Mucho Demasiado Gallery
Oaxaca, Mexico 2011
® Baron Barnett
I have just completed my 6th journey with Ernesto, the second one to Oaxaca. The sad part was that I had to leave early because of family obligations. As a result, I missed some of the editing and an excursion to the countryside. As always, there was another spiritual component to the experience. One always comes away with a sense of place. Oaxaca is a very special place even though it is growing more than one could imagine, until you see the changes firsthand.
The group was very talented and inspirational. The visits to the cemeteries were very beautiful and emotional. Sharing stories with families in the cemetery and the comparsas were very special. The beauty of the sand altars were stunning.
One of the workshop’s highlights has been seeing Ernesto’s Oaxacan images over the last 10 years. They were stunning! He also shared a group of panoramic images of Cuba that we helped him edit and his new color book Al Campo.
The limited edition is absolutely beautiful!
When one also adds the editing sessions of the group’s work, one gets saturated with amazing work by everyone. It also helps you to put in perspective where one is at with their own work. Ernesto with his amazing perception helped us sharpening our perception of the environment around us.
Thank you Ernesto for stimulating our senses and blessing me with another spiritual journey into the unexpected!
It was a true joy meeting your family. Sissy has done a beautiful job with Stefano and Pietro. They are really nice boys!
Umit and Niki be ready for another round of mescal…
Ernesto I am already scheduled for the Sierra of Oaxaca next year…
I can’t wait to experience more of the spirit of Oaxaca and the unexpected by Bazan… Baron Barnett
® Frank Baudino
It had been 9 years since I was last in Oaxaca and much had changed.The city had become larger and, in the north at least, somewhat gentrified. What had not changed, however, was the spirit of the people and el Día de los Muertos.
Mexico’s attitude toward death is something alien to norteamericanos. For Oaxaqueños death is simply part of the continuum of existence: part of the greater cycle of life. The grotesque costumes and solemn Catrinas of these days show death as something to be mourned, but also mocked; something simultaneously serious and comical; something to inspire both devotion and dancing. The dead are not really gone, they are still part of the family to be welcomed back on el Día de los Muertos.
I had only vague memories of our time in the cemetery from 2002. My visit to the village cemetery this year the night of October 31 was quite unexpected and moving. A hundred families gathered in the darkness of the cemetery to talk, decorate graves, light candles, and welcome back the dead. The beautiful light of dawn brought a sense of both closure and release.
In this photographic workshop I was fortunate to be working alongside some really exceptional student photographers. It was a truly international group which included students from Spain, Turkey, Romania and the US. Once again, Ernesto brought us all to a higher level of understanding of what a photographic moment is and how to capture it.
It was a very special experience and I promised myself I would be back. Frank Baudino
® Juliann Pektov
The workshop in Oaxaca was the third workshop I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in with Ernesto. Each year, I know my critical eye is growing.
I am infinitely grateful for Ernesto’s patience and honesty, as well as the opportunity to learn with a group of incredibly talented artists. Oaxaca remains fixed in my heart as a surreal treasure, an experience in submitting myself entirely to the moment; whether we were hitchhiking in the mountains, or dancing in the cemeteries, Mexico — the people, the smells, the mescal — is something I will remember forever.
Thank you Ernesto and all of my friends. Juliann Pektov
® Mar Aldaz De la Quadra Salcedo
To arrive to the Very Noble and Loyal Antequera de Oaxaca has been for me, as a Spanish woman, a discovery like it must have been for the Spaniards who arrived here in 1521 to found the city. To be here 490 years later made me feel as Cortes, Alvarado and Orozco…
Oaxaca mesmerizes you, it steals your heart. Being in this magic city at Day of the Dead celebrations during Ernesto Bazan’s workshop has been a unique privilege. The course coincided with the 10th anniversary of BazanPhotos Workshops in Oaxaca, and I felt that I didn’t want to miss out on something so special. It has been my third photographic adventure with the Sicilian maestro.
For me it was such a transcendental experience that you can only explain being in Oaxaca during this very metaphysical universe; that you can only comprehend being in Mexico, in the month of November, during el Día de los Muertos. You cannot explain with words the sensations that you feel being there during the magic night of November first in a village’s cemetery being able to photograph these very spiritual instants. You can only get it by being there. You cannot describe with sentences what it feels like following las comparsas dressed up in such outlandish costumes or trailing behind a music band playing melancholic tunes. You’ve got to live it. You need to allow yourself to have the opportunity to photograph a procession venerating Holy Death, a pretty unsettling ritual…
To be in Bazan’s workshop in Oaxaca has been like being in a time machine and be able to travel back in time: to a privileged photographic time.
Ernesto, leading this group called Mucho Demasiado (Much Too Much), also took us to some far away pueblos. These villages in the Sierra Oxaqueña have been even for the maestro a “discovery”. Everybody was fascinated by las comparsas de los Pueblos Mágicos where the Zapotecan indigenous population welcomed us as brothers inviting to share mescal, allowing us to photograph these extraordinary traditions.
I’m not sure if the old gold mines are still producing the venerated metal, but we for sure did strike “Photographic Gold.” Thank you Ernesto for helping me discover this Gold!
I need to thank from the bottom of my heart all my fellow students Juliann, Niki, Sorin, Stan, Baron, Frank and Umit. I’ve learned so much from your work and I feel I’m a very lucky person to have been able to share with all of you in this workshop.
I also need to thank in a special way Juan de la Cruz. He demonstrated to me that besides being such a great photographic and video artist, something we already knew, he is a great person, a true friend, which I feel is quite important!
I want to thank Bazan’s wife, Sissy a true Cuban Sun. It was a great pleasure meeting you along with Pietro and Stefano.
Last but not least, thank you to Maestro Bazan. Having been able to be with you during this oaxaqueño workshop has greatly enriched me both photographically and spiritually. It has been Mucho Demasiado… Thank you! Mar Aldaz de la Quadra Salcedo
® Niki Polyocan
Oaxaca to me is such a beautiful place, and it was a wonderful gift to be able to experience Ernesto’s Oaxaca during Dia De Los Muertos. I have a deep connection to the people of Oaxaca and through my photography it helps me to get closer.
Ernesto’s guidance allowed me to see a place that I had visited before through a different lens, and I know it made my work stronger.
I’m looking forward to returning to Oaxaca many more times in the future. Niki Polyocan
® Sorin Frasina
A new workshop – the third one for me. A new adventure. A joy and a challenge for all five senses: the touch of the warm and smooth wool blanket during a cold night in the graveyard; the hot scent of pure genuine cocoa boiling just in front of you at dawn; the taste of dark spicy mole negro made from chocolate and chili, all washed down by a blonde cerveza at midday; the sound of happy beats of tambores accompanying madonnas at sunset; the sight of ashen bloody brides offering fresh flowers and kids dressed as skeletons crunching candy skulls all day long.
Old friends, new friends… some new nicknames were created: Blonde Hurricane, Cat girl, Spielberg, Mister No…
Nine people carrying cameras hitching a ride with local farmers on the back of their vans to reach comparsas in the countryside. Ten days. Only ten days. There is a saying in Oaxaca: “We are not here for a long time , we are here for a good time.”
Thank you, Ernesto, for making all these things happening for us. I know that one day I’ll be back. Because one time is not enough… Sorin Frasina
® Stan Raucher
Being in a workshop with Ernesto, whether it’s for the first or the fifteenth time, is like being part of an amazing family, and one that understands your photographic passion. It was wonderful to return to Oaxaca for my fourth workshop with Ernesto, to see his family and old friends from previous workshops, to make new friends, and to view the compelling exhibition of nine years of work by his Oaxaca students at the Centro Manuel Álvarez Bravo.
Ernesto always says that you need to go back to the same place over and over again to be able to understand what you are doing, and that was certainly true for me. This was my second Día de los Muertos workshop with Ernesto, and I found it to be a much richer experience than the first. In addition to revisiting familiar locations, we also explored new venues, including a delightful trip to small pueblos in the Sierra.
As usual, the editing and critique sessions were both educational and rigorous – pushing everyone to improve their artistic vision. I’m looking forward to continuing this process. Ernesto, Hasta la proxima vez.
® Umit Okan
Last April, in Sicily, I had promised my carnalito (friend) Juan that I would come to Oaxaca for sure. I am very happy indeed that I made such a decision. Oaxaca is now my favorite workshop so far. It was a wonderful experience to photograph Dia de los Muertos in Mexico.
I can see that with each workshop, my photography is getting better and better. I am very grateful to Ernesto for his contribution. Without him, my progress would have not been that fast…
Now, I can’t wait to go back to Oaxaca once again…