/Getty Emerging Talent/Ian Parry Award winner 2013, Bangladesh
After 20 plus years as a documentary photographer and photojournalist, I’d felt I’d reached a “plateau”, one that I just wasn’t content with. I needed fresh eyes to move beyond. That’s when I came across Stuart’s mentorship offer.
Being already a well-published professional and teacher myself, I found it a bit difficult to approach a professional colleague for a boost. But we all learn from each other, right? So I got in touch and we quickly set up time to discuss the matter via Skype. Stuart was helpful and inspirational right from the start. He looked comprehensively through portfolio work I’d posted, responded quickly and critically with honest and supportive comments, and proposed a new way forward. It began with a few “student assignments,” a bit of a back-step for me, but one I was willing to take if it brought me further. We discussed in detail the results I’d emailed, and I applied the advice Stuart gave.
The time we spent in Skype conversation, as well as the assignments given, were more than worth the investment in Stuart’s time and expertise. The experience expanded my awareness of what I’d been - almost in formula-fashion - doing with my compositions, subjects, and photographic perspectives. Thanks to Stuart’s involvement, I’ve left that plateau, giving rise to a clearer and more refined “voice”, something of great benefit to any photographer, no matter at what level they may be.
- David Bathgate, Ph.D. / Redux Pictures / Founder & Director - Thecompellingimage.com
I have been working with Stuart for over a year now. His insight, positivity and encouragement has been a tremendous help. It’s often easy to be too close to something and his objectivity, experience and guidance has allowed me to focus on some aspects of a story that I would not have considered which has allowed me to approach some subjects in a different way. His willingness to help, support and make time in amongst his own practice is very much appreciated... What I really wanted to say was thanks - you are a top bloke and I greatly appreciate your help
- Kiran Ridley, photographer, UK
I’m an established photographer with about 10 years of experience, but was working on a long term project which I was struggling with. I knew Stuart’s work, particularly his Palaces of Memory book, which I loved. When I saw that Stuart offered mentoring services, I jumped on the opportunity to show him my project. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but it was important for me to show the work to someone I respected. I needed clear honest advice. From our first meeting, straight away, Stuart was able to see where improvements were needed. Offering straightforward, insightful direction, he also had great knowledge of the scene in general and was able to point me int he direction of other established, but perhaps lesser known photographers who had produced similar projects for inspiration. His honest reaction to my work was admirable, and I think it takes courage in your conviction to say openly when things are not quite working. He was very easy to get on with, I liked his humour and style. He’s direct, which means he doesn’t mince his words when something can be improved. Stuart also gave me some practical advice and set me a few tasks which I still practice today. He looked at my wider portfolio, and gave me some fresh, encouraging ideas and ways to get back on track. I’ve asked Stuart for ad hoc advice since our initial meetings and he has always come back with quickly with solid feedback. I would highly recommend Stuart to photographers of all levels.
- Sam Mellish, photographer, UK
I originally contacted Stuart in appreciation of his work and the possibility of assisting him, but our working relationship turned into something much more valuable for my practice as a photojournalist.
He’s been mentoring me for two years now, supporting me to ‘take things up a step.’ His help has made a significant improvement not only in my photography, but also the way I approach a project or assignment. I now have a deeper understanding of why certain photos or stories work well, and also how important the connection between photographer and subject is.
As a result of his support I am now shooting for better clients, selecting subjects appropriate to my interests, and have a higher success rate with access and publication. I appreciate it when people speak their mind and tell you when something needs improving, and I know I can rely on Stuart for this, without it I wouldn’t have made the positive changes that have happened recently.
I shoot a lot of work abroad, and he is one of few people who seem to know about that and offer advice about any place or any subject I suggest. In addition to our meetings in person when I’m in the UK, whilst I’m on the road he has been advising remotely with editing and approach, and maintaining integrity when shooting.
- Phil Clarke-Hill, photographer, UK and Brazil
Stuart is brilliant at bringing a clarity of thought to bear within a strong ethical and artistic framework. The sessions are friendly but business like; always packed with new insights that are moving you forward. Hearing the truth about your little darlings is sometimes tough but it puts you on a much surer footing for improvement and learning. Worth every penny in my opinion and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of more wisdom.
- Roland Ramanan, photographer, UK
I found my time with you profoundly helpful, and I don’t use that word lightly! Until we met, I wasn’t really too sure what I was doing with my time, or even what kind of photographer I wanted to be... but I really felt my time with you unlocked something in me... You helped me to begin to ‘see’.
- Mike Beecham, photographer, UK
I worked with Stuart as a mentor for several months and found him an excellent coach. He helped me to improve my photographic eye as well as giving my a greater understanding understanding of how to construct a story with photographs. He has a down to earth approach, sets projects that will help you improve and gives clear, positive and constructive criticism. I have no hesitation in recommending his services.
- Richard Gill, photographer, UK
I’ve been consulting Stuart for the last 6 months, in person as well as by telephone, email and Skype and continue to do so. One of the hardest things to do as a photographer is to edit your own work and Stuart has been invaluable in assessing ongoing long-term documentary projects. He was able to see the strengths of the work but more importantly what was lacking and point me in the right direction to continue with renewed positivity and vigour. He’s extremely perceptive – right down to pinpointing bad habits and ruts in both technique and vision that I didn’t know I’d fallen into! Stuart is refreshingly down to earth. He’s honest and forthright with his opinions and advice but always encouraging and supportive too. I’ve benefitted tangibly from his experience right from the first consultation and have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending him as a brilliant and effective photography mentor
- Simon de Trey-White, photographer, New Delhi
Currency. Experience. Empathy. Knowledge. Ethics. Those are the words I would use to describe why you should look to Stuart as a mentor. There are very, very few people who I would recommend as a photographer’s mentor. Stuart is probably top of my list. I have observed Stuart’s work and approach for a couple of decades, and his genuine desire to help others is palpable. His photography is exceptional. His industry experience is unsurpassed, and his understanding of the professional photography marketplace is first class. How he treats those he photographs is a lesson in itself. There are many experienced photographers, many who take great images. Most, however, are rather selfish and tend to guard their knowledge very defensively. I believe we all gain by sharing knowledge, as does Stuart. If you are a photographer looking for clarity, guidance and support, I suggest you speak to Stuart. He’s the man.
- David White, Course Leader: BA(Hons) Press & Editorial Photography, Falmouth University
Stuart Freedman isn’t just a great photographer (one of the very best) he’s also what many talented photographers aren’t, a great listener and teacher.
If there’s someone better about to be mentored by, let me know, I want to sign up with them.
- Benjamin Chesterton, co-founder and production director, Duckrabbit