Beyond Documentation: New Approaches to Exploring Family Stories
© Zuzana Pustaiová

Beyond Documentation: New Approaches to Exploring Family Stories

Dates: Thursdays, Sep 23–Oct 28, 2021
Time: 12–2pm (ET)
Sessions: 6
Limited enrollment: 8 students
Fee: $380
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Only 2 spots left

Explore new ways that go beyond photographing every-day life to delve into your family’s personal stories. These different methods of storytelling can include staging imaginary scenes with family members as models, or working with transforming archival photos. We’ll experiment with using collage, assemblage, and manipulation of images — physically cutting up prints or attaching hand-crafted artifacts (lace, stickers, objects from the past or present) — as a reaction to the pictures. Students will learn to create a structure for working on their project — from developing an idea, research, making a storyboard, and editing, to creating the final presentation. Work by contemporary artists and photographers on family topics will be presented and discussed.

In her artwork, Pustaiová explores role-playing as an element that helps inform the way family members, relatives, and friends relate to one another. With a sense of humor and irony, she uncovers the less obvious stories that exist within a family.

Open to students working with any kind of camera (analog, digital, instant) and any types of prints, and whether their family members are nearby or not.


Zuzana is an experienced and inspiring teacher who motivated us a lot to find our true artistic voice by connecting with something essential and at the same time showing us many opportunities to be creative. I can’t believe that I could approach a very difficult personal topic and transform it with photography.
—Ha Thu (Vietnam)
I really enjoyed Zuzana’s class. She helped me develop a concept for a project and gave me the push I needed to get started. I am sure it’s gonna take a while to get it done, but I know now, what I want to do and how to continue. I felt that Zuzana has been genuinely interested in everyone’s work and I appreciated her feedback and tips.
—Birgit (Zurich)

Zuzana Pustaiová
photo by Boris Nemeth
Zuzana Pustaiová

Zuzana Pustaiová's interest in visual arts began with painting but soon switched to photography, which she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava (Slovakia) where she completed her Ph.D in 2022. Her artwork uses role-playing as a principal tool to explore and reveal the relationships between family members, relatives, friends, and other social groups. With a sense of wit, humor and irony, she uncovers the cultural stereotypes related to gender, age, tradition, and social inclusion. In 2022, her book One Day Every Day was shortlisted for the Paris Photo – Aperture Photobook Award. She has received numerous awards in contemporary photography — including the Grand Prix at the Rovinj Photodays 2021 and Finalist for the 2017 Lucie Foundation Scholarship in Los Angeles. In 2018 she was named Slovak Photographer of the Year. She has exhibited internationally in Europe and Canada and lives and works in Levice and Bratislava.

Zuzana teaches new approaches to photographing family stories and self-portraiture   for StrudelmediaLive.