Discussion with Mentor on a Portfolio on The Terrace.

Discussion with Mentor on a Portfolio on The Terrace.


The four mentors totally engage with the students, in group discussions as well as one-to-ones and thematic talks as well as partake in the meals with the students. The chosen attendees will live, work and reflect with each other and their mentors during this weeklong retreat. The mentors will examine their practice ­with one-on-one, core one-mentor sessions, dynamic two-mentor sessions as well as stimulating group exchanges and full-sessions. The result is a synergetic spiral which will take each student to the next level. Portfolio reviews, supportive critique, discussions, shooting exercises and opportunities for introspection are all integral components of this special program.


Visuals Editor, The New Yorker, 1996-2011
Independent Curator, Writer and Teacher, New York

 ©Paul Hanna

 ©Paul Hanna


"Each year I look forward to spending a week devoted to photography--exploring with photographers their individual creative potential in the serenity of the French countryside with good food in a congenial environment.
During the 2016 Master Retreat students courageously exposed their work to the challenge of change in an atmosphere where creativity is allowed to flourish. They formed intense relationships with each other and the mentors during a week of hard work and Provençal pleasures. To see their work shift, often in unexpected ways, was both my great pleasure and privilege." - Elisabeth Biondi

Elisabeth Biondi was the Visuals Editor of The New Yorker for 15 years until she left in 2011 to work as an independent curator, writer and teacher. She curated Subjective/Objective and Under the Bridge for theNew York PhotoFestival 2011, and New Yorker Fiction/Real Photography at Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea. In the fall of 2011 her exhibition Beyond Words: Photography in the New Yorker was the season’s opening show at the Howard Greenberg Gallery. An expanded version traveled to the Ullens Center in Beijing in 2012. Her exhibition Widely Different: New York City Panoramas was on view at the Seaport Museum, New York in 2012. She was a photography consultant for Stern magazine, and teaches at SVA Graduate School for Photography and related Media and is a Senior Thesis Adviser. Her column Portfolio is published in Photograph magazine. Most recently she was a juror for the World Press Photography Awards and the Sony World Photography Awards, in addition to numerous national and international photography juries. She advises many up-and-coming photographers and edits their work.

Elisabeth Biondi joined The New Yorker in 1996, shortly after photography was introduced to the magazine. As Visuals Editor she helped shape the look of the publication by establishing a group of staff photographers, commissioning both masters and emerging talent. She built the magazine’s reputation for its use of photography, for which it received numerous awards, including two National Magazine Awards.

Born and educated in Germany, Elisabeth started working with photographers when Geo magazine, often described as a more contemporary and controversial version of National Geographic, launched in the US. The magazine won many awards for photography and design. Subsequently she moved to Vanity Fair, and as Director of Photography, focused on lively, witty portraiture – which became an important element of the magazine’s success. After seven years at Vanity Fair, Elisabeth returned to Germany to work for Stern, one of Germany’s largest newsweeklies. As head of the Photography Department, she explored the fast-paced world of news and reportage photography, and worked with celebrated photographers all around the world. In 1996, she then returned to New York to become Visuals Editor ofThe New Yorker.

For more information on Elisabeth Biondi:
The New Yorker
World Press

Interview by Matthew Leifheit for ArtFCity


Artist, Professor of Photography, Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Germany

©Patrick LeBescont

©Patrick LeBescont


"I love the idea of a time for reflection and thinking about photography. Seeing each participant’s body of work not just once for a review, but being able to keep looking at the work and the person behind it, exploring together the direction it might take. Focus and Beauty, like the light in the south of France, are precious ingredients in a creative life.
The communal experience of a dedicated group of mentors and photographers exchanging ideas is rare outside of art schools, yet I think it is essential for growing your work at any stage of the career." – Katharina Bosse

Katharina Bosse is an artist and Professor of Photography. Her fine art photographs are in the collections of MoMA, New York and Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. She has exhibited internationally, most recently at Centre Pompidou and Galerie Anne Barrault in Paris, and in Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, as well as in numerous private collections. Her editorial work has been featured in GeoDer SpiegelSpin,FortuneThe New York Times magazine and The New Yorker.

Born in Finland and raised in the Black Forest in Germany, Katharina earned her graduate degree from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. She lived in New York for several years as an artist and editorial photographer and currently teaches photography at Bielefeld University in Germany.

Katharina’s work focuses on portraits and architecture, defining color and composition as interactive elements of the photographic language. Her published books include Surface Tension, New Burlesque(about burlesque performers in the US) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mother (on the conflicting images of Artist/Mother.)

She curated The Space Beyond, an exhibition of work by young German photographers at the Camera Club of New York in 2014. Currently, she is curating an international traveling exhibition on the subject of theatre architecture from the Nazi period.


For more information on Katharina Bosse:
Twitter: @KathaBosse

Interview by Zak Dimitrov in HOTSHOE: ‘The Space Beyond’



Photographer, Artist and Faculty at ICP, New York

©Leslie Martin

©Leslie Martin


"I felt the need to create a new kind of gathering where photographers could safely and productively retire for a week, with time on their side. Take a step back and hopefully one giant leap forward so as to reconnect with their work and process in a new light. I dreamt of creating this communal atmosphere where fellow artists could be ‘mentored’ by key professionals and also enrich each other. 

During the 2016 Retreat, I perceived the palpable exhilaration of each photographer at having reached a better consciousness of his or her work as well as a more fruitful understanding of their fellow artists’ singular visions.  This communal experience is rare outside of art schools and is precious for growing one’s work. A real bonding ensued. And it confirmed to me that Esparon is indeed a perfect haven for such a photographic retreat."- Martine Fougeron

Martine Fougeron is a fine art photographer living in New York whose work has been exhibited internationally and is held in major public and private collections.

Martine Fougeron was born in Paris and studied at LFNY, l’Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, Wellesley College and the International Center of Photography. She has been living in New York since 1996 and working as a photographer since 2006 when she graduated from ICP’s General Studies program– having turned to photography after a successful career as a Creative Director in the fragrance industry where she was the ‘nose of the noses’ of 20 world-class perfumers.

Martine’s primary fine art photography project since 2005 has been the ‘Teen Tribe’ series in which she offers an intimate portrait of the lives of her two adolescent sons and their group of friends. She has mounted solo shows in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia and her work has been exhibited internationally in China, France, Italy, South Korea, and Switzerland. The work was recently exhibited at The Gallery at Hermès in NY in 2013 and is held in major private and public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Steidl will publish a book on Fougeron’s work from this series, Teen Tribe: A World with Two Sons, in the Fall/Winter 2014/2015.

Martine also started a new long-term project ‘Heart of The South Bronx: Trades’ in 2011 soon after she moved her studio to The South Bronx. She is creating portraits of workers, interiors, machines, processes, and products of these diverse industries.

Martine is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography and has been a guest artist and teacher at Pratt Institute, New York University, CCNY and SVA. Her incisive images of life and culture in that city have made her a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Wall Street Journal Magazine and New York Magazine.

Martine is the Founder of The Photography Master Retreat.

For more information on Martine Fougeron:
Instagram: http://instagram.com/martinefougeron

Interview by Peggy Roalf in Design Arts Daily (AI-AP): Martine Fougeron: Teen Tribe at Hermès.



Critic, Curator and Faculty at School of Visual Arts, New York

 ©Jerry Spagnoli

 ©Jerry Spagnoli


"This is an age of social media and shared images, but rarely do photographers or artists actually get to work together, face to face, to stimulate new ideas and challenge each other creatively. For an educator, this is an ideal environment.
The 2016 Retreat, however, made me recognize an even more important dimension.  In this setting we come together as human beings, to share not only our insights but also our personal stories and our aspirations.  No one leaves Esparon unchanged."- Lyle Rexer


Lyle Rexer is an internationally recognized curator and critic. Educated at Columbia, and at Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, he is the author of several books on art and photography, including The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography (2009) and Photography’s Antiquarian Avant Garde: The New Wave in Old Processes (2002).

In addition, Lyle has published hundreds of catalogue essays and articles on art, architecture, and photography, contributing to publications such as The New York TimesArt in AmericaApertureArt on PaperParkettBOMBPhotograph magazine and DAMn. Lyle regularly lectures at the Metropolitan Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern in Spain. As a curator, he has organized exhibitions in the United States and internationally, most recently The Edge of Vision, a selection of contemporary abstract photography.

He teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate photography programs at the School of Visual Arts and is a columnist for Photograph magazine.

For more information on Lyle Rexer:
The New Yorker
School of Visual Arts

Interview by Aperture: Lyle Rexer: The Edge of Vision