Estoy Llorando Gallery
Cuzco, Peru 2017
® Alessandro Cinque
The “Intimate Journey in Cuzco, Peru” was first Ernesto Bazan’s workshop I attended; it had been one of my dream for many years and finally in May 2017 I made it happen.
It was a true life experience that taught me new perspectives on how to catch reality, a different approach form the one I was used to. There were many other great photographers with me and I was enriched by talking with them and comparing our views.
Every day, in fact, we had a moment to discuss about the pictures we shot the day before and thank to Ernesto’s critiques we learnt how to take photos that “go beyond” the traditional vision of the world. His teaching was very precious for me and this includes all the different parts that make up a photographer. His teaching has deeply influenced me and my way of working.
One of the things I mostly appreciated is his ability of telling stories and in choosing the best picture to include in a story, in addition, of course, to his totally astonishing ability in catch the reality inside the picture and in offering it in a perfect and harmonic composition.
We spent amazing days submerged into the landscape of the Sacred Valley, we hiked mountains and had wonderful walks. During our days we took pictures and developed our ongoing projects helped by sharing the images among us and then listening Ernesto’s comments.
For me the experience has also been very interesting because it taught me a new way to schedule my life, being more in touch with nature and its rhythm; I’m not the same since I came back. I deeply felt the spirituality of the place, the contact with main elements of nature and I re-discovered their primary importance, especially in relation with people living in the villages.
I miss the days we spent together and I thank Ernesto Bazan for making me discover a new way of taking pictures, what I think it is the true and proper one. Ernesto is a great photographer and I’m glad to be one of his friend now.
® Calvin Chen
It can take Ernesto months, perhaps years, to look at photos he has taken. Shooting with film, part of it is logistical. But part of it is the belief that time is essential to separate yourself from the moment. Time and patience are what is required to bring clarity.
As months have passed since my last Peruvian workshop, and years have passed since my first workshop with Ernesto, one thing that has become clearer to me. I am more spiritual.
How can one not feel spiritual walking amongst shepherds in lands that have been untouched by time? How can one not feel spiritual observing the hands of those working the salt mines? How can one not feel spiritual entering strangers homes and being offered their food?
And how can one not become spiritual, when the goal each day is to take a photo that “goes beyond”? That goal can only be accomplished with the unflinching faith that there IS …something beyond.
And so it has become a spiritual journey with companions that I am blessed to call friends. A journey that only becomes richer and deeper as time passes…
® Chad Anderson
Sitting in the Lima airport with a 5 hour layover, Pink Floyd (The Wall), and un plato de Aji de Gallina. Just finished another ten days of magic in the highlands of Peru. I am drawn to this sacred valley. To this people. I stand in front of an open door and say simply: “Ola, may I come in?” Not once am I turned away. They know I am there to take photographs, an act of intrusion, and yet they let me in anyway. They have little but offer it to me anyway. It’s the same in the fields or with the flocks in the mountain. As a Norte Americano I have a wall, these people simply do not.
I don’t think if these trips with Ernesto as vacation but almost as work. Not in the sense of drudgery but rather an effort that leads to a sense of accomplishment. Five or six photos result, which convey the beauty of daily life in these mountains and valleys. A few photographs revealing a life disappearing into modernity. They are precious to me.
® Eizabeth Desmarais
For years I’ve heard great things about Ernesto Bazan’s workshops. This year I finally had the opportunity to join him in Cusco Peru, it surpassed all of my expectations!
He brought us to some amazing places. The people within the various villages we visited welcomed us into their homes allowing us to photograph their everyday lives. Ernesto brought me out of my comfort zone and the daily critiques from him were extremely constructive and invaluable.
I would also like to acknowledge my fellow students even though most of them had worked with each other and Ernesto before; they were very supportive and inclusive.
Thank you for this awe-inspiring experience and I can’t wait to work with Ernesto again in the future.
® Linda Hollinger
This was my fourth workshop with Ernesto and my first time in Cusco Peru and the Scared Valley. The majestic mountains and stunning landscapes far exceeded my expectations. It was truly a magical and spiritual workshop, not only teaching photography but about life and pushing its boundaries.
Thank you Ernesto for your tireless energy in the organization of your many workshops throughout the year and for sharing with your students the amazing destinations you have been returning to and photographing year after year. Thank you for your guidance, wisdom and inspiration.
It was great to see familiar faces and meet new students. Thank you Calvin, Sandra, Monica, Elizabeth, Milton, Chad, Massimo and Alessandro. I enjoyed the time I spent with you and I learned a great deal from all of you! Looking forward to the next workshop!
® Massimo Bortolan
I wanted to put some time between the end of the workshop, and these words, just to try to be less “compromised” by emotions. Well, first thing I want to say, is that I couldn’t be happier about this photographic and life experience. In this workshop, my first, it’s been like living in a dream, very far from my daily life. I almost entered a parallel dimension, where many different emotions have been gathered: morning stress, like being at the university, where we had to share our pictures from the previous day, hoping for a good review, some disappointment for the wrong pic, or great joy for the very few ones; and then enchanting and strenuous days in remote valleys and small unknown towns, together with the other students, and then the lovely people living in those towns.
Under photographic perspective, there’s a big growing. All of us, regardless of the level or number of workshops taken with Ernesto, have grown, because every day we severely tried to reach the excellence, the “quintessence”, the pure emotions, returning to pureness of photography, without trying to amaze at all costs. Many failures, and some few miracle. Yep, I learned that a great picture is always a miracle, a gift we receive, more than a result of a good intuition, of a good eye or a perfect camera setting. But we can learn how to “reach” and foster that miracle, avoiding too aware look, or the many disturbing elements we may find (hateful baseball hats, or watches, or too colorful or distracting shirts!), how to wait or me more reactive or receptive, and look for the simplicity.
Every day, in many occasions, I wasn’t doing any good pictures, and sometimes I felt disappointed. But then you learn how wonderful this world actually is, so good to donate you a gift and a surprise around every corner, a situation that can change any time, especially if you’re not waiting for that. I understood that I’ll keep doing wrong and bad pictures (but even Cartier Bresson, or Webb, or even Ernesto do bad pictures, so keep on trying!), but I also learned how to better understand when a picture really works and why, or when something is destroying my picture, and so trying to remove that part from the frame, since the pressure of the camera shutter. And there still so much to learn! Being aware of such things makes the whole difference in photographic world, at least to me.
Nevertheless, the photographic part is (ok, I’m overstating it), just an excuse. Yes Sir, because those 10 days have been unforgettable for the mood that Ernesto is able to create inside the group. We lived together, with lovely persons, all with their stories, joys and troubles, we talked, and had funny moments with LOL, we ate (very good), and took pictures together, giving comments and advices each other, we helped and shared food (and camera!), creating a sort of real family. And then, very important and precious, we got in touch with local people, astonishing and hospitable, benevolent, modest but proud and dignified, so unique.
At the end, I feel that every student that approaches the workshop with the right attitude, humility, determination and enthusiasm, at the end really wants to come back. That was it for me.
Big Thanks (alphabetic order!) to Alessandro, Beth, Calvin, Chad, Linda, Milton, Monica, Sandra, and thanks lovely Sissy, thinking about our experience together make me really cry, “estoy llorando! Miss you!
Ernesto, a giant and special GRAZIE to you, for what has been (I told you in person already) one of the better and greatest experience in my live. Thanks for what you taught and passed down to me.
® Milton Zambrana
Another fantastic workshop among mountains and humility. Photography drops out of sight at times and just “Being” roars to the front of the line. Being amongst friends, Being in a place where so much has gone on, Being humble, and Being vulnerable. Yes, photography gets better during the tough morning edit sessions and by the end only essential images have survived. Learning to let life take you by the hand and lead you to something new, something ephemeral, and something poetic that will have a life inside you for a very long time is the main exercise here. Diverse individuals who arrive with varied experiences brew the magic. I am thankful for each and every one of my travelling companions, for Ernesto, Sissy and for having the opportunity to see magic happen yet again. Estoy Llorando.
® Monica Jimenez
® Sandra Pereznieto
Going back to the Sacred Valley, walking those breathtaking Quechua mountains, felling the Pacha Mama welcoming our steps, guiding our way into a land of ancient Incas, feels like a line from a dream, one very close to my heart.
Our journey in search of the poetry in every day’s life, the way each and every one of us struggles to go beyond, trying to touch with our souls what’s really important; the simplicity of a soulful community and their heritage that has been admired throughout centuries, one that we seek to reveal with our images, and hopefully, with our hearts. And as hard as it is to be successful in our attempt to grasp what’s really there, behind the mask of the ordinary, Ernesto is always the magician that leads the way into a magical place. His honest and exigent teachings open our eyes to what becomes poetry in an image, or what fails to do so. But furthermore, he opens our souls and encourages us all to connect to this land and its people, to the beauty of their simplest lives, to a community worth admiring and, overall, to the goodness of human life and soul.
Walking together we feel like an extended family, with all the laughing, the emotions shared, the crying that can catch us in between one image and the next, finding, little by little, images that might stay with us for a long time, and friendships that will fill our hearts as long as we can open our arms to an honest, long, warm hug, and enjoy the common passion for photography. And even though we all know that only a few of those images will last for a lifetime, the journey to get closer to revealing what really touches our souls, is worth the ride.
So once again I go back home, exhausted and satisfied with the hard work done, and touched by the warmth of my dear friends: Calvin, with his silent walk, always an honour to share joys and struggles, and to learn from him and his images, a man with such an incredible gift to find poetry in every snap, and a good honest friend; Ernesto, a true friend and a mentor, to have the privilege of seeing the first copy of “Before you grow up” come to light, a soulful book that has been conceived before our own eyes and to feel a tiny and mighty part of it all in these pages, a book devoted to love and photography. Walking with Ernesto, not only through his beloved Quechua land, but also through life and photography, is already a joy in itself. And it’s also a good excuse to see good friends like Monica and Chad, with whom I have enjoyed many workshops together by now, and to share the hardness and the struggles as well as the excitement of a good image, and to feel that we grow together thanks to each other’s images and friendship. And to meet other friends again such as Linda, Milton, and walk the same path together, and enjoy the vital energy of new friends like Massimo, Alessandro, and Beth. It all makes us feel like a big family, that makes sense, and speaks about companionship, love for photography, honesty and love. I will miss you all until next time.