Landscape Photography courses set amidst the unique and extraordinary landscapes of the First World War.
And as if to prove the unique nature of my project it has now been the backing of the Imperial War Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and in France I have been commissioned by the French Senate to create a major 80 panel exhibition which will go on display in Les Jardins de Luxembourg in Paris in April 2014.
In addition I am producing a book to accompany the exhibition and concurrently shooting a centennial book for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
All of this means that I am sadly unable to undertake any master-classes until the summer of 2014 so please do contact me next year.
For details about the exhibition and other allied projects please visit
Passchendaele, the Somme, Verdun and Ypres: no other landscapes define the shaping of the modern world as do the battlefields of northern France. It is here that photography first realized its potential to document and explore the human condition as it enabled people across the world and ages to understand the horror and drama of the world wars. Here still, the scars of our history are written upon the landscape.
Battlefield Vision is a unique opportunity for photographers to return to the landscape of one of humanity’s greatest dramas. As landscapes, the battlefields of northern France present unique challenges to the photographer. These aren’t places of tumbling cliffs or elegant mountains, but simple, unadorned landscapes. These are the now quiet sites of history, alive still to the imaginative potential of the camera. Here, in long-abandoned trenches, tilled fields, forgotten wire and fledgling copses, the photographer’s skill is to depict not only physical beauty, but the arresting and singular emotion of landscapes bearing witness to the heights of human tragedy.
Battlefield Vision offers a unique experience in photographing these unique and unforgettable landscapes.
Courses – our approach and your skills
Set in the battlefields of northern France, Battlefield Vision provides intensive courses in the study and practice of photographing landscape. Battlefield Vision is unique in side-stepping the easy return in photographing landscapes of outstanding natural beauty; instead our ambition is to teach photographers the far harder task of capturing emotion, history and imagination by the camera.
These courses are unique in that there are never more than three students and they are conducted as part of the actual working assignment which I am currently undertaking. This involves over 300 days of photography in the next three years and I am inviting you to come and actually work with me as as I document the battlefields of the First World war and which can be viewed at
In these courses, photographic and digital skills are learnt and exercised under this key objective: to translate emotion into photograph. These courses are suited to individuals with confident photographic skills, and an enthusiasm for demanding, out-of-the-ordinary subjects. In particular, they are suited to those with an interest in history and the environment and I think that I can safely promise that anyone who regularly visits battlefields and wishes to improve their photographic skills will find these courses of imense value and interest.
They will provide you with the historical understanding and technical ability to turn sensation into image, the present into history, and explore the potential of photography as a medium where the science of documentary meets the emotive power of the aesthetic.
Battlefield Vision – who we are
Battlefield Vision is a unique project led by me, Mike St Maur Sheil. In a career spanning 40 years I have worked in over sixty countries, from Alaska to Zimbawe. Combining work as a corporate photographer, photojournalist, photographic lecturer, and landscape photographer, my work has published across the world, including National Geographic, New York Times, Time Magazine, as well as leading international television news stories at ABC News and the BBC.
Battlefield Vision is a continuation of my work on the battlefields of northern Europe. Working with leading historians, I have spent much of the past five years photographing these lands, creating a comprehensive photographic documentation of these emotive landscapes.. What began as a personal project has grown into a series of international photographic exhibitions, two books and numerous lectures in the UK and abroad.
Battlefield Vision brings the dedicated learning of this continuing project – the photographic study of this expansive and hushed landscape – together with my skill as a badged member of the Guild of Battlefield Guides. Not only am I one of the first people to be awarded a Battlefield Tour Guide Badge by the European Tour Operator’s Association but I am also a member of the British Commission for Military History - all of which will go to ensure that time spent with me on on these fields of battle will be an extraordinary experience as you develop your photographic skills to better express your emotions in some of the most evocative landscapes in the world.