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Photography by Ernesto Bazan
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Group Emotionally Attached

At the very start of our daily trips while we were wondering through the ancient sacred valley with the snow-capped Andes as our backdrop, I asked my students to let me sit in the front seat. I didn’t do it because I wanted a better view of this grand natural spectacle. I explained that I’d get a better view of the touching epiphanies of life that unfold before us. With the tail of my eye I saw another slaughtering of pigs that led to the invitation to the banquet in someone’s house the day of the feast; from this vantage point I did see the women dying their wool with the natural green of the eucalyptus leaves inside big pots spouting smoke, and many other unique situations.

Last year, I had dared to say that this Peruvian workshop had been the best. I’m now asking myself if people would believe me if this year I’ll say that this one has been even far superior. But since I know that I can rely on the beautiful pictures the students have taken along with their comments, I will have the audacity to state it.

The more I teach, the more I get back to the same places, the more I realize the importance of my predicament: we need to return to the same locations, the same situations because not only will they always be different and offer myriad new photographic opportunities, but also because my knowledge of what is there will help me and my students to take better pictures. On my fourth workshop in Peru, I lead my students better than ever to seek very special moments to capture in images. I do feel blessed and I do not take it for granted: I know, deep inside that is meant to be.

Why we named the group Emotionally Attached requires no explanation. WE, the photographers, tend to be this way. I haven’t looked at my work yet and probably I’ll be very emotionally attached to some of them, but looking at the students’ work prompts me to be optimistic about my own images. We shall see! Besides, how can I forget the magic moments that we were given the privilege to daily witness over and over again? I still vividly remember when Luda and I found before our very eyes two little girls licking and chewing respectively a lolly pop and a piece of gum with beautiful, intense expressions on their faces, while in the back a group of hooded dancers were spreading a cloud of incense into the air. How to forget that llama in the right upper corner that kept looking at us as if he were saying, Please take my picture, do not leave me out. Magic simple moments that can make us appreciate life around us.

During the editing session she had four good images to choose from this situation. It was hard to make the final decision, but in the end we made a choice. Please take a look at this very image and judge for yourself. Compared to her images she took during Easter in Sicily workshop this year, her new work has gotten more complex and intimate. She knows and smiles.

I can also say that I’m equally proud of the work that Chad and Giorgio did. At the end of these 10 memorable days, I told them to look at the new work and compare it with the pictures they had brought. Chad has already made a firm commitment to return next year. Giorgio has chosen me as his photographic mentor. In the next six months, he will be taking four more workshops with me and some private editing lessons as well.

Life is never the same and nor will our pictures. Please remember that: ‘it’s one of the best-kept secrets of street photography.

Ernesto Bazan

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