Chapada Diamantina, Brazil 2017
® Frank Baudino
I’ve lost count of the number of workshops I’ve taken with Ernesto but, once again, he’s taken me to a magic place. The thing that most struck me about the Chapada Diamantina area is the extraordinary warmth and friendliness of the people we met. Most of us entered people’s houses as strangers and yet we were welcomed into the homes of families and allowed to photograph freely. Families had very little in a material sense but they shared everything they had with us. The spirit of the people we met was one of openness and friendliness combined with a fierce determination to be free and live life as they saw fit. The houses we entered were very modest and although the soil around them was rock-hard there was always room to plant flowers and care for pets.
I am grateful to Ernesto and the other students who shared their work with me and who helped me to continue to expand my photographic vision and expand my idea of what is a good photograph.
® Geralyn Shukuwit
Returning to Bahia with my photo family, returning once again to the families of Bahia, are the two highlights of my visits to Brazil. Old and new friends visiting folks we all care so much about, updates on life and the excitement we feel seeing each other shared through images and our meals together. Life moves along between our visits and this trip filled with the loss of many people we knew: Orlando, Manuel, Joao’s housemate, and then my uncle too… it could have been overwhelming if we weren’t all together. Alicia and Carmina are the strength and glue of their families, and myself, so thankful to my photo family, Sissy and Ernesto that surrounded me through tough times. Not one of us had an easy trip, we all fell ill to whatever illness that was, yet we all took care of one another to make sure that we were all ok as a Family! To hell with that devil!
This truly was a time of circles that close and that thankfully continue on. Until next time my friends!
® Juan Pablo Ampudia
images and comments coming soon!
® Romain Fournier
® Tamar Granovsky
I’d like to thank Ernesto (or Bazan as I took to calling him, over time) for guiding the two groups I participated in (back to back) in both Bahia and Chapada Diamantina. Because of him we, the students, were able to avoid some of the typical places in Salvador, Itaparica, Cachoeira, and Chapada Diamantina. And through him, during our daily peer reviews, the others and I learned to leave the clichés behind.
In regard to my work, I learned that I tend to turn in the direction others do not head. I do not do this to be contrary or non-conformist, but to find my own space and rhythm. I learned that in expressing myself, through photography, there are no formulae. Partaking in conversations with Bazan and the others and looking at each other’s work were absolutely key in this discovery.
This trip to Brazil was an eye-opener for me on a few levels. I felt that I was walking on a tightrope in both the country and my work. In regard to Brazil, I became very conscious that behind the myth of a magical/spiritual Bahia lies a very difficult, and sometimes unbelievably harsh, world of poor, landless, and/or homeless people who suffer, and yet are determined to surmount obstacles. They struggle daily to survive – and do not always succeed. In regard to my own work I figured out that I must feel comfortable in my own skin and do what is right for me. It is something I know, but do not always allow myself to remember and act upon.
Thank you Bazan, Frank, G, Romain, Tammy, and JP for everything.
® Tammy Merino
I can just smile while remembering my days in Brazil, those two magical weeks where the powerful spirit of Yemanja was present in our destiny, as Ernesto likes to say. Life is always in charge to put yourself wherever you need to be, and in this case every person and road leaded us to dreamlike moments and stories, impossible to forget or even to capture in a photograph. Those are moments that change your life forever, because no matter if you had a good or a bad day, everything in this life is a lesson to grow.
I am endlessly thankful for the beautiful and magical opportunity of being part of one of Ernesto’s workshop by winning the scholarship of the BPW.
Ernesto and the group lead me through an unbelievable path, full of surprises and growth, where I challenged myself everyday photographically, and expanded my knowledge and soul. These 14 days were full of love, respect and learning and help me see my work in a more mature and sensitive way. My ongoing project from Brazil is turning into a more cohesive, strong and intimate piece, thanks to the help of Ernesto, G, Juan Pablo, Romain, Tamar and Frank. Obrigado amigos! I will always be thankful for this unique and precious time together and will always remember the beer emergencies, the siestas in the car, Sissy’s crazy laugh and the magical time we spent all together with the families that receive us with so much love and gratitude. MANY THANKS AND LOVE TO CIRCLES GROUP!!