Vayenle, Guadalupe Celebration Gallery
Mexico City, 2013
® Alessandro Mattioni
Deciding to dive into Mexico City knowing that is one of the biggest urban sprawl in the world, second only to Tokyo frightens you. Delving and mixing among the different people that at all times crowds the city center gave us the opportunity to discover a multitude of aspects of this fascinating and disquieting city.
We accompanied millions of pilgrims that were arriving tired, moved and joyous to the Virgin of Guadalupe cathedral; we met the welcoming Triqui indigenous community from Oaxaca; we visited museums, walked along tranquil parks where people were looking for relax and enjoyment and we traveled in the subway.
Exactly because of this metropolitan characteristics and for the unstoppable flow of people, finding interesting photographic situations hasn’t been so difficult, but those images that managed to overcome Ernesto’s severe editing along with the other students’ approval are only a few. The unchosen images will remain only in our memory and heart.
To share the experience with two experts such as Frank and Stan helped me greatly to grow and to discover other ways of seeing and stimulated me to continue with more optimism. Thank you to both!
I thank Ernesto for having shared with us some of his future projects and that made possible the meeting with different and talented Mexican photographers. Our friend Juan’s company made the whole experience even more precious.
I hope to see you all soon!
® Frank Baudino
Mexico City is unique. The greater Mexico City area comprises more than 20 million residents and is both cosmopolitan and diverse. Our workshop spent several days photographing the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe at the cathedral of the Virgin and the adjacent square. The numbers of peregrinos was awe-inspiring. Between 5 and 7 million came to honor the Virgin, some spending several days walking from the city of Puebla, some crawling the final several hundred meters to the cathedral on their knees as an act of veneration, and nearly all of them carrying a statue, picture, or some article of devotion. It was a truly unique spectacle. There was plenty for us to photograph.
One of the most stimulating aspects of the workshop was our opportunity to meet with some really fine Mexican photographers. We had a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with Patricia Aridjis who had recently completed her book on women in Mexican prisons called “Las Horas Negras”, and Flor Maria Cordero who published a book “Portraits and Testimonies” and currently works as a freelance photographer.
As an amateur photographer, I have always felt that I learn the most by viewing and discussing the work of other photographers and my own work with the other students and with Ernesto. Our workshop provided me with the opportunity to see some truly excellent work by my fellow students and hear Ernesto’s valuable critiques.
Andre Breton, founder of Surrealism, said that Mexico was the most surreal country in the world. Our visit to Mexico City with its diverse culture, neighborhoods, artists, museums, and street life certainly convinced me.
® Stan Raucher
I’ve visited Mexico City several times and it’s one of my favorite places. There are fascinating locations, from the metro, to the museums, to the markets, to the parks and plazas, to the churches, to the historical sites and unique neighborhoods. There is much to see and do, but more than anything, it is the welcoming people of Mexico who make this place so special. It was a great joy to join Ernesto, Juan, Frank and Alessandro for this wonderful workshop. Although I had been to the Basilica de Guadalupe on previous visits, I was not prepared for the amazing celebration which draws millions of devoted and passionate pilgrims to the festival for the Virgin of Guadalupe.
As usual for Ernesto’s workshop, it was so much more than taking photos, and editing and sequencing images. We all had the opportunity to share meals, to meet local photographers, to view the latest edit of Isla, Ernesto’s forthcoming book of panoramas from Cuba, to look at Juan’s color work from Mexico, and to talk about our lives. Thanks again to mis amigos for this great experience.