Virgin of Guadalupe Gallery
Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico 2018
® Ana Livingston
® Anthony Delgado
Days are cold in the mountains at that time of year, nights are colder. At the 10,000 foot elevation the air is thinner, one adjusts, but the first day breathing is short and quick. Expected at my age, but even the young Spanish photographers we gave a lift to were short of breath.
But the pure light just after sunrise, pouring through the trees – then the volcano Popocatepetl in brilliant clarity as the pilgrims passed by us made the discomforts fade.
Location and timing – right place-right time or wrong place-wrong time? In my case, seeing the black cloud puff out of the volcano’s peak while I photographed, and hearing the rumble of the explosion followed by an enormous mushroom cloud forming above it sent a chill through me – but at my location, miles from the volcano it became a unique photographic opportunity.
The small towns and villages we visited before the mountains had the feel of time stopped, not completely of course, there were cell phones, and internet and LED Christmas lights, these and other modernity have found their way to remote places – but others, not so much. It was a different world than the one I live in, but one adapts quickly to the duality of it.
The crowds of pilgrims at the mountain pass gave some small preparation for shooting in Mexico City. Just multiply by 100 the crowd size and visual chaos to have a sense of what the scene is around the Basilica of Guadalupe. Finding a clean isolated shot is difficult, a working wide shot near impossible. As I was advised, and with the benefit of hindsight, 50mm or longer, close – or be prepared to crop your images ruthlessly.
Nonetheless, photographic difficulties aside, Mexico City are a wonderfully dense multi-layered city. I barely had time to scratch the surface of it. I managed to see about one third of the museums and art I had hoped to, and passed through a few of the colonias. It just leaves more to discover on my next visit.
Did I mention the food? Tacos al Pastor just about everywhere – all the time. Tacos de Chicharron, Carnitas, and Pulpo among others, roasted Chickens, Chilaquiles, Enchiladas, various quesadillas, a salad of papas, Cemitas, trouts a la Plancha, Pozole, excellent Margherita pizza, grilled Robalo – and freshly squeezed orange juice everywhere, all the time. The best Pan Dulce I have ever eaten, just warm off the cooling racks outside the bakery.
Photography is easy – just look through the little hole and press the button, right? Sometimes, (rarely) a quick grab results in a good photo. More often, the opportunity is so brief, or there are so many distracting elements, or you work a situation with little result, or there is the user error and technical difficulties, – whatever skill I bring needs to be accompanied by a bit of luck. Then comes the harder part, which of these dear ones is in fact a good photograph, a quintessential image – which is destined to live a bit longer, which doesn’t fall among the dead ones, las difuntas. In the tragedy of editing, so few survive.
In addition the unique opportunities the workshop brought to me, I found the honesty and sound visual reasoning, which Ernesto brings to the editing process of great value and a teaching for which I remain grateful.
And I almost forget Gosha my shooting companion and lunch partner. May you overcome the technical difficulties and continue to make the wonderful photos you took. Anthony Delgado
® Carlotta Boettcher
® Malgorzata Niemczyk
I would like to come back to these days.
The workshop with Ernesto Bazan has been a valuable photographic experience, but also an incredible adventure. Thanks to Ernesto, I met wonderful people and visited amazing places.
This was my first trip to magical Mexico and I hope I will go there again soon. It was great to discuss about photography, give and get feedback. Together, in search for individual photographic style. During the workshop, we photographed in different cities; villages and we also spent some time with nature. It was exciting. Of course, we also had good local food. Mexico is a colorful country full of faith and beauty. I feel honored that I was able to take pictures there. I felt the warmth in my heart when I was taking photos of people and the surrounding space. It was a spiritual experience. Thanks to that, I fell in love with Mexico. Malgorzata Niemczyk