Porque No? Gallery
Oaxaca, Mexico 2009
® Carlos Figueroa
I discovered Ernesto Bazan’s work by “chance” and I was immediately taken by it. Through his images I connected to a more profound way of seeing. For a series of personal circumstances, I saw in his Oaxaca workshop an opportunity to help me come out of my lethargy and my personal photographic blindness. To connect with my own self and from there to take pictures again. I thought about that a lot, but in the end this feeling of “You need to be there” was coming back to me. So I betted most of my savings and decided to take the Oaxaca workshop. One of the first sentences that Ernesto pronounced was: ” You need to connect to your internal eye and start photographing from there.” I thought that it was something somewhat staged that he says to all his students, perhaps is like that… but it was the foundation of the workshop and it’s now clear to me that it’s the base for all the images that transcend reality, at least for me.
More than having gone to Oaxaca to take a photographic workshop, I went to a workshop where the internal and living experiences convert into images. Everything that happened there taught me a lesson. My four fellow students: John, Stan, David and Judy also left with me with some great indelible learning. I could see the angel and the demon in Ernesto and recognize myself in them. Among all of this, my images started changing. I opened the door to a dimension in which, a while back, I was afraid to enter, and that now I want. I managed an image that continues to hit my heart every time I think of it or look at it.
If before I had a notion, now I’m sure: nothing is by chance. I had to be there.
® David Taffet
Ernesto’s workshop tapped passion, honed vision, created intimacy and encouraged bravery. In reviewing my past portfolio that I brought with me and the images I created while participating in the workshop, Ernesto facilitated a more critical process and structured prism through which to view, rank and select superior photographs. The images that survived the reviews had composition, beauty, magic and purpose.
Ernesto helped us to communicate with images that inspired the shooter and spark a reaction in the viewer. There’s no formula to a successful image, but Ernesto guided his students to an appreciation of the power of framing edge-to-edge, capturing both the foreground and background and including primary, secondary and tertiary elements. Sniping from a distance offers nothing more than a stolen picture of an interesting subject; framing while in the scene or at least close to the action, on the other hand, allows for inclusion, placement and proximity that conspire to create a composed, interesting and worthy image. When in doubt, get closer, go wide and compose.
In the end, Ernesto’s workshop provided access to photographic opportunities and aesthetic insights I had not previously fully recognized or appreciated. I left enriched with enhanced spirit, confidence, purpose and passion.
® John Fritzlen
I met Ernesto in Los Angeles while watching a presentation of his Cuban photographs. Deeply moved by what I saw, I made loud comments to no one in particular: “Who is this photographer?, My God, this image is so powerful, etc.” I didn’t realize Ernesto was standing a few feet behind me. I had been wanting to study photography with a teacher and had found him.
The Oaxaca workshop inspired me to work deeper and harder. I also experienced the immense value of sharing a creative process, learning so much from the beautiful work of Judy, Stan, Carlos, and David.
Ernesto’s devotion to his art extends to his teaching. I was grateful for his patience and encouragement with my awkward efforts and uncertainties. But, most of all, it was his ability to open my eyes into another level of photography that I treasure and take with me.
Finally, although Oaxaquenos may never read this, I thank them for the beauty they have found in both life and death.
® Judy Babinski
Thanks to Ernesto for another magical Dia de los Muertos workshop. Ernesto’s energy and dedication pulls all of us along to go beyond. And thanks to my fellow students, each of whom brought their own unique magic to the group. Stan and his dedication to the 2nd class bus station. David and Carlos with their dedication to sampling as much artisan mescal as time would permit. And John, who battled a yucky cold and still came out with some wonderful pictures.
® Stan Raucher
After taking my first workshop with Ernesto in New York this June, I knew that I would have to return for more. The Dia de los Muertos workshop in Oaxaca was a wonderful experience. Ernesto’s helpful insights helped me to refine my editing and shooting skills. His knowledge and access to local people and events provided photographic opportunities that would not have other wise been possible.
The camaraderie we experienced as a group – photographing, riding in crowded collectivos and sharing meals together – was delightful.