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Photography by Ernesto Bazan
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Caju

I return to Salvador after four months. A new encounter with Iansā' - Saint Barbara. We follow the Candomblč' procession that unfolds along the narrow alleys in Pelourinho. We get lost in the crowd that accompanies in silence and devotion. I explain to my seven students not to be fooled by the music and the colors; I suggest to concentrate on the photographic instants that come to surface and almost simultaneously disappear. The statue of the saint makes its usual stop at the firemen engine station. The entrance is almost immediately closed to the majority of devotees. I manage to go past along with some bahiana that show off their lavish attires. All of a sudden, one of them goes into a trance and begins to spin vertiginously until loosing control and falling onto the ground. I take pictures of her as I cry for the powerful emotion that this epiphany has kindled within me. Iansā' has revealed herself with all her sweetness and with all her strength. I feel privileged to have lived and felt this moment although, most likely, the images will be a total disaster. The important thing, I always tell my students, is to be able to palpate this spiritual sensation that pervades the celebration. The procession goes back out on the street among the firemen' sirens who shower the crowd with their water pumps to alleviate the heat. Rivers of beer flow and mingle with the smoke of barbecued meat. I lead my students into a dancing hall from another time to continue to celebrate dancing to the beat of afro Brazilian music played by an old band on stage. Some of my students are already happily dancing with some indescribable partners. We hang out in this very Bahian atmosphere for hours. The workshop continues for another nine days in and out of Salvador. We visit my friend at the ex-chocolate factory, the children of the sem terra camp, the fishermen. The people and the places are always the same, but the opportunities change. At each new visit, I understand even more the intrinsic beauty of life and I share it with my students. We spend unforgettable days alternating long and severe editing session with very special shooting time. As always, we eliminate most of the images taken. I try to explain that this is what street photography is all about. I know that I might sound boring by saying that I feel proud of my students' photographs, but you need to take a good look at them to understand what Baron, Birgit, Jean, Kerim, Liz, Margit and Umit have been able to tell with their pictures simultaneously conveying their emotions and the ones of their subjects. Please do take a look at them and, perhaps, you will understand what I mean to say.

EB

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