November 16, 2023

Lecture and Discussions

Faculty of Visual Arts and Design, Iași
Building D, Photo-Video Department

An Unromantic Take on Critical Documentary Practice
Guest: Mathieu Asselin

Public Lecture

in the framework of “The poetics of crisis: critical perspectives in artistic research”, an educational event based on a series of lectures/seminars and workshops on artistic research, organized by “George Enescu” National University of the Arts in Iasi (Romania) and endorsed by ICMA (Institute of Multidisciplinary Research in Art, UNAGE) and Center for Contemporary Photography (

Join us as we challenge our beliefs and perceptions about critical documentary photography in this engaging lecture. As we venture into the realm of documentary practice, we’ll explore thought-provoking questions and contemplate the evolving role of photographers in our complex world:

  • How does our point of view and engagement influence our photographic choices?
  • Is photography alone sufficient in today’s society?
  • Are we at risk of falling into aesthetic complacency when portraying pain and suffering, and is there a viable alternative?

We firmly believe that art and documentary photography remain vital tools for critique, revelation, and catalyzing change. This lecture aims to shed light on the transformative capacity of visual storytelling and its potential to inspire meaningful dialogues on pressing social and political issues.

Mathieu Asselin is a documentary photographer, Professor at KASK and Royal Conservatory / School of Arts,University College, Ghent, Belgium. More info:

Cooperative Workshop
Mathieu Asselin and Lavinia German

Join us for a day of exchange, mutual learning, and critical thinking as we delve into the world of critical documentary photography.

  • A deeper understanding of the role and potential of documentary photography in today’s world.
  • Insights into transforming outrage into productive criticism that fosters change.
  • Contemplation of the ethical and aesthetic aspects of documentary practice.
  • Exploration of the power of visual strategies and the possibilities (or impossibilities) of influencing society.
  • Research as a tool to shape a project
  • “Show me the money” Guidance on navigating the turbulent waters of commercialisation, funding, to maintaining coherence in your work ethically speaking.


About critical documentary photography

Critical documentary photography is a genre of photography that goes beyond simply recording events or issues and instead seeks to engage with, critique, and challenge prevailing social, political, and cultural norms in a multilayered outcome. It uses artistic means such as visual aesthetics to effectively convey its message. This genre embraces subjectivity and allows photographers to bring their own perspectives and interpretations to the issues they document

Preparation for the workshop

We invite you to bring and present and ongoing documentary photographic project.

Lavinia German is a Associate Professor of Photography at Faculty of Visaul Arts and Design, “George Enescu” National University of the Arts in Iași.