Agua para Nescafé Gallery
Tlacotalpan, Mexico 2009
® Chad Anderson
Incredible! This is the only answer I can give to when I was asked: “How was your day?” It seems trivial, but it’s the only answer I can give that really sums it up. The music, the angry bulls, the warm and inviting people, the quiet moments of faith and adoration. Walking the back streets during a lull in the action I chance upon a man sharpening a knife. He sees my cameras and without hesitation invites me in to participate in the death and preparation of his birthday dinner. The man and his brother work through the pig in about 45 minutes, I work through the pig in 3 rolls of film. I am invited for cerveza and food wherever I go. Quiet moments of daily life wait for me around every corner. Grand moments of faith and fiesta abound. How could I possible have shot that many rolls today? My teacher’s voice in my mind reminding me to pay attention to the frame…how’s that guy on the left going to screw up my picture. Look how the face on the right takes the image to the next level. I was in my fourth workshop with Ernesto, my second in Tlacotalpan. Each experience is more important than the last one. Thanks for the vision.
® Frank Baudino
I should begin by mentioning the remarkable openness of the people of Tlacotalpan. While walking through the village I was again and again invited to photograph people going about their daily life. These are also clearly proud people – proud of their families, their children, their horses, and their lives. They are also people of faith who are willing to stand in crowds outside their packed cathedral to celebrate the Virgin of Candelaria. I will also never forget the adrenalin rush of trying to photograph the running of the bulls – an experience not to be missed.
Perhaps even more important to me was the pleasure I received from working with other photographers during the workshop. These photographers – the other students, Ernesto and Juan – were enormously stimulating to me. They offer new ways of seeing and new insights into how I might take pictures. They simultaneously have very high, tough standards and at the same time generously offer their encouragement and advice to those of us with lesser skills. It was so refreshing to work with photographers who offer an honest vision in a world where so much published photography rings false. I remain forever grateful.
® Romain Fournier
It has now been a week since I’ve returned from Mexico and my mind is still very much there. This 10 days immersion in your ‘world’ was fascinating and I am fortunate I was able to make it. Although I am not a very talkative person, I really enjoyed the moments in Tlacotalpan and in Veracruz with your family.
From a photo perspective, I learnt a lot by just observing the way you wander the streets and come across potential magical moments. It seems that you are always ‘on’ and aware of your surroundings. Tlacotalpan is a great place and I just wish I had more time to explore the edges of this village so as to unveil even more of its soul. To be honest with you, I cannot say I was too satisfied with my pictures. In the end it is not so important. What matters is that I slowly understand what it means to take ‘my pictures’! However, when Arturo looked at my pictures and mentioned Webb, I could not help but think:” I am struggling to take my pictures and there is still a long way to go before I manage to do so.” I will just have to try harder next time.
When I chose to do this workshop with Ernesto, I wasn’t really sure what I could learn from it. Knowing from the start that I would spend 10 days on my favorite things to do: photography and Latin America, I knew I would not be disappointed. In the end, it turned out to be a tremendous learning experience, and I am thankful to the Maestro, Frank, Chad, Silvia and Juan for what they taught me and for the good time spend together. Ultimately, I believe this workshop went beyond the simple act (not really!) of taking a photograph… what ‘beyond’ means might just be very personal … Grazie Mille.
® Silvia Montanari
It’s my first workshop here in Mexico. At the beginning the idea scared me, above all the idea of having to give up of my zoom from which I used to observe people and in which I sheltered myself in order to stay at a safety measure from my subjects.
For who has chosen images as a mean of communication is difficult having to explain what was missing in my photographs.
By looking at my “old” photographs I think that I have been a helpless spectator before the world turning.
Ernesto, Chad, Frank, Romain and Juan helped me greatly, selecting them all as my masters and putting myself in the situation of the student that needs to learn from everybody although I had studied photography before.
Each one of them taught me to see beyond the image, to be more precise and self-critical. Ernesto managed to convoy all my energies and made me learn about photography with great patience and humility.
For sure it’s not easy to go through an editing session where there is not even a good image to be found, but by persevering in the name of what you believe in the results start coming your way.
Now, by looking over and over at my images, I understand that my photos are alive, each one has a story to tell and even if they are in black and white I see them much more colorful than a rainbow because this time I wasn’t shooting from far away, my feet and the words that I exchanged with people photographed were my zoom lens.
Neither my journey’s companions will be here to tell me what I did wrong nor Ernesto to do the editing, but now I do have a new energy.
It has been a great fortune to meet such special photographers in the only place I love as much as I love Italy. I thank you for your advice, for the company and for the photographic and human experience that we shared.
Thanks Ernesto, thank you all!
I’ll always carry all of you in my images.