Oaxaca, Mexico 2012
® Aliona Londono
This is my third workshop with Ernesto and I cannot believe it gets better and better. Every time I learn something new and I’m always surprised to find so much magic around. I feel somehow Ernesto is the magician who makes all this possible.
I also have to thank Barbara, Birgit, Mar, Baron, Giorgio, Juan, Mark and Oliver for making this workshop so special and to share with them so many unforgettable moment (photographic and not…).
I’ll keep with me these memories for a long time. Although I have met these new friends just for ten days I feel I had known them for years.
® Barbara Beltramello
This workshop in Oaxaca has been intense and full of unexpected moments.
As in the other workshops, I’ve had the possibility to learn besides Ernesto’s feedback also by what the other students’ images.To me it’s always very important to be able to see what other photographers do their work and how they do it.
Even more than in the other Ernesto’s workshops, I have appreciated the fact of having lived such a magical experience with fabulous people whom, day after day, enriched me with their presence.
And for sure I’ll never forget the emotions I felt the night spent in the cemetery along with the local people. Four hours that flew by as if they were just a few minutes.
A special thanks go to Ernesto that each time brings his students to hidden places, almost secret ones, charged with a surprising genuine reality.
® Baron Barnett
I just completed my eighth extravaganza with Ernesto Bazan!!
With Ernesto you can always expect to have a spiritual journey!
As a group we were very interactive and creative. The group edits were enhanced with a trace of mezcal and creative spirit.
Mar with her contagious energy transformed us into a Marvelous band of photographers.
In Atzompa we walked the streets with families from home to home.
We spent the night in the cementerio celebrating with families.
In Oaxaca we spent time with followers of Santa Muerte.
The highlight was the journey in the Sierras. It was here that Mar came to the rescue as we negotiated the narrow mountain streets. We enjoyed dinner with a family in their home. As we spent more time celebrating Dia de los Muertos, we became a more cohesive group. The edits just got better and better and the bond of the group got stronger. The last night outside of Oaxaca was the most amazing display of costumes I have ever seen.
Ernesto, thank you for another trip to the unexpected!! I will look forward to the ninth workshop.
® Birgit Vagani
I joined this workshop with the desire to try to better understand a country, a culture, which I have been visiting and which has remained as an enigma to me for the past few years. What we lived was a wild journey through pagan pre-Hispanic rituals embodied into a Catholic scene, celebrating life by honoring the dead. Día de los Muertos is a magic ride through mystical fog, melancholic xylophones; encircled by ethereal childhood memories of ghosts and demons and eerie hoohoo-ing comparsas to hide their identity, filled with mezcal parties in haunted cemeteries, and boys in dresses, all decorated with skulls, marigold and candles, venerating the cycle of life and death.
What is Death?
What is death? It is the glass of life broken into a
thousand pieces, where the soul disperses like
perfume from a flask, into the silence of the eternal
Unknown Author; Source: Poem found in Michoacán – Through the Eyes of the Soul, Day of the Dead in Mexico
I thank you, Ernesto for leading the way and continuously inspiring us by showing us these magic places, pointing us in the right way, giving us feedback and sharing your wonderful work. I cannot wait to see the new book on panoramic photos on Cuba published.
Thank you Aliona, Barbara, Mar, Baron, Giorgio, Juan, Mark and Oliver, the marvelous group for those many funny and memorable moments, our conversations and the people from Oaxaca and those tiny towns around Oaxaca for their warm welcome, for cooking us food and feeding us mezcal. Siempre!
® Giorgio Negro
Discovery is a path which few dare going through. Sharing the discovery with others is an art that even fewer are willing to practice. Ernesto has been gifted with both talents and, once more, I had the opportunity to experience that throughout this workshop, when he decided to teach and learn by breaking new ground.
Mexico is surreal. Mexico is a dream that becomes reality. Together with Aliona, Barbara, Birgit, Mar, Baron, Ernesto, Giancarlo, Juan, Mark and Oliver, I felt part of that dream. I also became a surreal element in the Mexican (un)reality.
I think that no other group of people would have been able to make me feel like that.
® Mar Aldaz de la Quadra-Salcedo
Returning to a workshop of Master Bazan and returning to a place where I had been last year creates a feeling that is very difficult to describe with words. Oaxaca represented for me the memories of last year’s workshop. I came back for a personal challenge and to prove something that my teacher always says that we must return to the same places …
For me, this concept was not entirely clear, but when you come back you realize that situations change, and that the spaces and places where you have been already can continue to be a source of inspiration, you can try to take interesting photos …
I rejoiced greatly to be able to follow my third workshop with Ernesto.
The festival of Dia de los Muertos in Oaxaca and the surrounding mountains always surprise you with magical moments that will transport you to a mysterious world, take you back in time to a spiritual plane hard to come by in other parts of the world.
This year the workshop has led us to explore new places in the Sierra of Juarez, new sites that we’ve traveled in with our home on wheels, the van that braked better every time we saw an interesting celebration. Inside this van we traveled together as a family of lunatics and the vehicle became a classroom where to learn more about photography and at the same time a classroom for unforgettable laughs where you could use caguama oil to alleviate our fatigue.
All the other participants in the class of have been key to make this Oaxacan workshop to be unforgettable. I learned from the way of each one of them, took pictures from the editing sessions that are ultimately the magic of Ernesto’s workshops.
I have to thank all my fellow travelers that became my friends, of these artist friends who always wish you have in your life.
A heartfelt thanks to Ernesto as a teacher, and thanks to Juan, Barbara, Giorgio, Aliona, Birgit, Baron, Mark and Oliver.
Mar Aldaz de la Quadra-Salcedo
® Mark Caceres
A sea of candles giving form to those gathered to honor lost family members on a cold October morning before sunrise, and the aroma of candle wax and flowers carefully arranged on individual tombs- these were the sights and sounds that welcomed me to the ancient traditions of Mexico in Oaxaca. Reverence for the dead later is transformed into a celebration of life as parades and dancing express the other side of the paradox that is the Dia de los Muertos.
Many thanks to Ernesto for creating a positive atmosphere, providing honest feedback about our images, and giving us gentle encouragement. His perseverance in guiding us through winding dirt roads in the mountains with more obstacles than I could count is a testament to his relentless pursuit of poetic moments in seemingly unlikely places.
The group, of course, was exceptional not only for the images each person produced but for the warmth and good cheer shared with all. Thanks to Aliona for her generosity of spirit and inner glow, Birgit for her unique vision and impish character, Barbara for her unique viewpoint and creativity, Baron for his youthful energy, Juan for the depth of his insights, Giorgio for his good humor, Oliver for his superhuman energy and ability to carve beautiful moments out of chaos, and of course Mar, a true force of nature- never afraid to speak the truth and generous with her kindness. I hope to see you all soon again.
® Oliver Stegmann
The smell of flowers and incense in the air, the sound of a Mariachi band in your ear, a drink of mezcal in your hand offered by a hospitable Mexican and your eyes being overwhelmed by dancing people in ghostly traditional costumes and masks – that is what you get to experience in this workshop during the Day of the Dead festivities! I will never forget the beautiful wedding of an old disguised couple we could luckily attend or the magical night at a cemetery where people paid tribute to their ancestors.
What makes Ernesto Bazan’s workshop so fascinating to me is the unique combination of very special festivals and events to shoot that you would hardly ever get across by yourself, plus his really strict, helpful editing that lifts your photographic results to a higher level. “Don’t just take descriptive pictures, watch out for magical, mysterious moments to take photos that go beyond …” You learn a lot as well by closely listening to Ernesto’s critique of the work of the other workshop participants.
I have taken several good photographic workshops before but none was matched by the amazing experience of working with Ernesto. I got across his book BazanCuba just by chance and was immediately struck by his powerful images that stick to your mind. When I found out that he organized workshops I felt that this was exactly what I was looking for to improve my photography. I also loved that we could get an exclusive insight into some of Ernesto’s pictures that will form future book projects. And we were a marvelous group of 8 participants from 4 nations who had a lot of fun together during these 10 days!
In many places around the world traditions such as the Dia de los Muertos are under threat to fade away as the young generation is more attracted by the many temptations of the western, globalized world. Here in Oaxaca, I experienced the opposite: several young Mexicans told me that they very much appreciate our interest for these traditional festivities, which mean so much to them. Photographing Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead period: an extraordinary experience to always remember and definitely repeat!