Photography by Ernesto Bazan
  english | español | italiano
Group Chance Encounters NY
Chance Encounters NY Gallery

The Chance Encounters group has been a unique combination of learning, being exposed to many interesting aspects of photography and above all a great gathering of friends and students, past and present.

From the very start, the night of the welcome dinner at my house, some very good photographer friends shared their beautiful work from the streets of New York and Cuba. Another night, another friend and well known collector told my students about his own personal way of collecting photographs, how he started, why and a myriad more interesting stories.

Angie came all the way from Texas to be my assistant; Justin came fro England to simply hang out. Kevin came from Pittsburgh to bring the freshly printed little books of the groups Transcending Reality and Ramoncito and Where Are All the People?. From Oregon, John sent the books of the groups Cuzqueña and Mercy of the Moment. Garry showed the lay out of the upcoming book Stray Dog and so did Barbara of the book Secondary Elements. I was so pleased and impressed by the high quality of each one of them. I remember even shading some tears in the subway as leafing through the Transcending Reality book I stumbled upon some of the moving comments that without my knowledge, Kevin had gathered from all the participants.

Our beloved Beths (the first a former student and the latter a student) had the whole class plus friends come over for two fabulous dinners, one even on the roof top a building with a sweeping view of the city. Barbara and Daniela made a beautiful digital presentation of their personal work to a roaring crowd. Friday night the class and many, many friends showed up at the opening of my first digitally printed exhibition at the Italian Academy at Colombia University. I had the pleasure to give away many copies of the beautifully printed catalogues and posters. Marcello, inspired by all the good work seen during our galleries tour, decided to buy one of my large prints from Cuba and start his own collection.

In the midst of all these happenings the eleven students (including the largest contingent of Italians ever with five) managed to search for special moments on the vibrant New York City streets to photograph. We edited painstakingly each day all the rolls shot by each student, had improvised lunches in the terrace and great dinners together. Why the name Chance Encounters? Because in a huge city like New York we kept running into each other all over the city, even in a darkroom. Only in New York. To be repeated.


My experience in Ernesto’s workshop in New York was both unexpected and deeply satisfying for me in my growth as a photographer. It wasn’t just about training my eye to see the story on the street - it was about learning to see, understand, and validate the bones of a photograph and my own work. I feel like I’m light years ahead of where I was before I took his workshop, and without question I would do it again.

Alexandra Cosentino

Copyright © 1973-2013 All photographs and content by Ernesto Bazan. All rights reserved.