Photojournalism Workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico–Las Cuevitas and Day of the Three Kings

Like a writer, a photojournalist captures and tells a story through the still photographs s/he takes that is accompanied by a short written narrative.  Oaxaca, Mexico, during the extraordinary and magical Christmas season will be our workshop laboratory to discover and record the scenes of the season– Las Cuevitas and Day of the Three Kings (Epiphany).

 Las Cuevitas–The Caves and Dia de los Tres Reyes–Day of the Three Kings, arrive December 31 and depart January 7    

Plus add-on a Zapotec cooking class with Reyna Mendoza Ruiz on December 31  [arrive December 30] or on January 7  [depart January 8]   –  details below

Bring your digital camera (point-and-shoot or DSLRs welcome), your memory cards, your note pad and pen, your imagination and your sense of adventure.  We will teach you the techniques for capturing and documenting the culture with your camera and writing about what you see to accompany your photos.

The Christmas holidays in Oaxaca are magical and mystical, vibrant and festive.  They are filled with processions, special foods, merrymaking and solemnity.  Together, we will discuss the region’s rich history and culture, the art and craft traditions, belief systems and relationships to nature and daily life.  We will visit archeological sites and crafts villages. This will inform your photographic work that is anchored with diary entries.

Outline of Itinerary:

December 31 — Arrive in Oaxaca and travel from airport to Teotitlan del Valle, check in to bed and breakfast inn.  (If you want to take a cooking class today, arrive on December 30.)

January 1 — Our workshop starts with a morning learning session followed by a day trip to the local Tlacolula regional tianguis (market) filled with food, aprons, household goods, crafts, everything and the kitchen sink.  All day excursion on local bus includes lunch.

January 2 — Morning learning session followed by lunch with a famous weaving family and a procession to Las Cuevitas, the magical caves of Teotitlan del Valle (bring tripods for night photography if you wish)

January 3 — leave in early morning for a day in craft villages of Arrazola and Atzompa, with visit to renown Mesoamerican archeological site of Monte Alban. Following dinner in the city, return to Teotitlan del Valle.

January 4 — Morning learning session followed by weaving and natural dyeing demonstration with Master weaver Federico Chavez Sosa.

January 5 —  After morning learning session, enjoy a demonstration with artisans who work in natural dyes and handspun and woven silk. Spend the afternoon with a family celebrating Dia de Los Tres Reyes.

January 6 — After morning learning session, spend the day on your own to explore, shop or prepare for the evening final presentation and best of week show.

January 7 — Depart or stay an extra day for a cooking class in traditional Oaxacan foods including how to prepare mole [also available on December 31 before the workshop begins]

June Finfer, photographer, filmmaker, playwright

June Finfer, Chicago playwright, documentarian, and photographer will lead you in this learning adventure where you will enter into the world of the Mixtec and Zapotec people.  June will share her tips on using your camera to capture the decisive moment, and her writing experience on how to keep a diary of your experience.  You will in effect be a photojournalist.

Use what you learn to become a photojournalist

The Internet has created many opportunities for amateurs to contribute to the art of photojournalism.  Small, portable cameras give each of us the personal power to create stories through images that are publishable on blogs, podcasts and online news magazines.

Even traditional media outlets welcome photographs from amateurs who capture an important event with fair and accurate representation.

We will discuss ethical approaches to objectivity, the role of the citizen journalist, what to shoot, how to frame, and how to edit.

You can focus in-depth on a subject or a wide survey.  You will build a portfolio of photographs and narration based on these important rituals that combine pre-Hispanic and Catholic traditions.  Using the techniques of photojournalism, you will be able to record the visual elements of the celebrations while learning about their significance.

About Your Workshop Leader June Finfer 

JUNE FINFER is an award-winning playwright, photographer, and a producer of documentaries. She studied photography at Illinois Institute of Technology with Aaron Siskind and her films about the architecture of Mies van der Rohe have been broadcast on A&E and PBS. Her play, The Glass House, was produced off-Broadway in New York in 2010.  She adapted an unfinished novel by Shirley Jackson, directed by Joanne Woodward for American Playhouse, nationally broadcast by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

June’s films include Greentowns USA: A New Deal,  Earthshapers,  Creating Community: Lafayette Park, and The Tugendhat House: Mies van der Rohe’s Czech Masterpiece. Awards and Grants include: American Film Festival, first prize CINE Goethe-Institute Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts, Illinois Arts Council,  Illinois Humanities Council,  Maryland Humanities Council,  Ohio Humanities Council, TELLY U.S. International Film and Video Festival.  See details at www.lostandfoundproductions.org

Lodging and Costs: 

We will be based in the Zapotec weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle.  To keep this program affordable, we have selected clean and basic accommodations at a woman-operated bed and breakfast inn that is part of their family compound.  Josefina, along with her mother-in-law Magdalena and daughter Eloisa, prepare delicious meals from scratch.  (If you desire luxury travel, please consider a different experience.)

Base Cost: $1195 per person double occupancy with shared bath facilities.  6 nights, 7 days.

[  ] Option 1:  I will share a room, double occupancy with shared bath, $1195 per person.

[  ] Option 2:  I prefer a single room with shared bath for a total of $1,295 per person.

[  ] Option 3: I will share a room, double occupancy, with private bath for a total of $1,295 per person.

[  ] Option 4: I prefer a single room with private bath for a total of $1,495.

[  ]  Option 5:  Add-on a 5-hour Zapotec cooking class, includes local market shopping tour and lunch, on December 31 (arrive on December 30) or January 7 (depart on January 8).   Add $110 for cooking class and additional night lodging.

If you want to arrive earlier or stay later, we can arrange additional nights lodging in Teotitlan del Valle at $55 per night and additional nights lodging in Oaxaca city at $125 per night (each includes breakfast).

Most travel workshops of this type and length cost more than twice as much!

The trip does NOT include airfare, taxes, gratuities, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation to and from Oaxaca city.

We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.

Register Today! Use the Registration Form on the banner.

Full payment is due to register you for the program.  We prefer Payment with PayPal. 

Please see our cancellation policy in the “Register Today” section of the home page.  We strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip, since unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To get your questions answered and to register, contact: normahawthorne@mac.com or call (919) 274-6194.  Thank you.

This program is produced by Norma Hawthorne, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.

One Response to Photojournalism Workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico–Las Cuevitas and Day of the Three Kings

  1. Oh, how I would love to be there for the January one, but won’t come to Oaxaca till later in January!

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