Going With Flow 2 Gallery
Iquitos, Peru 2015
® Calvin Chen
This was my 3rd workshop with Ernesto and my 2nd time coming back to the Amazon. In previous workshops we talked about the power of coming back to a place that you’ve been before. That familiarity makes you more comfortable, your vision becomes more intuitive, and in that realm… sometimes magic happens. I’m blessed to know Ernesto and his friends. His workshops are unique not solely for their destination, but for the wonderful people he attracts. I got the chance to reconnect with friends, and had forgotten how much I missed Nilo and Sophie. Even though I don’t speak a lick of Italian, we were able to bond in deeper ways, communicating through photos, talking about how artists improve… life in general. The Amazon brings everything back to the basics, lets you focus on your passion, and reminds you how amazing people are. Slowly I see my photos evolving. I can’t wait for the next adventure!
® Frank Baudino
This was my third trip to Iquitos, Pebas, and the Israelites and I was again struck by the generosity and good will of the people we met. The notion of allowing strangers into one’s own home to visit and photograph is a totally alien one to North Americans and Europeans but the people who allowed us to enter their homes and their lives accepted us as honored guests. As Ernesto noted, we must have sometimes appeared as though we were from another planet. I will never forget the visits to the villages up and down the river, the walks down to the village on the banks below Iquitos, as well as the landless people who allowed us to photograph their efforts to build a new life for themselves. Their memories will remain in my heart forever.
Thanks so much to Ernesto and the other students who set a very high bar of photographic excellence and from whom I again learned so much. Abrazos,
® Leonardo Carrato
Third workshop. The expectation couldn’t be higher. I have just been selected as a winner of one of the BPW scholarship and because of that I could choose any place to meet the Maestro again. My mind and heart told me to go to the Amazon where I can finally be able to feel the soul and roots of the native people. Our continent has been suffering since colonization and I wanted to be in touch with the ones, who are still fighting to keep their traditions. I knew it would be a lifetime experience.
I could write about how great the workshop was and how much I’ve learned in the ten days I spent with Ernesto and all the other wonderful students as I did in the two previous courses. But this time I would like to tell everyone who is reading this how magical simple moments can be. Ernesto has a special way to connect with magic and unique moments like no one else, but also to let you be free to search for your own way of being. They don’t force you to pursue the flawless picture or to become the best photographer. They just let you go free and to try to place yourself exactly where you want to be. The workshops are a look inside yourself. They make your existence and desires fluctuate until your mind and soul can connect with your time and moments. Then you start “feeling” everything around you wherever you go.
One of these moments hit me as a lightening and crossed all my body as a laser blade. After sharing all the rivers, the forest, the rain, the boats and the beers with all the other participants of the workshop, I could feel a moment alone that I will never forget. At an instant of perfect light, I was by chance inside a shaman’s house, whose name is Aladdin. The energy went through all my body and I immediately went into a state of trance. I shot what my mind told me to shoot without caring about taking the perfect image. I just let go.
After photographing Aladdin, the bond was so intense that I had to share the images with his family. There were some magical and wonderful moments. They all came to the restaurant to look at the pictures and were so thrilled that they invited me back to their home for a last hug. On the way to their house, his wife was holding their baby, Aladdin was holding hands with his young boy and their young daughter, as by magic, came and slowly held my hand to lead me home. At that moment I was part of the family. I could only feel my heart beating and my legs shaking. Aladdin gave Robert, another student, and I a shaman’s mask each and some necklaces and bracelets as souvenirs. We promised to be back and to walk into to the forest with him like true tigers.
Right now, I’m still “floating” on the Amazon river trying to figure out what all this has meant to me. The only thing I’m sure about is that I want to be back no matter when. Again thank you Ernesto to be the Maestro who makes all that possible. Grande Abraço,
® Nilo Rebecchi
“Just keep the good photos, nothing else. Keeping the mediocre ones will condemn you to mediocrity.” This is what Sergio Larrain wrote in a letter to his nephew who wanted to get involved with photography. Ernesto does not get tired of repeating the same teaching to his students. In my previous three workshops with Ernesto, we never did probe editing in such a thorough way. Not only the daily editing sessions of the pictures taken by each one of us, but also with the personal projects’ photographs that most students brought and some of the many diverse and surprising photographic projects on which Ernesto has been working on and that he shared with all of us. Passionate discussions often arose when we were divided and everyone tried to clarify (primarily to himself) the reasons for his or her choice. “All right, but why?” Ernesto kept repeating.
Through the photographs of my six companions I discovered every day new feelings and new ways of seeing. I was grateful for what they taught me and I’m glad that between us we created a deeper bond of true friendship. First with Calvin, Frank, Sophie (my salvation) and Stan and now with Leonardo and Robert.
The people we met greeted us with extraordinary generosity, even when they were facing extreme material difficulties. We visited a group of families whom to escape the flood that had destroyed their homes had traveled for miles to take refuge in an overgrown field. The owner has denounced the occupation and the police intervened, destroying and burning the temporary shelters they had built. These people did not have anything and they did not know where to go, but none of them was overwhelmed by despair, and with extreme dignity tried, once again, they found a way to re-establish, all together, the threads of their lives.
For all that I could see and learn, as always, I want to thank Ernesto. The stubborn determination to continue following his path is an example to me.
® Robert Musial
When I left Porto (after the photo workshop with Ernesto and Thomas) in October 2014, I could not define what had happened to my way of looking at the surrounding reality and its people. The high impact of these circumstances had to do mostly with Ernesto and his infinite sensibility. I knew then that if I wanted to continue expressing myself in the world of photography it would involve a deeper knowledge of both Ernesto and his way of defining what a good photograph is.
Such an opportunity appeared in June 2015 during a fantastic workshop in Iquitos in the Peruvian amazon. His sensibility combined with his poetic way of looking at the world has, now, caused irreversible changes in my perception of reality. Iquitos and the Peruvian people and the other participants in the workshop have given me great support as well. Passion, sensibility, talent, and humility made spending time with such a teacher an experience, which will deeply remain in my memory. Ernesto thank you for the incredible workshop which “went beyond” all others.
Special thanks to Leo, for your presence and conversation.
® Sophie Peeters
This was my third return to Iquitos and it was even more beautiful then I had imagined.
Not only returning to the magical Amazon but even with 5 of the same fellow photographers from last year, making the whole experience even much more special. But most of all, as all of Ernesto’s workshops, an amazing mix of life sharing, profound conversations, and of course, shooting, editing, discussing… The joy of meeting again with the same people, in these remote villages was really touching.
Such great lessons to be learned, such unforgettable, priceless, time spent together. Going with the flow… yet again…
® Stan Raucher
This was my twelfth workshop with Ernesto, and it hardly seems possible that it’s only been six years since I did my first workshop with him in NYC. As I reflect on all of the wonderful friends I’ve made in his workshops, the amazing adventures we’ve all had together, and the profound influence Ernesto’s workshops have had on both my photography and my life, all I can say is, “Ernesto, muchísima gracias por todo”!