Where Do You Stand?, Do You Capisco? Gallery
Sicily, Italy 2014
® Colin Steel
New friends, new experiences, new insights, new emotions, fascinating conversations, poetic dancing, sweet whisky, strong cigars, barbecued milk-fed lamb intestines, warm bread and fresh brewed coffee. Dreamy days punctuated with incredible learning experiences from Ernesto and Jeff, Juan and my other friends. What a real pleasure it was to listen to Jeff talk about his life work and see his marvelous books shown first hand. It was also an honor to attend the garden lunch party where Ernesto showed the first unbounded copy of his new book Isla for the first time, or when we dined on traditional Sicilian fare. I was blown away by the beauty and expressiveness of Juan’s Mexican color work. What a visual treat!
Finally, it’s always immensely satisfying to see fellow photographers improve and show the wonderful photos that they have taken. I am beginning to think that ‘workshop’ is a very misleading term for an Ernesto Bazan learning experience. Thanks to Ernesto, Jeff and all of my fellow students for a deeply satisfying and enlightening time in Sicily.
® Daniela Chelo
The days spent in Sicily during the workshop with Ernesto Bazan have been very intense. I particularly remember a moment in which I had to take a little pause after having experienced the first editing sessions and having seen David Myers’ book and, above all, the books by our teachers Ernesto Bazan and Jeff Jacobson.
While we were looking at Juan de la Cruz’s images from Mexico I had the feeling to be saturated with information and that needed to process them before being able to continue to look at new images.
In the ten days of the workshop we saw several processions, in which I lived contrasting moments: I saw people acting out and saw moving and sincere moments; I’ve met generous and open people that transmit with pride to new generations their passion for their traditions and rituals, a symbiosis between the past and modernity.
I entered in tiptoe this experience, but finally, all of a sudden, as if by magic I began to “see”. I got closer to people, as I had never dared before.
The moment of the child playing with me (as Ernesto immediately understood with his acute and sensitive look behind the camera) when he kept repeating the “eye, eye, eye … referring to my lens,” was a revelation, which opened a door to a new world.
I had the privilege to have two teachers such as Ernesto Bazan and Jeff Jacobson that have critiqued my work and encouraged our work with great honesty although sometimes disagreeing among them (this has given an added value to our experience). Nothing went by unnoticed in their glance: their patience, experience, their humility and the pleasure to share their passion for photography have been incredible. Each one with his unique vision on life and photography, Ernesto with the energy and faith in what he does, and Jeff for the sprit to which I feel particularly close to, have been able to teach a new way of looking at images and the reality that surrounds us, with renewed interest and awe.
I need to thank them for their attention, their support and enthusiasm that have been able to share with me during the workshop.
I also would like to thank my course’s companions: Colin for his strong and poetic vision and his assistance in helping me editing my work, Rafael for his advice, his support and above all his help with Photoshop. To see him in action has been very instructive (please tell me how you managed to prepare caponata!). David for his focused presence and his ability to see beyond. After having seen their work on Ernesto’s students’ gallery was partially the reason I decided to participate in the workshop.
I thank Javier for his gentile presence an his help in teaching me how to retouch my images, Jonathan for his special sense of humor and all the technical help, Sergio for his passion and his smile, Jojo for her support and encouragement, Markus for our conversations about heavy and light topics and his ability to endure difficult moments, Juan for his presence and sensibility that transmit in his images. I also would like to thank Anastasia for her contagious energy and laughter and Giorgio for his generosity and willingness to help and for having been there all the time.
® David Myers
Easter in Sicily 2014 was my third time to be a part of this fabulous workshop. This time, we had not one, but two great instructors — Ernesto Bazan and Jeff Jacobson. Both brought their unique perspectives and complemented one another. Each time I have been to Sicily, I find that I spend more time seeing and delving into an exploration of the lives of people. I slowly see a style developing, one that is truer to myself and not an imitation of those who have come before me. I learn more each time I look through the rangefinder. This is no longer just a workshop, but an adventure in seeing, responding, and exploring. One can travel to Sicily for the week and explore it on his own. However, when being a part of the community made up of Ernesto and the workshop participants, you find that the exploration quickly moves beyond the streets to an exploration of one’s emotions and heart, as well developing the muscles to respond to photographic moments.
I look forward to again being a member of this special community in 2015, as I continue to develop this thread of work.
® Francisco Javier
Open-minded and talented people, with different cultural background but sharing a common passion for photography together in a Sicilian villa. What a cocktail!
Shooting Easter in Sicily became quite a challenging issue. It has been not only about the subject itself but also for the intensity and high-end level of achievement that we all were pushed to achieve from the very beginning of the workshop.
Having these two masters, Ernesto and Jeff, giving honest and deep advice has been a unique opportunity. These two ways of understanding photography has greatly enriched the analysis of the pictures and all the other discussions about photography. All of this has provided me, together with the valuable contribution by the other participants, with new and deeper photographic insights.
I’ve enjoyed very much the time shared with all of you. In particular, I have to thank Rafa, Colin and Juan for their generous support and all of you, masters and participants, for creating such a nice environment (well, Scottish whisky, Mexican mescal, Cuban cigars and Sicilian meals also helped!). I leave Sicily with some good pictures and, what is more important, with a different approach to photography and some very good friends.
® Jahn Schimitz
® Jonathan Kornberg
This was my first EB workshop and I was delighted that Jeff Jacobson was there too for an extra-special experience. The combination of these two passionate teachers’ wit and wisdom was the center of the circle containing a wonderful group of students, the generous people of Sicily and the island itself.
Many students were hugely experienced and shared with us their photos and stories from other times and places, giving (for me, anyway) a glimpse of a level of photography I can only dream of. Likewise, having both Masters present their works for discussion was a real treat.
The Easter celebrations started slowly and it was on the marathon 30-hour shoot that the emotions of the people of Trapani could finally be felt and captured, and this was undoubtedly the highlight.
However, the whole workshop ran on a gentle rhythm dominated firstly by glorious food, then by the warmth of discussion and laughter with students from so many different countries.
My waistline has yet to recover and the music still swirls around my brain. I can see now why so many return to this and other Ernesto’s workshops.
® Markus Lichtenstein
For me it was a very inspiring and intensive experience. It opened a completely new way to look at photographs for me. I appreciated very much Ernesto’s dedication and patience, while doing the editing sessions. The participation on this workshop definitely made me a more thoughtful, mature and richer photographer. Absolutely recommendable!
® Rafael Ruiz
Return to Sicily is always a pleasure as well as to eat caponata again and all its gastronomic treasures. And if you do it with a group like the one we had this year…it’s even better!
Since the very first day we created a family. Starting with Javier, I loved getting to know you. You have a privileged mind, analytical and rational driven by a fascinating creativity. I greatly learned from you. I hope you can send me more books and will come to Granada soon.
Tasha! Oh “sweet love” ja ja you are wonderful and make life wonderful. I think your husband and sons have secured a happy life being close to your wonderful energy. I truly believe that. You are petit but are like an earthquake and can put anyone to dance to the rhythm of you happy life music.
Markus is impressive your simplicity. I was trying to imagine you doing big business deals of your daily life and was thinking what an intelligent mixture and what good choice in life. I believe that you are a great man.
Colin & David this year I confirmed things that I thought last year thinking about both of you. I want to thank you again for treating me so well and for being noble and funny at the same time. I was impressed by David’s book about his mother. Colin your Brazilian images flipped me out. I hope that the lines of our life will cross again hopefully in Mexico.
Juan, Juanito! We continue with this special connection. I don’t understand completely well why, but I see that there is a plan from above. It’s clear that we will manage to meet again. It was incredible to have you for ten days in the workshop, to laugh and chat with you. Your photos killed me again. Just jump into the abyss. Amazing things are waiting for you.
Ernesto after our trip to Bolivia and after this workshop, it’s clear that our lives are united, like with Juan, for someone up in the sky. There is no doubt. The complicity that we share makes me feel very happy. Since I met you, I made great improvements in my photography. Thank you for everything.
Jeff your humanity left me without words. You are an example for the effort and passion that you have for photography. I loved watching you totally self-absorbed taking pictures. You are silent and move slowly but you transmit energy and a love for photography that I had never seen before. I felt moved to be able to see life through your clean, blue eyes. It is inspiring.
Giorgio I wish you much luck with your wedding. Thank you for the day at the airport. In the end it was a present that I could share this trip with you. This year we had no much time to talk. Many hugs and I’m sure that all will be going well for you with this beautiful way of being that you have.
Sergio I’m not sure how you were before your “change” of discovering your inner child. I can only say that you are incredible. Without doubt you were the one who worked the hardest during the workshop. Many times I heard that when someone was tired of taking photographs you’d appear and would recharge the energy of everybody to keep taking pictures. Thank you for your sensibility.
For the other members of the group I want to share the same loving words. It was wonderful to have all of you close to me. Each one of you collaborated in making this workshop unforgettable.
The most beautiful moment of the workshop and one of the most beautiful of my life was during the opening of our exhibit at the Institute Cervantes in Palermo (thank you Belem if you mange to read this). I loved looking at my photographs so well printed in a place so incredible. But above all what made me very happy was to see David, Colin, Sorin and Ernesto’s happy faces.
I got very emotional sometimes and it’s something that I will never forget. Among the many memories, my dear teacher speaking in his city, to his people, sharing part of himself and of his work; his mother and his family’s presence; that all of this turned into reality for something you did Ernesto. It’s something to ponder about. The energy that you receive when you do things for other people instead of doing them for yourself is something that has no explanation, something transforming. Because of all of this, the one who has to thank you for life at this moment it’s me.
® Sergio Barra
“Whatsoever you do, if you do it joyfully, if you do it lovingly, if your act of doing it is not purely economical, then it is creative. If you have something growing out of it within you, if it gives you growth, it is spiritual, it is creative, it is divine.” OSHO
Once again I am very pleased and especially HAPPY. For many years it was clear that I had to get to know Italy from the inside: its countryside, its people, its customs, its landscapes, its food, its history. Invariably things turn into reality when they are meant to be. This trip has been unforgettable. I connected very well with the country and especially with its people. I understood many things you told me about this workshop and both this one and the one in Oaxaca have been extremely special.
The first thing I must be thankful for is having had the opportunity to travel so much around Italy and enjoy a truly amazing country. It has been one of the most successful experiences in my life.
Sicily and the Workshop represent for me a period of much growth. Unlike in Oaxaca where I practically arrived with a blindfold before my eyes, in Sicily I knew I had to go with a more open eye and a clearer mind; I had to look closely at each instant, every detail, and every space. This time I also learned a lot about technique, style, and experience. I could clarify many doubts I had never dared to ask before. I think the group was excellent and I was able to learn many things from each one of them. This is what I like a lot about your workshops.
The photographic experience was really a cannolo for the soul. The fervor, devotion, spirituality with which the people worship God, the Virgin, Jesus and all the Saints is really overwhelming. I would say that Italy and Mexico are very similar and although each is different, I found quite a few similarities. I discovered and learned that my photography had to transcend the moment and not simply concentrate on the time I was living; I didn’t have to focus just on the procession, on the costumes or the characters. I had to seek photographic moments that could go beyond the place, time and date and manage to tell a good story. Maybe this is something known by many, but for me it was a great revelation. As you know, I have only been involved with photography for the last two years and I have still much to learn.
I feel happy because I worked hard although every day I felt much pain in my body for the effort. The work that I managed to accomplish made up for it. I learned a lot in the editing process listening to you defining what worked and what did not work. Something I enjoyed intensely was learning to see those images that transcend although I need to recognize that, sometimes, this process is also stressful for me. In the end, I greatly enjoyed the whole editing process because it was when I learnt the most.
We were fortunate to have Jeff Jacobson in the workshop.
I think that his presence gave even greater added value to the whole learning process. Having two teachers with different styles, one skilled with black-and-white and the other one with color was priceless. I believe for me it was a delight to hear Jeff’s comments, to watch him at work and see the way he sees and processes reality. It was also very useful to discuss extensively about those photos you guys disagreed on. We learnt a lot from it and I think it was a great fortune and opportunity to have had him in the workshop.
About Sicily I can only tell you that is a delight for all senses: visual, spiritual, tasting, auditory, and of course feeling the gentle embrace of its people increased very much the experience. Photographically speaking having the opportunity to take pictures in such contrasting cities as Palermo, Trapani and Marsala was really amazing. The topic of Sicilian cuisine was another highlight of the trip. Along with photography we lived two great experiences at once.
The presence in the group of wonderful photographers, with different styles, cultures, ideas, and visions was another element that gave great value to the course. I must confess that this time I was much more willing to learn from each one of them compared with Oaxaca, and I think I succeeded.
It was an excellent group, super integrated, so much fun, very committed, enthusiastic, with a high creative level. I really greatly enjoyed every moment spent with them and I feel today that they are part of my life.
Ernesto, my friend, once again you have surprised me. I thank you endlessly. My mind today is quieter and more peaceful than before. I think that it has to do with being part of this process of evolution and growth of my consciousness. You arrived when you had to arrive and I’m thankful. Ernesto, God bless you!
Thank you here and now.
® Tasha Dorsono
This is merely an attempt in putting a magical experience into words. The Padrinos, Ernesto and Jeff “danced” in such an eloquent way in teaching people with the same passion who came from various different countries with different cultures and backgrounds. They taught with such delicacy and great encouragement.
The Misteri processions, the music, the perfume of Sicily, the pasta, the salsiccia and the heartwarming encounter with everyone, not only I came home with a new “pair of eyes” in my photography, but also with the abundance of truly wonderful memories. In two words: “Simply magical!”