Documentary Photography

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Razor Wire.jpg

Documentary Photography


Only $110 for PhotoMidwest members; enter the $15 discount code Documentary2018 at checkout in the Coupon box in lower right corner. See Store Help for details or if you have any problems making a purchase.

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Instructor/Facilitator: Don Mendenhall
Dates: every two weeks at 7 pm - 9 pm Mondays, April 9 & 23, May 7 & 21. PLEASE NOTE: The dates are staggered to allow adequate time span to fully photograph and process the story.
Location: PhotoMidwest, 700 Rayovac Dr., Suite 212, Madison WI. ADA accessible.
Free convenient parking in our adjacent parking lot.
Class size: minimum of 4, limited to a maximum of 12 participants to ensure more open conversations and resourcing.


There is no precise definition or meaning of the term documentary photography since it is really an umbrella term for a variety of camerawork. However, in order to distinguish it from other forms of  art photography, we can say that "documentary photography" is a type of sharp-focus photography that captures a moment of reality, in order to convey a meaningful message about what is happening in the world. Unlike photojournalism - which concentrates on breaking news events - or street photography - which focuses entirely on an interesting moment of normal everyday life - documentary photography typically focuses on an ongoing issue (or story) which it relates through a series of photographs.

This class is strongly oriented toward making personal choices (distinctions) about the various forms of documentary photography and to complete a documentary project.


  • Feature opening presentations and video tutorials to prompt discussion and dialogue.
  • Examples and development of the documentary workflow.
  • Documentary project selection by each participant (ideas presented and shared).
  • Clarifying what and why for making a documentary project.
  • Goals and assigned work will deal directly with the primary direction and focus of each participant.
  • Supportive critiques offered.
  • Documentaries presented to class with possible follow-up presentations at other venues.


Don Mendenhall. All rights reserved.

Don Mendenhall is a photographer who has used this art form throughout a long career in organizational development. He is currently shows at several art shows throughout the Midwest region. Don has taught several Photo Midwest classes and with Peninsula School of Art in Door County. He also coaches photography and helped start the Deforest Photography Group. Don has been very popular, and his students give him high marks for his expertise and presentation style.


All student cancellations will incur a $10.00 processing fee, which will be deducted from any refund remitted. Cancellations more than thirty (30) days before the start of the first class session are refundable, less the above processing fee.

Cancellations at thirty (30) to fourteen (14) days before the start of the first class session will result in refunding half (50%) of the fees except for some classes where this is not feasible due to contractual arrangements with the instructor(s) and/or venue. Such exceptions will be noted in the listing of those classes.

Cancellations less than fourteen (14) days before the start of the first class session will result in the loss of all fees. You may arrange to have someone else fill your slot in the class but we must be notified of this substitution as soon as possible.  PhotoMidwest will have no involvement in any transfer of funds related to such substitutions.  If the slot in the class is not used, we will consider it as a donation to PhotoMidwest and as such, it may qualify as tax deductible.

In the rare case an entire class must be cancelled by PhotoMidwest, all students will receive a full refund. Partial cancellation of a single class session will typically be addressed via a rescheduled session, not a partial refund of fees.


By enrolling in this course, you consent to PhotoMidwest taking and publishing photographs of the course, which may include you, in its promotional materials to communicate what our classes, events, and/or facilities are like to potential members. To clarify, PhotoMidwest will never publish photographs YOU took without your specific written permission.