The Institute of the Documentary and Reportage image (IRDI) is a school created to educate and prepare students to the complex and demanding documentary and photojournalism profession. IRDI is one of the few schools in the world specialised in reportage and documentary photography and the only one in Switzerland. The school offers an intensive two year program taught by recognised photographers who are active in the world photography scene. The practical part of the program differentiates itself from other schools’ offers as it is given by temporary teachers following students during engaging and transformative one month sessions. After each session, the course’s directions are handed over to a new speaker. The diversity of perspectives and teaching methods sets IRDI apart from traditional photo schools where students are often surrounded by permanent teachers often lacking activity in the fields they are teaching. This lack of contact with the profession’s realities can be an obstacle to a realistic training and authentic professional opportunities.

Aside from its chore practical photography class, IRDI offers other courses to solidify its versatile and exhaustive program. Students will learn: Photography history, filmmaking, fine art book making, lighting, image software and photography marketing among other topics. For more information on courses please visit this page.

The IRDI graduate will possess a deep technical, artistic and ethical knowledge and will be trained to research, prepare and efficiently diffuse his or her work using the latest technologies.


IRDI’s teaching methods are centred on problem based learning. Most often, the students work in small groups towards the solution of various problems introduced by the teacher. At first, the problems require no prior experience but become more complex as the courses unfold. This teaching method is ideal in the area of documentary photography where field experience is crucial. The students understand photographic mechanics through creation rather than abstract theories. It is only after a period of practice that the theories will be explained.


Beyond its educational activities, IRDI organises workshops and conferences which are open to the general public. These sessions are generally conducted by photographers not employed at IRDI. These events allow students and visitors to exchange ideas on an artistic and cultural basis.