Los Vampiros de la Fotografia Gallery
Cuzco, Peru 2013
® Bruce Fox
Dear Ernesto and all my new photographer friends,
I’ve always joked that I wasn’t a born leader: I was a born follower. I think the effect of this on my photography has been that I have primarily made photographs for other people, and not myself.
Although having done photography my whole career, I struggled at times during the workshop. This was a different kind of photography for me. As I learned in the workshop, this was photography that had to come from within me. It was a challenge to listen to my heart and react to a feeling. It was also difficult to break the habit of simply lifting the camera and taking a snapshot. When I was finally able to listen to myself, I began to experience something I hadn’t experienced in a long, long time. I was feeling moments of joy like I used to have when I first began doing photography! I finally realized why the other photographers in the workshop enjoy photography so much! It was shocking to me to realize how much photography had become work for me and not joy. In order to maintain this joy, I know I will need to continue to cultivate my awareness of the moment and always listen to my heart.
Thank you Ernesto and all my fellow students for helping awaken a part of me that was asleep for a long time!
® Deborah Lanni
Although I have been making photographs and teaching photography most of my life, I have only truly embraced photography as what I do and who I am this past year, my 60th year of life. In fact, I have come to refer to this time period as the year I became a born again photographer. This new drive to make images arose at a very good time, one in which I had the opportunity to take a semester-long sabbatical that gave me the time away from classes and soul-numbing administrative work to take Ernesto’s Intimate Journey – Cuzco, Peru workshop.
I was taken aback when Ernesto asked me: “How did you come to enroll in this workshop?” I hadn’t consciously processed that question. I only intuitively knew that Ernesto’s workshop in Cuzco was where I needed to be, despite great anxiety about moving so far outside of my photographic comfort zone. The familiar Zen quote, “When the pupil is ready, the master will appear,” seems to be the only honest answer to that question. I was ready to take my images to a deeper and more poetic level, and needed the insight, inspiration and motivation provided by Ernesto and my fellow workshop participants to do so. Thank you Ernesto; thank you all!
What specifically can I tell you changed in me? I was able to slow down and watch life more carefully. Paradoxically, this enabled me to be better prepared to shoot more quickly when necessary. I became more aware of every pixel in every frame and tried to put each of them to work in service to the composition. I breathed deeper. I more often trusted following my heart and intuition. I became braver interacting with people. And, I began to understand magical realism as a working application instead of just a philosophical concept.
I suspect that I will be processing this workshop for quite awhile beyond these comments. I know I will be tougher, yet more compassionate with my students, as well as with myself. I will return to Ernesto’s work and the work created by his students to continue to be instructed and inspired. And, I hope that I will be able to enroll in another of Ernesto’s workshops in the near future.
From my heart.
® Geralyn Shukwit
From Oaxaca through this Sacred Valley of Cusco, Ernesto, you have once again guided my vision and lifted my soul to another level. When I decided to take these two journeys together I knew it was where I wanted to be, I just didn’t realize it was where I needed to be. To heal, to live and to grow as a better photographer and person. I struggle as I return to the daily grind but I know it leads me to our next adventure. So until then, I will hold your words close to my heart, “Keep humble, keep working, have compassion and the photos will come” as I continue along my path.
To my Vampiros… never forget our incredible awe of the valley around us. Our cameras pointed at every window as we wound along curving roads that felt like we would drive right off the cliff, UFOs and kittens, chicha, cusqueña, the incessant propina, the laughter and our beautiful friendships created along the way. Thank you for looking over my shoulder and seeing what I missed, for the care and concern on my down day, and for teaching me to look differently at every corner of life. I am forever grateful and miss you all! Love.
® John Montague
® Justin Meredith
I struggle with fitting photography into what sometimes seems like too small of a space. Like many of us, our careers outside of photography demand an extreme amount of effort and energy. It can be painful to not meaningfully use your camera for a month or not take a decent picture in a year.
I decided I was a photographer during this workshop. Not half-heartedly thinking it, but believing it. This might sound odd, but this thought has more to do with shifting from an all or nothing attitude to enjoying the very slow burn of the photographic process.
I’m very thankful these workshops exist as they provide a space and safe haven for complete, unobstructed creativity. Through Ernesto’s generosity and encouragement, I have become better at identifying and capturing a strong, lasting image. A skill, which has altered the way I view all art, not just photography.
To Los Vampiros de la Fotografia, thank you. I’m so happy to have met all of you and share two very significant weeks of my life.
Ernesto, thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight; it has helped me become a better artist.
® Leo Carrato
I pack my bags thinking about life, the human condition, the feeling of revolution and above all, the essence of being. I stop and feel a certain gloom in my heart, mostly because of what’s been happening in Rio de Janeiro lately. I realize that the history of Latin America is being replayed once again and this time it is so close to me that I want to shout.
I get on the plane. Try to put myself to sleep, begging for any dream to bring me some peace. Just outside the airport gate I can see my good friend Ernesto, with that true smile of his and open arms. What a welcoming hug! I can feel right away another type of blood running through my veins.
The journey begins…right from my first contact with the group I could feel the enthusiasm in the air and the powerful will of living this experience with all my soul, heart and images. Unique places, surreal landscapes and what can I say about the people? I still couldn’t find the right words to define them…and it’s better this way! Days pass and I can verify the beautiful social theory at work! There were so many smiles, sharing, support, purity, traditions that a mere dance makes my heart explode!
I meet people who receive us just for a hug, for tenderness, for the sweet feeling of sharing a special moment. Even if I don’t have so much to give, this people are intense and how intense they are!
I come back certain that it is possible to change things. I come back with the mission of wanting to try one more time. Once again I come back with my soul totally full. I won’t quit and I hope the images will be right there where I need them to be, in my fresh mind.
Thank you Ernesto for, once more, awakening all these feelings in me! Thank you Tom, Bruce, Debbie, Stein, G, Justin, Monica, John for the moments, talks, cuzqueñas and also for the “beautiful”, “wow”, “I can’t believe it”, “hahahaha”, “chicha”, “where is Stein?” and many others! They will live in me forever! I hope to see you all soon! A big hug and a kiss to everyone!!!!
® Monica Jimenez
Destiny takes us to unexpected paths. I enrolled in this workshop impulsively after running into some of the students’ images taken in the Sacred Valley 2012.
The beauty of these photographs moved me and I felt an infinite desire to know and photograph these places. From the very first moment I had the certainty within me that what my souls was looking for I’d have found in these magnificent mountains in the Sacred Valley; in its humble, loving, hard-working, weather-beaten people. It was extraordinary to connect to the reality of these farmers and of their unbreakable spirit! To appreciate life in its most elementary form, the more simple, the most pure…
Thank you Ernesto for giving me so much both as a teacher and as a person! Your optimism, your energy and good vibes always give me a feeling of well being!
Thank you to all the Vampiros de la Fotografia! It has been a true pleasure share with all of you this experience. I hope to be able to return soon. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2014!
Peru, I will return next year because one time is not enough!
® Stein Lorentzen
® Tom Foster
I knew that the Cuzco workshop would be special, but I didn’t know how very special, how enchanting and marvelous, it would be. I felt like I had entered a world that had disappeared 50 years ago. I had entered a world where life is unhurried an uncomplicated, where life and death are accepted on their own terms, and then the past, and those who lived in it, hold a special place in the lives of the present.
What I experienced in Peru was a culture holding on to it’s own uniqueness, rather than buying into globalism and trying to be like everywhere else.
And then there is the photography. With Ernesto’s help I was able to experience, and occasionally capture, intimate and compelling moments of a unique way of life–images that captured life in it’s most basic, persuasive and essential form. Ernesto’s tight and unsparing editing process pushed me to dig deeper and find the best within myself. Cuzco really was an intimate journey, one that will always hold a special place in my mind and in my soul.