Mud Club Holy Shit Gallery
Cuzco, Peru 2015
® Adrian Gallop
The workshop’s moments that will always stay in my mind: stuck in the mud (twice!) high up in the mountains as the sun was beginning to set, our early morning expresso sessions, listening to the “Hijos del Sol” in the van, the drunken man with one tooth, eating potatoes in the fields and joking with the locals as they collected the harvest, and the strange mix of English, Spanish, Italian and Brazilian that we spoke.
Photographically Ernesto had promised to teach me to see in a new way and he followed through on his promise. Shooting with a fixed lens taught me to move and get closer. The selection and editing sessions raised my standards for what qualifies as a good photo and taught me what to look for in an image. Does the photo go beyond?! I found the whole process more emotionally demanding than I had expected, and learned just how much commitment it takes to take a great shot. In ten days I may not have become the photograher that I wish to be yet, but a door has been opened for me and I know the direction than I must take. Now I need to go away and just work on what I have learned for at least a year. Perhaps then I will be ready for the next workshop.Thank you Ernesto, Andrea, Jordi, Fabio and Lianne. I enjoyed the company of each one of you and learnt from you all.
® Andrea de Francicis
More than a workshop with Ernesto this has been a life experience with a great master of photography. I met Ernesto this year in Naples during his workshop but only as an external visitor and I realized early on that these days in Peru were going to be really intense!
I’m very happy to have participated in this workshop with my friend Jordi Pizarro, with whom we invented the ritual of expresso without which morning editing sessions would not have been the same! And thanks to Adrian, Fabio and Lianne we were able to carry through with this ritual for the entire workshop.
Living in India, Peru seemed a heavenly place! The food is absolutely amazing! Ernesto took us to places where he has been photographing for years: magical villages in the pre-Andes sacred valley, fantastic places of worship, village festivals where syncretism and alcohol creates a really amazing atmosphere. Then we moved on to more than 4000 meters among Alpaca pastures and pristine landscapes reminding us of the great Martin Chambi. Eighty centimeters of mud were able to strengthen our spirit of adventure even if our reliable van was stucked for almost half a day! Because of all of this came the union of our group and our name!
The opportunity to discuss and edit Ernesto’s future books were a unique opportunity to grow visually and photographically. To truly and honestly understand why a picture is good or not, talking about it together and trying to create a unique and personal language represented a great experience for me, considering that I’m trying to become a photographer, and I will try to return next year.
Ernesto is the teacher that I have always looked for and I hope with his help to be able to take my photography to the next level!
Thanks Ernesto and thanks Adrian, Fabio, Jordi and Lianne for the incredible experience. See you all in Iquitos in 2016.
Andrea De Franciscis
® Fabio Erdos
This was my first Ernesto workshop and I can’t describe how amazing and inspiring it was spending these days with the generous Ernesto and with the others students. I can’t fully understand yet, just a few days after the workshop is over, how much I learned and how much I improved my photography and especially how much I learned on how to interpret and see photographs from now on. It was a truly intense and unbelievable learning experience.
It’s impossible not to get inspired when you first meet Ernesto. His passion for photography, how he literally followed his dream when he was younger, and his passion for the people and the stories he finds in his path. Really amazing to see that after 15 years coming here to the Sacred Valley he still has the same (or more) energy and motivation than us: the group of students that were visiting the place and seeing this incredible people and culture for the first time.
The group: Lianne, Andrea, Adrian, Jordi, Ernesto and I built a great energy together, and our connection and solidarity was challenged when we got stuck in the mud, not once, but twice. But nothing stopped us from having fun and seeing the obstacles in a positive way! And as Adrian said: “it happened for a reason”, and it did indeed. We ended up seeing one of the most beautiful sunset and light of the whole week!
I also loved the way Ernesto guided the workshop and arranged the agenda. We had a great variety of place and moments from little villages that appeared to have stopped at Inca times to a whole day in the middle of a big festa with the locals. Amazing! The days passed in a very organic and candid way, wherever we saw something interesting we would just change our plans and experience what the new path would bring us.
Thank you so much Ernesto to give this opportunity to share your life, your passion, energy and inspire all of us with your photography and your path in life. It’s amazing to see you living the days with such energy and passion that truly inspire us in a very deep way.
Finally, this was a truly great and unforgettable experience for me that I hope to be able to do again in the near future!!
Um forte abraço
® Jordi Pizarro
Letter to Ernesto Bazan;
I met Ernesto when I was 22-year-old, roughly the same amount of years that it has taken him to complete his first book Bazan Cuba. For me this book was a love at first sight. I was totally fascinated by these pictures, with those impossible compositions where it seemed that everything was in the right place at the right time, where everything was put there before him like a perfect painting as if by magic. I bought your book and asked you to write me something: “To a photographer who has yet to open his wings and learn how to fly” was the hardest and raw dedication that someone had ever written to me. It has taken me several years to really digest it.
About three years ago I decided to break away from my environment: I left my work at the newspaper that I had dreamed about for so long and closed my photo wedding company. I did what I should have done before: I followed what my heart told me.
Last year I was told that I had won a scholarship to study with Ernesto. For me it has been an emotional moment at a personal level, and besides the fact that I could travel and study with him, it was moving to know that he was the one who made me react at that point in my life in which I was looking for something despite not knowing what it was yet. Ernesto helped me remove the spider web from over my eyes.
I just came back from the workshop “personal journey” through the sacred valley in Peru and am back in Delhi. I intend to write these few lines as a thank you note for this emotional journey.
About these days I could write about many wonderful things of what we did and lived together, but many are too obvious, too technical. I will not bore you with what you already know. To be totally honest with you to say that a workshop with Ernesto Bazan is not just a workshop where you learn to edit, compose, to be demanding with yourself (although it’s about all of the above) but it also goes beyond all that because for me Ernesto teaches you to understand that a good photographic project needs to be slowly cooked, that patience is more important than being in a rush, that it’s hard work, that to make a good photo, of those that remain in your memory, it might take days, weeks or even months … and to make a good project you will need many images like these. Ernesto conveys the illusion of a child when he goes out with his cameras to photograph with you, he helps you reconcile yourself with the magic of photography, he shows you that where you think nothing happens something does happen, you learn to look again, which is not the same as seeing.
Ernesto is one of those romantics who has not converted to digital, he loves the smell of chemicals and he continues to shoot with tri-x. When he shows you one of his silver-gelatin prints you understand why.
My sincere congratulations for your work, for your way of being, for sharing with your students your future books, for wanting to teach all you know, for building this very nice group of people that you are creating. Keep it up Ernesto! You’re a source of inspiration for many of us. Good luck!
® Lianne Milton
This was the perfect opportunity to slow down and reconnect with photography. Now if I can only remember this motto back in the real world! Ernesto’s workshop in Cusco and the Sacred Valley is one that I will never forget: from sharing a potato lunch cooked in the ground with harvesters to breathtaking drives through the mystical mountains of the Sacred Valley, climbing up a peak to 5000 meters, and getting stuck in the mud, not once, but twice! I’m so happy to have had this magical experience as we journeyed on a photographic exploration of the Andes – high on altitude, espresso and coca leaves – in the footsteps of el maestro Ernesto Bazan. Thank you for including us on this journey into your world, Ernesto!