Photography by Ernesto Bazan
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Playing it by Ear

I remember not having a moment of hesitation when I was hearing the sad news about Oaxaca. I had a gut feeling that I had to follow my instinct: the Day of the Dead workshop had to be done no matter what.

All our plans had to be constantly changed to adapt to the volatile situation that the city was experiencing. Although I had promised to myself and to the students to stay away from troubles, we found ourselves pulled in during the violent confrontation between the Appo movement and the federal police force that was sent in to retake control of the city’s center. We took pictures of the Zocalo that had been turned by the protesters into an encampment filled with graffiti and leftist icons including Marx and Lenin. I felt that time had been stopped. A few days later with the police intervention the plaza took a totally different look. Gone were the posters requesting the governor’s resignation, the burned out car and trucks that had become such a common sight all over the city. As I had imagined, when the Day of the Dead celebration got under way as if by magic the city and is people forgot the confrontation. I remember walking in the central market with my friend Juan. We kept saying toe ach other: “Life has come back to normal’” Both of us were so happy to see the bustling exciting daily life of the market flowing everywhere around us. Juan was feeling elated for the deep love that he has a bout his country; I was feeling privileged to have chosen Mexico as our new home. The celebrations were as touching and intimate as always The images taken by the students convey the incredible, unique experience we were allowed to live.

One last thing that I want to add is that after the amazing and generous help received by all my students in the Peruvian workshop during the editing of my first dummy on the project on The Special Period, I was so pleasantly surprised to see how the students of this workshop were so generous and gracious with their suggestion on how to improve the book. One of them in particular, a very distinguished photo editor for one of the leading photographic publishing houses from England, was then icing on the cake with her insightful and sincere comments. I take this occasion to thank of all of you again.

Ernesto Bazan

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