Nosotros y Los Otros Gallery
Oaxaca, Mexico 2013
® Aisling Murray
Photographing in Oaxaca is a feast for your eyes. Having been in Oaxaca with Ernesto and thirteen incredible passionate photographers filled my heart with love.
I remember Ernesto saying on our first day to photograph what you love, what makes your heart beat faster, and so I tried to listen and feel what my heart told me to photograph. The images chosen for the final edit all make my heart skip a beat. To be mentored by Ernesto is a gift. I can still hear his voice in my head as I look through my images: “this works” or “there is nothing here except horses” or “beautiful” or “this is stagnant”. When Ernesto critiques and edits photographs it comes from his heart. He makes you look in every part of your viewfinder, to make everything in the image equally important. He teaches you to tell a story with each image. This is why I chose to spend 10 days with him, so I can learn to tell a story with each image I capture.
Ernesto brought us to the Sierra Juarez immersing us in real Mexico. It was a truly amazing experience going house to house travelling with the comparsas. The people of the villages warmly welcomed us into their beautiful world filled with this tradition. They allowed us to photograph them with ease while feeding us tasty food and many glasses of mezcal and cervezas.
When I signed up for this workshop Ernesto had wrote to me saying how lucky I was to attend as there will be many of his talented students also participating. Spending time with each of you sharing laughs, motion sickness and more mezcal, was what made me wake up with a smile on my face every morning during the workshop.
Sandra – I miss your morning hugs and kisses. We will meet again and go dancing.
Pam – Your wonderful sense of humor and your motivation to capture great photos. You are an inspiration to me.
Stan – I love your critical eye and when you drink cerveza.
Willem – I love your passion for all photography and living the dream.
“G” – My chatty friend, who easily breaks down barriers with complete strangers and photographs beautiful landscapes.
Sylvia – My Italian friend. I love your tattoo. You are a woman with strength both physical and mental. Just avoid those twisting and bumpy roads.
Umit – My friend of few years. We get to live it all over again. Thank you so much for encouraging me to attend a workshop with Ernesto. I will be forever grateful.
Todd – Love your sense of humor and diligence in trying to capture that great image.
Tammy – My sweet, you are a wonderful artist. I know that I will see your work everywhere. You are a woman who knows her gift and uses it with all her heart.
Stacy – I always enjoyed your thoughts and comments on photographs.
Simone – I smile when I think of you. I love your ease and willingness to go with the flow and of course your creativity with your camera. We can’t forget your dance moves either.
Oliver – Our gentle giant in the group. I enjoyed watching you photographing and interacting with the locals. They loved you.
Sergio – With gentle eyes and wonderful smile you connect with people so easily and make them feel special. What a beautiful gift.
Juan -Thank you for sharing your deep and very personal work with us. I know that your book will be a piece of art to be cherished. You’ve inspired me to dust my film cameras and use them again. Your kindness and sweetness unlocked something inside of me. We will see each other again.
This was my first experience participating in a workshop with Ernesto it will not be my last.
® Geralyn Shukwit
Nosotros y Los Otros. Somos Uno.
Change is inevitable. We may not want to change but we must, if not, our lives are no longer our own but the altered state between what was and what is. After my father died in January I wanted to run away. Easter Island… Vietnam… anywhere to get away from the previous months, to escape and reenergize. Yet the thought of traveling alone brought more anxiety at a time when I really wanted others surrounding me. It did not take long for me to decide to take a workshop with Ernesto, to study, travel & bond with new friends. But which one? First thought was Peru – high in the mountains and close to the stars… or maybe Oaxaca for The Day of the Dead? In the end I chose both.
Overnight in the cemetery my emotions collided as we walked amongst others who have lost loved ones. First came the awe of hundreds and hundreds of candles illuminating the night, the music and the bright orange Marigolds. Then alone, in the far corner of the cemetery, memories of Dad and the shedding of tears. As I moved along a family invited me to sit with them, they had also lost their father this year and we shared a glass of tequila for our loved ones. This is not mourning but a beautiful celebration of life that I am grateful to have participated in.
The following days in the mountains, as our photos and friendships developed, were for me, the highlight. Waking to the amazing vista outside the cabañas, in the crisp fresh air and with the excitement when you know you have captured the moment was unique! In the evening, we celebrated together with mezcal to forget the curves and bumps in the road. To think, just days before, we hardly knew each other as we wandered through the market… and now fourteen are one!I arrived in Oaxaca with a scattered mind and finished with a heart full of wonderful memories.
I wrapped up my time in Mexico with Judith, a friend from my very first workshop with Ernesto in Cuba. I was reminded how wonderful and lasting these friendships are. They are as important to me as the development of my eye. The two are one as we sought out images and “elephants” (elements) – enjoying many laughs; helping each other with editing – computers, color and life. Ernesto, Judith and my new family: Aisling, Pam, Sandra, Umit, Willem, Silvia, Stacy, Todd, Stan, Oliver, Tammy, Juan, Sergio y mi amigo Simone… thank you. I hope I will see you soon!
Love Geralyn Shukwit
® Oliver Stegmann
This was my second workshop with Ernesto Bazan and again in Oaxaca for Dia de Muertos – the Day of the Dead. I loved this unique experience so much last year that I immediately decided to return again this year. Ernesto actually recommends to return to the same place many times to really get to understand the location, its people, how they live and by that you get better images over time. Although we visited familiar locations in the town of Oaxaca and in the Sierra again, we experienced that completely new photographic opportunities showed up.
I met many new friends who share the same passion for photography as I do. So you connect right away. I believe that I benefit most in the daily critiques where you look as a group at the images from everybody of the day before: you learn so much not only by getting very valuable and honest feedback about your own work but also by discussing the other participants’ images. Ernesto is really strict about editing: pictures rated as “maybe” don’t make it to the final selection, so it’s better forget about them as they would only weaken your overall body of work.
During the workshop is also great when you get a chance to see Ernesto’s unpublished work and hear him speak about his philosophy on photography and life in general. Overall, you sharpen your artistic vision by attending his workshops. I am looking forward to experiencing the Dia de Muertos festivities again with Ernesto!
® Pamela Richmond
Dear Ernesto, as usual the workshop was full of unexpected diversions and delightful surprises. Oaxaca was beautiful, the mountains cold and a bit wet, but the group was energizing and the celebrations and people were engaging. Of course the photography was challenging as we sought to catch the reality and spirit of the occasion. The combination of mourning for the dead and celebration in the face of death struck a note for me. Our name Nosotros y Los Otros paradoxically helped bring us all together while acknowledging our differences. Who would have thought that scrambling up and down wet muddy paths in the rain trying take photos could be so much fun. Then of course there was the mezcal.
® Sandra Pereznieto
The moment of saying goodbye has arrived. As drops of water, each one of us returns to our life. Only silence is left.
But in your memory stays the masks and the comparsas, cempasúchil flowers, cemeteries and candles, fireplaces’ aroma and nights of mezcal. Above all, remain all the friends united for the same passion, for a world full of shared, lived images, all at once, as in a musical piece. A piece of life full of soul remains, and it will remain forever.
Together we wrote a story that forges our path. Oaxaca will always be a special place, with its rainy mountains and the pueblos’ music bands, with its simple people, and full of ancestral traditions that move us.
But above all, in my memory persists the smiling face of each one of you that, at very moment, made me feel as part of a beautiful whole.
Your gestures of affections have caressed my soul.
As in the first time, growth has been huge and the challenge very difficult. The constant work and concentration have bared their fruit, but not just our own, we also have each other’s success.
The merriment for the others’ success has turned into an honest happiness. The subtleties of Juan’s photos have taken all of us by surprise; the strength of Umit’s photos; Simone’s special glance; Tammy’s simplicity and sweetness; Aisling’s magic; Geralyn’s almost ethereal images; Silvia’s volcanic eruptions; Stan’s sincere and wise words, his unhurried work that you see reflected in his images; Pam’s admirable walking is like a life’s lesson; Willem’s energy; Oliver’s height but not just his physical one; Sergio’s firm steps; Sissy’s laughter; the softness of Stacy’s images; Todd’s colors, and among all of it, Ernesto’s Isla. All and each of your images stay within me.
To photograph my people and my land was beautiful. Ernesto guided us, once again, along a magic path, and with patience and goodness challenged us to continue our growth, without concessions, taking for granted that we could be the better version of ourselves.
The difficulties and the efforts united us in a friendship that forced us to mutually help one another, and with affection we learned from each of our visions, from each of our images, from each of our stumble.
On my way to this second workshop with Ernesto, I was asking myself what it would be like to be in the same course with another 13 photographers, considering that in my first workshop, I was the only student. Never would I have imagined that it would be such an enriching experience. Goodness and camaraderie were the threads that weaved a network of sincere support that favored beautiful, funny and emotional moments. Everyday, it was incredible to realize as each one of us had a very special way of seeing reality although many times we were all shooting together, shoulder to shoulder.
I take with me not only the chosen images, but also the many other that I didn’t take, but that I feel mine as well for the happiness that I felt in seeing how each one of them came about before my surprised eyes. I also leave with the feeling that I took the second step on a path that is just beginning.
And the magician behind this comparsa is this Sicilian man with this extraordinary human qualities, that with his very personal vision of what a photographic moment is all about, shares with all of us his story, his family, his remote corners sought after with love; he shares his own debacles and skills, and from his way of walking we can continue to learn, and from his goodness we can feel hugely thankful.
Thank you to each one of Nostros y Los Otros for a time of suspended laughter in a place where I will always return with my memories.
And I already know that our paths will continue to cross, thus I’ll save all my morning hugs and kisses for when I’ll have each one of you before me again.
And thank you Ernesto for so much and for all.
® Sergio Barra
I can describe my experience in Oaxaca as something unplanned. I thought that I could be ready for anything; I especially felt that being in my country the workshop’s experience wasn’t going to be so surprising.
At the beginning of the course I had lots of anxieties: first because I had many work-related distractions; later the fear of sharing my work as a beginner. I must recognize that I was probably the least experimented among the participants. I believe that this casted some doubts whether or not I had to present my portfolio that in the end I did show before the eyes of many great and experienced photographers.
If I hadn’t decided to disconnect from the rest of the world and get fully involved in the workshop I don’t believe that I’d have managed to learn much and I believe that my life would be the same.
But I did decide to get into the workshop completely and to leave everything behind any distracting matter. Thanks to the wonderful support by my family I did manage to fully delve in this wonderful and magical world of life in Mexico and managed to capture in surprising images the different places both in Oaxaca and the Sierra Norte.
Thank you Ernesto for allowing me to be part of this adventure. You well know that something within me has greatly changed. Thank you to all my compañeros that with much dedication helped me along the way with his camaraderie, advice, care and patience and made me feel as part of the family.
Thank you Silvia, Simone, Umit, Geralyn and Willem to make of this voyage a great adventure and to be part of Los Otros. Thank you Stan for your advice and for the excellent food’s recommendations; Sandra thank you for always caring for all of us and for making us feel very important; Tammy thank you for so many moments of joy; Pam your energy and strength were so important for the entire group; Aisling I learned so much from you, your sensibility is incredible; Todd and Stacey thank you for all your attention; Juan you are an extraordinary human being and Sissy thank you for your trust. I greatly enjoyed the talks we shared.
Oaxaca is a fascinating place, full of traditions that repeat themselves year after year; a place full of colors, mystery, music, nature, images and moments that constantly enrich this experience: Oaxaca is magic.
I’m left with the goodness and kindness of its people, with their honest looks and their simple way of being, their hospitality, their happiness in sharing their laughter, songs, their mountains, their windy paths and tall pine trees, their mezcal and quesillo, their tlayuda and grasshoppers.
Today my life has changed not only as a person that feels the need to communicate though an expressive medium such photography is, but also because with my new eyes I can better communicate what I feel inside and what I want; because I discovered that many joys are simple and that with very little we can intensely enjoy every moment, because something special can be very close to us if we want to see it; because I’m lucky to live what I live and to be where I’m. Thank you God for all these benedictions.
Thank you Ernesto for allowing me to live this experience and I hope to see you soon in Sicily.
® Silvia Montanari
When you get lost it’s always a good idea to return where you left from. My way of taking pictures began in this land so contradictory and damnably beautiful; for this I returned.
A new experience here in Oaxaca where I breathed death and in which I was overtaken by life.
Life continues to surprise me, sowing you inside a landscape, a song, an image, a smell that you cannot cancel because from that moment on your eyes are new.
Mine are full of candle light, of sun light that rises among the mountains, of people dancing, of laughter among friends, of friendly monsters, of evenings with a glass of mezcal in my hand…. and when you manage to stop these emotions for a moment you understand that in that photo there is happiness.
I’d like to have arms long enough to be able to hug all of you and thank you for having been there; in a certain way, each one of you has taught me something.
Thank you to the Nosotros for the patience and thanks to Los Otros for the joy in its purest state, but above all thanks to Ernesto for this very beautiful opportunity and for having woken me up from my photographic torpidity…. and thanks to my dos hermanos Juan and Umit for having given me as a present instants that are worth an entire life.
It’s truly exceptional how much Ernesto manages to help each of his students: although we are all so different…we managed to breath all with the same rhythm.
I hope one day to be able to make you feel proud of me. For the time being, I continue my trip here in Mexico and in my soul. You will always be in my heart.
Never forget your smile….
Love, Silvia Montanari
® Simone D´Angelo
When I decided to take my first photographic workshop, I got to Ernesto Bazan for a whole series of small fortuitous coincidences. In my photographic world, made out mostly of sensations, Ernesto was a figure of whom I was able to perceive the essence without having been able to eviscerate the knowledge. At the same time I felt a strange mix of harmony and dystonia that gave me enough curiosity to make me decide of not wanting to probe the motives. I also avoided looking at the images of the previous workshops in Oaxaca as Ernesto had advised me to do. I wanted to arrive to Mexico virgin as I did.
The impact, spoiled by the color of the place where we were staying called Casa Arnel, was immediately positive. The goodness of Ernesto’s work was tangible from the team spirit of a group formed mostly by “veterans” of past workshops. They had a harmony in which it was easy to enter although I had some communication’s problems. To have Ernesto around has been a privilege. The fact that I could watch him while he was shooting with the same calm and the same passion that he manages to communicate with the photos of his life was well-worth as much as the precious group editing sessions. Thank you so much Ernesto for all your advice and for the compliments about my work that made me blush.
To all the friends of the group Nosotros y Los Otros: I’m sorry about the numerous lost in translations episodes, although it was a fortune that by sharing photographic images you manage to talk about yourself and you manage to reduce the distance smog words. Perhaps it’s because of this that I managed to unconsciously in many of the group’s photos.
I won’t forget the magic night in the Atzompa cemetery (I entered it in titles and I exited as a mezcal zombie); the colorful walls sprinkling fresh art along all the small stress of Oaxaca, my girlfriend’s unexpected preoccupation that believed that I had died in the Sierra (Linda thank you for having convinced me to shoot in color) and the beautiful parade in Etla. See you soon.
® Stacy Pervall
® Stan Raucher
A workshop with Ernesto is always a wonderful experience. This one, my ninth with him, was very special for me. As always, Ernesto’s teaching was insightful, demanding and gentle. It was also inspiring to see everyone’s work, and to experience the cooperation and assistance everyone provided to one another. I know that this workshop will have a significant effect on my approach to photography.
Thanks to my old friends – Oliver for our conversations and editing, Umit for his enthusiasm and the pleasing mezcal, Willem for taking on new challenges and Juan for saying ‘no’ and for his beautiful Mexico portfolio. Thanks also to my new friends – Sandra for her open heart and mind, Silvia for her laughter and the three rules, Simone for always being in the picture, Sergio for his good humor and driving, Tammy for her young spirit, Pam for her even younger spirit, Todd for his persistence, Stacy for knowing and expressing her beliefs, Aisling for the neck massages and Geralyn for her quiet and reserved demeanor. Thanks also to Sissy for arranging a wonderful dinner for all of us in the middle of nowhere.
What an amazing group of remarkable, talented and fun people, spanning many countries and generations – not Nosotros y Los Otros, but Todos!
® Tammy Merino
Oaxaca was my second workshop with Ernesto, whom gave me, once again, much inspiration and confidence to continue with my photographic learning growth.
At the beginning, I was confused and undecided in taking the Dia de Muertos workshop because I didn’t want to photograph exclusively Halloween masks. I trusted Ernesto and once the workshop began, I understood that what I was photographing had nothing to do with Halloween and fell in love with Oaxaca and its autochthonous and rooted culture. I also loved what life was delivering to all of us. The visit to the cemetery went beyond a human experience; it was a spiritual experience that I’d like to repeat many times in my life. It’s very exiting to be part of this beautiful ritual and to share with the families their most intimate moments, sometimes of pain and, sometimes of joy. Besides this, the comparsas and their costumes went way beyond my imagination; it was totally magic and surreal.
All of this would have been impossible without Ernesto! Ernesto is the key that opens the door to these infinite possibilities and adventures.
I’m very thankful of having been part of this wonderful journey and to learn form all my companions in the workshop.
Also, thank you Sissy for your company and tenderness. Viva Nosotros y los Otros!!!
® Todd Stern
® Umit Okan
My second time with Ernesto in Oaxaca was really fun! Beside few good pictures, I am returning home with wonderful memories…I am very happy that I have seen some old friends in Mexico. Drinking mezcal with Kankas and sipping hot chocolate in Mayordomo is worth the whole trip… The next stop is Bahia. I just can’t wait for another wonderful 10 days with Ernesto.
@ Willem Kuijpers
Easter 2011 in Sicily I made an appointment with Umit to join Oaxaca workshop 2013.
After Cuba and Sicily, my 4th workshop with Ernesto.
Now after four weeks it’s time for some reflection. This workshop was, for me, in my personal opinion, photographically not very successful, maybe because of a bad start, caused by flying problems,no sleep for about 60 hours, I didn’t manage to get adjusted. Couldn’t get in tune with this amazing country and people.
But as Juan mentioned (..Mexico is his monster…), Oaxaca will be my monster that I have to fight….So, maybe, I’ll return next year.
Anyway, besides this I had a wonderful time with a beautiful group of people from all over the world with all these different backgrounds, but sharing the same passion for photography.
Maybe that’s where it’s all about, meeting people and sharing a passion. Working very hard to finally get a few good pictures.
It was an experience which will stay with me: getting a little drunk in the cemetery; going house to house with the comparsas in the little pueblos drinking mezcal and beer with the local people; driving through the Sierra with Master driver Sergio; seeing the proud-of-his-country-smile on Juan’s face; spending time with Los Otros, and of course with Nosotros; singing Mexican traditional songs in a Mezcaleria. And finally, enjoying the beautiful views from our cabana-balcony and last but not least the little princess blanket on my bed.
Hopefully I’ll meet some of you again next Settimana Santa in Sicily.