Photography by Ernesto Bazan
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Group Inflamable Lama Peru

This year we started my sixth Cuzco workshop a day earlier in order to photograph a unique dancing celebration taking place inside a cemetery. Last year, someone had just mentioned that to me. I felt intrigued by it and also appalled that after having been there for 5 years in a row, I had never heard about it before. It was totally well worth it. I remember the students were so happy that we had started the course in such a way. But as the days unfolded, each one had some special moments in store. We were invited to a baptism, become godfathers and godmothers to two lovely kids and got to cut a wisp of their hair as part of the tradition. A day or two later it was time to photograph many teenagers taking first communion, then we got invited to a fantastic wedding in a rural communities way up in the Andes, not to mention the incredible processions we were photographing almost on a daily basis.

Every day we counted our blessings and didnít take for granted what our eyes and cameras had been exposed to.

We took the last images of our workshop inside another humble and beautiful cemetery. Some gravediggers were unearthing some bones and skulls to make room for new comers. One of them picked up a skull and held it up to his face as a joke. We quietly worked around him. A passing dog went by a heap of bones in search of food. I took a few images of that.

Last year, at the same cemetery we had photographed a harrowing funeral of a man who had died suddenly leaving a large family behind. I remembered how to get to his house and went back to just help out the family a bit. The widow was out, but I was received by two of her kids. The older daughter whom I had seen desperately crying at her fatherís grave was now smiling at me. She hugged me and said thank you daddy. It all flowed so naturally. I felt that this was a good enough reason to be there. I walked my way back to the car. We drove off and an old lady was slowing moving up a hill. The sky was overburdened with menacing clouds. She stopped when she saw the car. The students sitting in the back started shooting her from the inside. What a spectacle! After posing in the distance for us for a few seconds, she resumed her walk in search of her flock.

I take nothing as simple coincidences. I knew each moment was meant to be, part of a grander plan of which we just get to see bits and pieces at times. Some of the studentsí work produced by this group ranks among some of the best that Iíve seen in these years. I think you will enjoy looking at the images.

Ernesto Bazan

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