Strange Family Gallery

Chiapada Diamantina, Brazil 2011

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 ® Charlotte Schmitz


I am sitting alone in a Pizzeria in Cachoeira, wondering, if the pizza will be as good as in the Chapada village…but the best ingredient seems to be missing – the incryable strange family sitting together after a wonderful day with many beautiful moments and pictures in every one’s head and camera. I truly believe that destiny made me listen to Ernesto some months ago in Hanover and led me to beautiful Bahia. His warm words about life and photography, about finding poetry everywhere, even in the most inconspicuous moments, impressed me deeply. While listening to him a strong feeling raised up in me that I should follow one of his workshops. I knew that, in some way, it would change me a lot.  And now, only a few weeks later, I know I was right.  During this workshop I discovered and learned about the significance of using the internal eye, to see with all senses, which is not always easy to follow, although it’s the magic key to encounter pure and beautiful moments. Catching those unrepeatable and surprisingly graceful instants of daily life before they disappear quickly is not that easy, but luckly when everything works along, it does become a good picture. I think I know now what I was missing in my photographs before. I am so grateful to have been a part of this beautiful group, the memories of this time, the place and all the people we have met will last forever in my mind. Thank you all so much!! Charlotte Schmitz





® Elena Lusenti


This is the second time I have had the fortune of photographing in Bahia with Ernesto. The days spent together presented a challenge, which I did not encounter before, precisely how to cope with incredibly intense days filled with vibrant and dramatic situations, followed by days of seemingly mundane small town life.  In both situations, I found myself at a loss of what to focus on and where to start.  Observing Ernesto at work throughout these situations was an invaluable lesson.  But I also learnt so much from each of my travel companions, from the beautiful images they captured, and the many special details, which I missed.  This uniquely strange family was the perfect ingredient to let myself blissfully sink a bit further into the seductive culture of Bahia, its rhythm and its magic – and to make it once again very hard to leave… See you in March Ernesto.  A presto! Elena Lusenti




® Geralyn Shukuwit


The whole trip seems a bit of a blur after a week home. Even after sitting with the images and editing them, almost feels like a dream. I guess I should have stayed even longer. I have to thank you Ernesto for creating these workshops. Initially for me it was about getting to Cuba. Yes, photography counted, but Cuba! And so it began. I didn’t know what to expect and what I found was a way to look at my images. Now after all these years, I still photograph like crazy but couldn’t slow myself down shooting digital to watch what I was photographing. This class helped me stop for a second, look around, and become aware of the surroundings not just the action. I love how we all come together from this global world and meld as if we’ve known each other forever. Languages and ideas mix, photos are taken, and together we edit the madness with laughter. Much needed laughter for myself. Thank you again Ernesto, see you soon. Geralyn Shukuwit




® Mar Aldaz De la Quadra Salcedo


Obrigado Siciliano! Taking part in the Chapada Diamantina workshop in Brazil guided by Ernesto was for me a transforming discovery. Landing in Salvador, in this black Bahia, where the African spirit mixes up with the Portuguese America is a stunning sensation. Following the peregrination of the Senhor de Bomfim with over two hundred thousand people praying and dancing the very first day of the workshop makes you enter right in the Bahian spirit. Being in Salvador de Bahia in Ernesto Bazan’s workshop makes you feel like must have felt the great photographer Pierre Berger when he decided to live here. In the Bazan workshop you learn to see in a photographic way, to look for the decisive moment, this instant where everything falls into place in your lens so that your image can convey something that gets to your soul… With Ernesto, you learn that any quotidian event, no matter how trivial, can be photographically beautiful. Never would I have imagined that in fifteen days in Brazil I’d have learned so much. Delving into the Chapada Diamantina with the Volkswagen van along with my traveling companions felt as being in the scientific expedition by Carl Friedrich, Philip von Martius and Johann Baptist von Spix who documented Chapada at the very beginning of of the XIX century. I also need to thank all my traveling companions Elena, Silvia, Geralyn, Charlotte, Sorin and Romain for all the good energy of this “incroyable strange family” and also for all I’ve learned from them. Photographing Candomblè’ ceremonies, garimpeiros searching for diamonds and saint Sebastian’s procession and many things more has been such a luck and privilege. Thank you for Ernesto for teaching me to look for poetry in my images. Mar Aldaz De la Quadra Salcedo




 ® Roman Fournier


I was not supposed to participate to this workshop in the first place, but I finally did and I feel very lucky. Before I came to Bahia,  I only had a vague idea of the place through reading Corto Maltese’ adventures in Under the Capricorn Sign. During these ten day workshop, I felt the same sense of intensity, of adventure, and of magic as in Hugo Pratt’s comic book. Because Ernesto is familiar with the place, but also because we accepted to open ourselves to the hazards of the unknown, the unexpected,  we managed in just a span of 10 days to get incredible exposure to Bahian traditions, culture and daily life moments … a real treat ! In the course of life, there are sometimes encounters with people and places that are so unique that they leave indelible memories …  this has happened with Bahia … this has happened with our incroyable strange family to whom I am grateful. Indeed, I feel I learnt a lot during our morning editing sessions and after … thanks to you guys ! … and thanks Ernesto for allowing a glimpse into your work … this is very much appreciated.

Roman Fournier





® Silvia Montanari


Dear Ernesto, thank you for this incredible adventure, thank you for having shown to me this typical beauty from Brazil that remains under your skin and in your eyes. Before leaving I had given myself certain goals because photography looks very much like me, feverish, in constant movement, but unfortunately it was lacking magic. It wasn’t Candomblè but rather your patience to guide me, as usual, in the right direction. You are truly an irreplaceable maestro and I hope that many people in their life or at a time of professional confusion will have the fortune to meet a person like you. Never would I have imagined to follow this path with such wonderful companions, each one special, each one with a different and very interesting life’s perspective, each one with a heart so big that it will be difficult to forget. At each difficulty I’ll remember that tune whistled together and I’ll always bring the “incroyable strange family” in my best smiles. Thank you form the bottom of my heart for all of you. Silvia Montanari





® Sorin Frasina


Ernesto, I’m writing these words almost half a year later after Chapada Diamantina adventure and I realize that in all these months I surprised myself hundred times whistling  the “River Kwai March “ theme, open-eyed dreaming at the red, rocky roads  and the rivers with their rusty waters all around Chapada. For me  this second workshop in Bahia turned  into a smashing holiday full of photographic opportunities. It was a pleasure to discover new faces of  the charming world of Bahians near old friends like you  and Elena as well as meeting new friends like G, Mar, Silvia, Romain and Charlotte. Thank you so much  – to all of you – for these wonderful “incroyable strange family“ days . And, once again, belive me : I’m still whistling! Sorin Frasina


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