I've just completed the second Candomblè workshop here in Salvador. I've learned quite a bit from my students and from life in general.
This last course of this year that is about to end has been the confirmation that my teaching is a mission; that each student doesn't come by chance or simply because they want to study photography. They show up for inner reasons difficult to rationally explain. Everyday it becomes clearer to me.
We all felt a very special bond among ourselves. Israel's reassuring and protecting presence made it even more special and meaningful.
Cynthia, Santiago and Sebastian knew from the very start that they had come to study to bring their images to the next level, going well beyond their and even my own expectations.
The entire workshop was pervaded with a strong spiritual sense that we all felt as the days unfolded. The constant blessing that we received was never taken for granted by my students and I. The amazing religious celebrations that we had the privilege to see and photograph were simply the confirmation of that.
The children in the former landless camp, the fishermen and all the people we encountered opened their life to us in a very generous, moving way. At times, the students looked at me in complete disbelief as amazing moments were unfolding before our eyes. The name of the group comes from a small Batman mask that Robert, an 8-year-old boy shared with all his friends. As the pictures show the children simply made magic for all of us in their improvised games. We did our part by being generous with candies, cookies and lots of images that made their total happiness. We all felt it was the perfect coming together of gentle souls.
What I also find entirely fascinating is that in each workshop the students' work keeps getting better. I've talked about it with the students and I've asked myself the reason why. I'm not sure what to say, but I feel that is almost uncanny that I've chosen almost 30 images by a 24 year-old young man who had been dreaming to study with me for many years. Some of of you know how tough my editing sessions are. It was a great gift both forme and Sebas. We both know that it doesn't happen every day. Cynthia and Santiago's images were also special. The encouragement that their maestro shared with them everyday was beautifully assimilated in their images. I felt that each one of them grew in his or her own way. The results are on line. As always, you can judge for yourself. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you all.