BazanPhotos
Photography by Ernesto Bazan
  english | español | italiano
Transcending Reality

Six students, five of which had already studied with me in the past including Frank and Willard whom had taken five workshops each in the last two years. To thank Frank and Willard for their support, I gave both a print of mine as a token of appreciation for their confidence in me.

Wendy and Maureen were at their second experience and Kevin was attending his third workshop after Santa Fe and Oaxaca. Berndt , coming all the way from Austria, was the only one that I was meeting for the first time.

Due to the talent that each of one of them possed, I knew from the very start that the group had the potential to do extremely well.

The six days spent in the countryside were very intense and unforgettable. Every night Wendy would show us the unedited images taken with her digital cameras. Looking at her images it was a source of inspiration for the rest of the class. Through her photographs we could try to understand what to expect from our own takes, what might have been a good shooting situation and what we had done wrong.

The last day of editing was a real treat. Each of one of them did so well that for the first time in the history of my workshops, I’ve decide to select eight images by each student both for the web-page gallery and the book that Kevin is working on and that soon will be published with their exceptional photography.

The workshop was a confirmation that photographic growth is slow and needs time and dedication. Only by committing to study for long period of times you can come up with images that manage to transcend reality. From this simple but profound concept we came up with the name of the group.

The pictures are so compelling and complex that I wished I had taken some of them myself. Probably the best compliment a teacher can give to his students. Look at the images and you will understand why.

Ernesto Bazan






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Frank Baudino

This was my second trip to Cuba and I feel that I grew closer to the Cuban people. I was again struck by the warmth and generosity of Cubans. Often I would wander into the homes and lives of perfect strangers and I would be offered food, coffee, and conversation. The Cubans’ lives center on love for their families and for their land. This love seems to overflow and touch all who visit them. I will never forget these people who welcomed me into their lives. My life has been enriched again by my trip to Cuba.

Frank Baudino






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Maureen Beitler

What can be said about Cuba that has not already been said by many? My experience there was brief, but intense. The generosity of spirit by those with so little was unending. I met strangers who let me into their lives and shared what they had with me, even if it was only their thoughts. It is a beautiful magical place and I think one could find whatever one was looking for there. For me, I found people who became friends, if for only a moment or an afternoon. The workshop with Ernesto was also like visiting with a friend...taking pictures, talking about photography, having a meal. It allowed us to access a more intimate experience more quickly. I think one cannot visit Cuba without being changed, at least in some small way. Cuba, for me, was a trip inside…inside peoples homes, lives, thoughts, and myself. Ernesto says that as photographers we are all looking for our lost childhood in some way. That statement had a profound effect on me as I realized that for years I have been looking for lost moments from my family and experiences of growing up in a large extended family who had very little sometimes, except for laughter, stories and a connection to each other. I found some of that in Cuba.

Maureen Beitler






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Wendy Chang






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard






Transcending Reality

© Pate Willard

In 2001 when I enrolled in the very first workshop that Ernesto taught in Cuba, I had no idea what to expect – either from Ernesto or Cuba. The fact that the images included here are from my fourth Ernesto/Cuba experience attest to my having had a marvelous first trip. Quite frankly, curiosity about the “forbidden island,” just ninety miles off the coast of Florida, motivated me to send in my deposit the first year. Though I hoped to come home with one or two decent images that I could show, photography was less an end and more a means to visit an exotic spot that was, so to speak, somewhat “off limits.” Three years later I continue to travel to Cuba because I’ve fallen in love with the people and the landscape. I know of no place in the world more beautiful than the valley of Viñales, and I know of no people in the world more beautiful than the people who live there. I continue to travel to Cuba also because Ernesto’s workshops are challenging and rewarding. As an instructor, Ernesto has helped me grow as a photographer. His precepts – too aware, secondary elements, transcend reality – in addition to having been adopted as names for some of his groups, have become part of my photographic vision. I feel, to use another of Ernesto’s terms, that “the goddess of photography” smiled on me when I met up with him as an instructor.

In addition, I cherish the experiences shared with other photographers who enroll in Ernesto’s workshops. We are usually of different ages and come from different professions and different countries, but we share a love of photography that we communicate through our images even when we are unable to speak the same verbal language.

Hopefully, I will be be able to work with Ernesto in Cuba for many workshops to come.

Willard Pate






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Kevin Sweeney

Time stopped in Cuba several decades ago. There are so many remnants of the past permeating Cuban life that it seems untouched by the present. Yet it is a place of warmth and comradeship. Cubans have little in terms of possessions, but they have an abundant spirit for living. No matter what the future might bring Cubans will keep living life. They will work, play, wait and wonder. When the present catches up with the island we will certainly long for a time that has passed.

My third workshop with Ernesto proved to be my most rewarding, both personally and creatively. I enjoyed the conversation and hospitality of many wonderful Cubans who opened their lives to me. Ernesto organizes his workshops to provide guidance as well as time to explore and experiment. He won’t tell you how to take the perfect photograph, but instead how to approach a situation on your own, and use your own vision to capture the moment. Besides my memories and images, I always finish one of Ernesto’s workshops feeling better prepared for my next adventure.

Kevin Sweeney






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider






Transcending Reality

© Berndt Wandschneider

Assuming that Ernesto’s Cuba workshops are all the same, I read the detailed program AFTER booking the workshop and was slightly shocked to find out that I would spend 6 days in Viñales and only 4 days in Havana. Having lived in cities all my life, I generally prefer photographing “exciting city life” to “boring countryside”. Besides, my almost non-existent Spanish was limited to very few phrases. However, Kevin was of great help at our casa particular and Frank even introduced me to some “Spanish for photographers”, for example: ¿Señor/a, puedo tirar una foto por favor? This turned out to be a very useful phrase! Spoken with my strange accent it almost guaranteed puzzled looks - spontaneous, self-revealing expressions which we photographers appreciate so much. Looking back, I just loved the countryside and was fascinated by all the incredible people we met and the situations we encountered. After the workshop I spent a further two weeks traveling in Cuba and for me it is one of the most interesting countries I have ever visited. A real photographer’s paradise.

Berndt Wandschneider, born 1962. High school teacher in English and history. Lives in Vienna, Austria.





Please note that the copyright of all the images appearing in the students gallery belongs to each individual photographer. No photograph can be reproduced without the author consent.

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