Door Slammers Easter Gallery
Sicily, Italy 2015
® Anthony Delgado
First the food. – The seafood pasta duet with scampi, shrimps and pistachio at Due Colonne on Favignana. Bread with tomatoes and pecorino, and a big cup of Italian coffee for breakfast. The culinary feast made by Giorgio and his parents at the end.
To the indispensable Giorgio, never lost, always on time – thank you again for receiving my wandering luggage.
Above all, I remember Ernesto’s quick and unerring eye, his clear, reasoned and correct assessment of images is what for me, made the workshop worth the long flight from California and the short nights in Trapani. Apart from the experience of the processions, Ernesto’s way of seeing is the most important thing I will take with me from my time in Sicily. It inspires me further to attempt the impossible task of making a photograph, of finding a moment when enough pieces fall into place amid the chaos of live events in the attempt to make a meaningful image.
I had the pleasure of being among a great group of photographers and I felt the joy of seeing some truly wonderful photographs and the pain of knowing what I missed seeing.
I have photographed a number of processions in my life and what was different here was the great access, the ability to get close up in a way not always possible in larger events, the privilege of seeing the preparations for the event and gaining a sense of the personal connection with people, in a way that offered a glimpse of the person involved in the procession, not merely an anonymous participant. What I find most fascinating now about the processions is the strange and sometimes humorous collision of the sacred and profane, the past and the present that happens inside.
Most moving for me was the the Passion Play in Marsala. The re-enactment gave those events a reality and power, as it must have done in all the years in which it has been performed that even a non-religious person such as myself could feel.
Lastly, seeing the the shepherds and their flock in countryside of Trapani was an unexpected delight. That area would seem to be rich in photographic opportunity and I will try to return.
® Brendan Williams
This was my first workshop with Ernesto and hopefully will not be my last! It was also my first time visiting beautiful Sicily – a place I also hope to return to.
My expectations for the workshop were entirely exceeded and I left Sicily not only with a feeling that Ernesto had helped me take a step forward with my photography but also feeling part of wonderfully creative photographic community.
Ernesto reviewed each student’s initial portfolio and offered constructive criticism and advice on how the images may have been improved. The importance of ensuring that everything in the frame must work and add to the photograph and not distract was emphasized as was the importance of self-editing to keep only the best of one’s images.
We were based in a wonderful villa where we would gather around the table for breakfast each morning to discuss the plans for the day and life in general! Each day’s images were reviewed and critiqued on a daily basis with the keepers reviewed and edited again and finally sequenced by Ernesto at the end of the workshop. This helped each student gain a greater understanding on the importance of critical editing and sequencing ones photographs.
Ernesto showed some of the future book projects that he is currently working on and invited comments from the students in relation to our opinions on the photographs and it was clear that he listened to all comments. I very much enjoyed this aspect and it was a joy to see many wonderful photographs that will be appearing in his future books.
Ernesto told us all at the beginning that the workshop will be about more than just photography – it will also be about life and living and he was not wrong! We dined on fabulous Sicilian food washed down with some lovely wines, discovered that Ernesto cooks great pasta, visited some beautiful locations and had many very enjoyable conversations and laughs together during the 10 busy but enjoyable days. I learned how to improve my photography and about editing and sequencing but I also learned about Sicily and made some new friends too. Now that’s what I call a successful workshop! Thanks Ernesto.
® Daniele Alamia
I’ve known the work of Ernesto since his presence in Magnum.
I immediately loved his sensitivity and his eye and even though we are both Palermo we never meet in all those years. I was studying and he had already started photographing around the world.
It was only by chance, for my desire to participate in one of his workshops, which several years ago we met and from that fortuitous occasion arose a brotherly friendship and a deep source of joy to which I thank heaven that I can be able “to drink water from “.
This year my dream came true and my participation in this workshop was a true gift of life, one of those that you have to weigh in your hand well, when you are being offered it.
I could experience in photography and editing as never happened to me before and I was able to experience self-criticism and photographic reading of our images.
I could live with other beautiful people who have endured with patience and kindness my immense language problems and I could laugh and joke (and shoot) with them. The human aspect and the sharing it is a permanent feature of Ernesto’ workshop, which increases the quality and the human charged emotion and the transfer of knowledge.
And then the sharing with Giorgio Vacirca of many beautiful experiences and sensations. Thanks Giorgio for your presence and sympathy.
I close by thanking all the friends of the workshop and in particular Ernesto for his sensitivity and professionalism that he can convey with rare humanity.
Thanks to Tania, Linda, Anthony, David, Brendan, Johneth, Maarten, Rosy, Sophie and Jack, George and my great friend Ernesto Bazan.
® David Myers
Today, I am flying home from my fourth workshop in Sicily in four years with Ernesto. This means forty days of photographing and reviewing of my work and that of other students. In simple terms this means looking at more than thousand “selects” over the course of the workshops and spending endless hours walking, looking, talking, and thinking. I am still amazed, however, by how much there is to see in Sicily, and how much it makes me want to come back for a fifth year.
For me, this year was quite different from previous years. With Ernesto’s help, I have finally gotten to the point where I can understand something I have told others I have been doing for more than 40 years: using my camera as a tool to explore and experience. I said it, but I am not sure I ever allowed myself to do it until this last workshop. Finally, it wasn’t about “producing work” as if I had an assignment. Instead, I came to understand that I could actually be a part of the experience, probe and explore, and make some good pictures. I was no longer just observing: I was seeing. It isn’t about having 5, 10, or 15 good pictures at the end of the workshop. It is about being engaged in an experience and it is about learning to see and feel. I have learned from Ernesto that making some good pictures means going beyond merely describing; instead, it is about expressing a viewpoint clearly and articulating it visually to others.
This workshop allowed me to see that there is so much more to Holy Week than just the processions and the preparations. There is the island of Sicily and its people who can be uncovered through the lens of the workshop. I am sure earlier workshops would have allowed the same, but this year Ernesto was able to open my eyes and, as he likes to say, my heart to the experience.
Thank you, Ernesto.
® Johneth Lim
The Easter in Sicily workshop was a great learning experience. It opened up my way of looking and taking photos, of looking for unique moments. I learned greatly on how to select and edit images. It was also great to get to know all the amazing photographers who attended the workshop and seeing their love for photography.
It was a wonderful trip to Sicily and made me fall in love with the place. I will go back again if time will allow me.
Ernesto was a great mentor and friend. He helped me to see more and do more.
® Linda Omelianchuk
The experience of this workshop with Ernesto was beyond my expectations. The sincerity and openness of the Sicilian people, the spirituality and emotions of the Holy Week processions, and Ernesto’s perceptive mentoring and critiques, were a beautiful combination that helped me evolve as a person and as a photographer.
Ernesto shows his passion for life and his love of people through his photographs, and he generously shares all of this with us. We had an international group of talented photographers, and through Ernesto’s caring, humor, and talent for making pasta; it didn’t take long to create a family atmosphere. Together we celebrated Sicilian cuisine, walked the streets of Sicily, and edited our images. All of this has given me appreciation for the unique culture of Sicily, insight into the expressions of sincere faith, and gratitude for new friends that I will treasure.
® Maarten Boerma
Some things you only “see” when you have experienced them yourself. People can tell you exactly how to do things or explain their own experiences, but in some cases you have to be there to understand and feel them. This workshop on Sicily during Easter of 2015 was such a time.
The things I learned during the ten days on Sicily and Favignana with this great group of people from all over the world was something which brought many new insights in my photography, my renewed thrust in the passion for it and all even more important many life lessons.
I’ve done a number of other photography workshops; Ernesto’s are the ones to do if you really want to improve the way to look while photographing and to edit your work afterwards. The edit might not always be the easiest process since you may find that you need to work harder and try new things. But this is of course what it was all about: to learn. And that is what I did. Thanks Ernesto.
® Rosanna Lopez
I wanted to share my experience in the Sicily workshop at Easter in 2015.
The truth is that I found something I expected: wonderful people and an amazing place although I cannot explain why in Italy I always feel at home even if the language is not the same, maybe because some of my ancestors come from Italy.
The workshop was intense; we hardly had time to digest everything we saw although all the important things were being recorded in our heart.
Personally I like to photograph these events. I think that through the various rituals, ceremonies and traditions
we identify ourselves as a group.
In the case of Easter it’s wonderful to see how this tradition is shared by different ages and audiences all together in one place.I spent some very amazing days with the group and despite the cultural and language differences we blended in nicely.
A big hug to all of you: Ernesto, Giorgio, Daniele, Sophie, Maarten, Tania, Linda, Winnie, Brendan, David, Anthony, Johneth, Jack Sophie’s dad, Rosa, Giorgio and his family who celebrated Passover with us.
I hope not to forget anyone. Also thanks to Anja. Your comments and your experience in Ernesto’ s Easter workshop the year before generated my desire to participate.
The truth is that I have had a great learning experience and great memories, and I hope we will meet soon again.
® Sophie Peeters
True to all of Ernesto’s workshops, you know that it will be a wonderful experience, not only in photography, but a journey of friendships – old and new – and sharing of unforgettable moments together. This workshop was no exception, and a great one to that respect!
The Door Slammers has been a group of wonderful people, with such interesting and diverse backgrounds, creating great conversations, lots of laughter, learning and sharing.
But what made this workshop most special was that my dad Jack joined us for the after shooting fun! The whole group welcomed him with such open arms and my Dad soon became fully part of the group, which I am so grateful for. Being able to share such an experience with my Dad, which is really difficult to express in words, it has been truly marvelous!
Last but not least, this was my best final editing session ever, absolutely priceless to share it with both my Dad and my boyfriend AJ!
Thank you again Ernesto, for the most wonderful workshop! See you very very soon in Iquitos!
Ernesto cares more about the students he works with than any other photographer I have ever met. He is also deeply committed to the events we participated in, and transmitted his love of the Easter rituals to us. It was an amazing way to participate fully in something that I otherwise would have seen as an outsider.
® Winnie Ho
Words cannot truly describe my first workshop experience with Ernesto, which was simply unforgettable. Ernesto’s warmth and passion are contagious, his dedication to students reflected as much in his tireless review and honest critique of every student’s work as in his openness to share his life stories and ongoing projects. He challenged us to go beyond, to look for that elusive quintessential moment, to recognize the beauty of life. I came home with “new eyes”. A great teacher and friend, thank you thank you thank you Ernesto.
To Giorgio and our group of hugely talented photographers from all over the world: each and every one of you made up the collective wonderfulness that was we. The fun moments we had (which were many), the sharing of incredible projects and experiences, the adventures and emotions that we went through together during and beyond the Easter processions … I felt like I was among family. I miss you all.
And I haven’t even mentioned the beauty of Sicily, the hospitality we received, and the glorious food.
I look forward to my next Ernesto workshop.