Mangia Mangia Gallery
Sicily, Italy 2011
® Anna Kress
Photographically speaking, the workshop during the Holy Week in Sicily is truly challenging. The richness of sense impressions visually, acoustically and emotionally in addition to the pushing crowds attracted by the event, they all create distractive and disturbing elements for everyone struggling to find, isolate and capture moments which, in the words of Ernesto, result in soulful images that go beyond what we see on the surface. Overwhelmed and somehow alienated, only during the very last days of the workshop, I finally came to appreciate and find my own photographic approach to this fascinating mixture, especially found in the famous 24-hours-procession in Trapani: a mixture of seriousness and pride, of outbreaks of emotions, of show and “see and to be seen” atmosphere, of an invasion of photographers and of the wonderful characters like Gigi who play their important role in this piece every year. During the daily editing sessions where images were shown to Ernesto and the group and were – mostly – rejected on the grounds that they were not strong enough, it was interesting to see how hard it is to capture the “magic moments” – and yet, everyone of us has succeeded and raised his or her personal bar through Ernesto’s kindness, honest criticism and insistence to “look harder”. To this contributed the warm-hearted atmosphere of the workshop created by Ernesto, his assistant Carlo and the group, and our high motivation, mutual inspiration and hard work. The workshop also helped me a lot to overcome my fear of photographing people by finding my personal way to do it in mutual respect with the person being photographed. All of that contributed to my personal growth in photography and will stay with me in the future.
® Giampiero Flori
his was the third time that I returned to Sicily. Each time that I tried to change destination Ernesto managed to convince me to return. To practice photography with Ernesto has always been an intimate, personal experience indissoubly tied to his great seriousness and faith in his work. More than ever I realize the importance of working together with a group: how fundamental it is having an “external” eye during the editing sessions…and not just in the editing. Trying to tell something about yourself, telling about others… is the attempt that each time I come I attempt to take up. Something must have changed in me this year… if, all of a sudden, I find myself photographing shadows and reflections… with unpredictable and curious results. I like to think that each new workshop introduces new elements of consideration… in photography and in life as well.
® Ilaria Barisi
One of the most involving experience of this workshop has been to watch the Easter processions. The calling to a coral and more ancestral Catholicism has awoken, even in a laic spirit like me, profound emotions. Sharing ten days with the most heterogeneous group of people both for age and nationality has been a stimulating experience from a photographic and human aspect. Ernesto, with his charisma and his mastership in his teaching, has shown us the path for comprehending and analyzing the quality of the images. A true Copernican revolution! Ernesto thank you so much and I hope to see you soon.
® Juliann Petkov
This workshop in Sicily had been the second workshop with Ernesto, and like the first in New York, it had been a beautiful, challenging experience. I can see the ways in which my eye has developed, and I feel truly fortunate to have been able to grow with the patient, strict guidance from Ernesto and the camaraderie found in the group. Sicily opened its heart to me, invited me into its bustling kitchen, guided me as I walked backwards- camera to my face, nearly trampled by the oncoming procession, and helped me learn to isolate a moment, snap a frame. The midnight editing sessions with the wonderful family our group became, the abundance of Italian bread and cheese, and the streets of Sicily will always stay with me as I continue to meander the streets, look for a moment. Thank you Ernesto, and all my friends!”.
® Kasia Chwalczuk
Dear Ernesto, Dear Mangia Mangia group, It was a pleasure to meet all of you. For me these 10 days was a very special period. I want to thank Ernesto and all of you for your support, critics and the opportunity to look and edit your photos that have really inspired me. I feel that I’ve learned a lot after these first steps in street photography. I’ve had a great opportunity to concentrate only on photography and share experience with such an interesting and inspiring group. Not to mention that during our free time I’ve had a wonderful time. Thanks to Betsy I’ve started to appreciate the still life photography. All the photos I’ve seen during this workshop will stuck in my head for a long time. Thank you all for this unique experience and hope to see you some day.
® Rosario Lopresti
If you are looking at these photographs and you are still uncertain to enroll in this workshop my advise is to do so! Sicily, its processions, Ernesto’s modus operandi will always stay with me as some of the best memories of my life. During the ten days we created the true spirit of the workshop! We worked hard, every morning we went over the images taken the day before and every day we tried to put into practice Ernesto’s advise! But watch out: Ernesto doesn’t give you any breaks; he carefully looked at each photograph and if you are a beginner like me to have one of my images chosen was a great success.
® Stan Raucher
Looking, seeing, feeling, refining, redefining, always setting the bar just a bit higher than the day before, eliminating attachments to weaker images to produce a smaller but stronger body of work, that ís what a workshop with Ernesto Bazan is all about. But it ís more than that. The wonderful group of participants and the shared camaraderie, laughter, opinions, agreements and disagreements, food and wine take the experience to a whole new level. Mille grazie to Ernesto, Carlo, Juan and all of my new friends and fellow participants for making the Easter in Sicily workshop an amazing experience.
® Tony Melvin
It could just be about photography if you want. But for me it was the experience of being connected – to myself, to others, and my surroundings. I learned if I could connect and respect these 3 elements then maybe – just maybe my heart would be open enough to live and decisively capture some moments. The Sicily workshop for me was about reconnecting to my roots and sharing this experience with a wonderful group of people. Laughing, eating, and pushing ourselves physically, emotionally, and photographically. I thank-you all for the experience. Love and light.
® Umit Okan
Before I enrolled for Sicily workshop, I was a little bit hesitant as the workshop seemed to be focused only on the processions. After my first workshop with Ernesto in Brazil, I was missing Bahia so badly and wanted to go back there as soon as I could. But Ernesto persuaded me to come to Sicily instead. I can now realize that he was so right! Sicily was more than a photographic experience for me. After all, it was an unforgettable life and culinary experience ! (The taste of amazing cannoli is still in my mouth). On my way home from Sicily, I was already planning to come back to this beautiful land of beautiful people, next year as well. I believe that I improved my photography a lot during this workshop, which was very challenging both physically and photographically. I must thank to Ernesto’s enthusiasm, dedication and inspirational leadership. I also thank to all my fellow friends from whom I learned many things. I am very happy that I made some good friends. I still listen the emotional music of Settimana Santa and shout:” A postoooo !!!” …the only thing I can do until next year.
® Willem Kuijpers
Dag allemaal, hallo alle, witam wszystkich, ciao a tutti, hello to all, merhaba tüm, hola a todos, Now I’m already hard at work in the studio, but my head and mind are still busy digesting this workshop… For me it was a beautiful week with a great group of people where everyone respectfully dealt with the others. Not least through Umit …. The master of connecting people…( I still was searching for an appropriate nickname), the exuberant laughter of Ilaria and Giampiero, the great English / Italian accent of Rosario, the only real “Godfather” and of course the breakfast from Rosa. But the ultimate moment was of course to be kissed by Gigi… Before I decided to join, I had grave doubts whether I should do again the same workshop, or visit individually other processions in Sicily. This because I’ve been already several times before in Trapani and I know there is so much more to do in Sicily during the Holy Week. All in all, I am happy that I made this choice and I now realize how good it is to be with a group of people with different backgrounds, nationalities and visions together doing the same thing, with the help of a driven charismatic Ernesto, (although I sometimes have trouble with his Italian temperament, especially when I was late). This was my third workshop with him, and without doing short to the others for me this was the best … Arriverderci e a presto.