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Photography by Ernesto Bazan
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Secondary Elements

I’ve returned to Sicily for the second year in a row to teach the Easter workshop. This year 12 students participated in the course. A reassuring feeling was that eight of them had already studied with me before. Most of them were Americans, two British, two from Ecuador and like last year, I got one Italian student ,Alessandro.

During the portfolios’ review I had to be particularly tough with him. His images were pretty boring and flat, the classical stereotypes that most amateurs take when they visit a foreign land. I took them apart; I destroyed them in a gentle but firm way. I knew that I needed to be totally honest with him in order to help him grow.

The next day when I started editing the first batch of rolls taken on Palm Sunday, all the other students and I were so surprised to see a couple of wonderful pictures that Alessandro had taken. What a big leap. I was pleased and attributed that to what I like to call the beginner’s luck. As the workshop progressed, Alessandro kept surprising all of us with new moving, strong photos. At every editing session there were big expectations on the part of the whole group to see what Alessandro had accomplished that day. I believe that the simple reason behind his tremendous growth has to do with his profound sensibility and ability to humbly listen to my advises. At the end of the workshop he confessed to me that after my initial critique the very first day, he felt so miserable that he wanted to leave the workshop the next day. I’m glad that he didn’t and so was he.

I think the most beautiful part of this new workshop in my native island has been the wonderful commitment that each student put in. The level of photography was simply excellent. Dotty shooting only a few rolls a day took some very touching photographs and so did Linda proving that taking many rolls is not the answer to come up with unique and revealing images.

Beth and Jenny took their work to a higher level becoming the most demanding critics of their own images. Barbara with her unique shooting approach took some very complex, multi layered images that we all looked in awe. Rita and Justin whom along with Claire (she used a digital camera) were the only ones shooting color took full advantages of the vibrant hues of Sicilian daily life and came up with subtle and unique photographs.

Richard simply continued to use his quirky way of looking at reality and applied it marvelously to his Sicilian subjects.

Last but not least, the talented Ecuadorian chicas did very well. Their photographs resonated with the pathos and strong emotions that we all felt shooting the processions.

As a teacher watching my students grow is probably the most rewarding aspect of my profession. All their images remain vividly present in my visual memories.

Pretty soon Barbara will create small little books of this unforgettable experience.

But the workshop was much more than that. The bonds that students created among themselves were the confirmation that makes the workshops more that a simple photographic gathering.

Why did we choose this name for the group? As a reminder that in good picture-taking the prominent interesting elements that represent the main bone structure of a good image always have to go hand in hand with those tiny almost invisible details without which any given image would simply be ok. Look for them in all their images. You will find plenty.

I end this intro with something that Daniela told me at the end of the workshop: ”The two most beautiful things I’ve done in my life are swimming with seals in the Galapagos Islands and attending this workshop.”

Ernesto Bazan






Secondary Element

© Alessandro Franzetti






Secondary Element

© Alessandro Franzetti






Secondary Element

© Jenny Hamilton






Secondary Element

© Jenny Hamilton






Secondary Element

© Beth Kent






Secondary Element

© Beth Kent






Secondary Element

© Florencia Luna






Secondary Element

© Florencia Luna






Secondary Element

© Daniela Merino






Secondary Element

© Daniela Merino






Secondary Element

© Justin Partyka






Secondary Element

© Justin Partyka






Secondary Element

© Barbara Peackock






Secondary Element

© Barbara Peackock






Secondary Element

© Rita Pignato






Secondary Element

© Rita Pignato






Secondary Element

© Dorothy Stigi






Secondary Element

© Dorothy Stigi






Secondary Element

© Linda Wolf






Secondary Element

© Linda Wolf






Secondary Element

© Richard Wood






Secondary Element

© Richard Wood






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