Tag Archives: cultural immersion

Photography: Cartier-Bresson Exhibition in Mexico City

The Mexico City exhibition featuring 398 pieces by French photographer-filmmaker Henri Cartier-Bresson closes May 17, 2015 at Palacio Bellas Artes. Please don’t miss it. Considered the founder of photojournalism, this is the first major retrospective since his death in 2004.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-7 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-2

An hour is not long enough to absorb the emotional intensity of Cartier-Bresson’s work. If you love political history, photojournalism, the decades leading up to World War II and the beginning of photography as an important artistic and cultural vehicle for storytelling, you will love this exhibition. I needed more than two hours to do it justice.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-17 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-14

It represents Cartier-Bresson’s interest in painting, drawing, photography and filmmaking. It is an in-depth view of pre and post-World War Europe, of poverty and racism, of what happens on the street among the people. There are also amazing portraits of notables who he was commissioned to photograph.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-18

 

Oaxaca Day of the Dead Photography Workshop, October 2015

Chiapas Festivals and Faces Photography Workshop, January 2016

For example, the exhibit features photographs taken during the coronation of King George II of England. But Cartier-Bresson concentrates on the expressions of people in the crowd and not the regal procession. Some are using raised mirrors to watch the parade, and to do so, they must turn their backs to the King.

 

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-13 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-11 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-12

Cartier-Bresson uses this as a metaphor for how the people must turn away from monarchy and embrace a republican government.

Program Notes: Impressions of Africa. “He took little interest in local customs or ritual feasts, as he did not want to get drawn into “Exoticism” or what he called “detestable local colour.”  In a style very much influenced by the European New Vision (high angle shots, geometrical compositions, repeating motifs) he tended to photograph subjects like children playing in the street, dockers at work or the effort of rowers in a boat: in other words, the rhythm of African life.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-15 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-4

Aligned with the intellectuals and artists of the time, he was a powerful voice in support of Communism, active in the Spanish Civil War and the French Resistance.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-6 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-16

As a contemporary of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Cartier-Bresson came to Mexico to photograph, and many of the images shown capture the poor and disenfranchised, including children and prostitutes.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-8

As I moved through the exhibition, I learned more about photography by seeing this work. Cartier-Bresson shunned fiestas and processions, the formalities of organized life. He concentrated on what was messy and spontaneous.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-3

His technique was to find a backdrop with texture and interest that he liked and then wait for people to pass through the space.

Skateboarders-2 Skateboarders-4

As we walked from Palacio Bellas Artes to see the Diego Rivera mural Dream of a Sunday Afternoon on the Alameda, I stopped to take photos of young men practicing their skateboard moves a la Henri Cartier-Bresson — perhaps — and a man sitting on a steel post mid-sidewalk, waiting, surrounded by passersby who paid no attention.

Man on Steel Post Man on Steel Post-2

The Decisive Moment, an essay by Cartier-Bresson, describes his philosophical approach to photography and is considered a foundation for all photographers.

Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-9 Cartier-Bresson at Bellas Artes-5

2015 Day of the Dead Photography Workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, Mexico, is the place to be for Day of the Dead  and you will capture it with your camera: parades, cemeteries, family traditions, special food and decor, markets, fiestas and faces. Follow the copal incense and marigold trail. Starts Sunday morning, October 30 and ends Thursday night, November 3.

2014DOTDTeoti-11

Cost:  $995 per person. Price includes all instruction, feedback sessions, personal coaching and transportation to and from Xoxocotlan and Teotitlan del Valle cemeteries. Does not include food or lodging.  We will provide you with a list of hotels and B&B’s to choose the level of accommodation you prefer after you register. Then, make your own reservations directly. Come early or stay later, too.  We will recommend sightseeing and other activities!

  • Limited to 10 participants. Small Group. Personal Attention.
  • Beginners and more experienced photographers welcome.
  • Bring any camera: DSLR, iPhone or Point and Shoot!
  • Registration is now open!

111

This is a hands-on photography workshop for learning and improving technique while you experience Oaxaca’s famed Day of the Dead rituals.  By the end of the week, you will better use your camera for visual storytelling, photojournalism, portraiture and cultural discovery.

Your Workshop Leader is Matt Nager

Matt Nager is a Denver, Colorado, based portrait and editorial photographer. We invited him back to teach this workshop after rave reviews for teaching the People of Oaxaca Portrait Photography Workshop.

His clients include: DISCOVER Magazine, Fast Company Magazine, Mother Jones Magazine, The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Matt speaks English and Spanish.  His work is at: www.mattnager.com

Portraits_1_Best40-7

His love for nature and the outdoors, as well as his interest in people and culture, is central to his photography. Before starting his own photography business, Matt worked with the Dallas Morning News and the Rocky Mountain News.

In addition to photography, Matt also regularly shoots video and recently completed his first documentary titled: Campania In-Felix (Unhappy Country) which looks into the rise of health issues in Southern Italy as a result of illegal waste disposal. 6_Zapotecs-7

This cultural immersion workshop tour offers you a deeper appreciation for the food, religious symbols, rituals and family celebrations both in Oaxaca city and in the rural Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle.

You will learn to:

  • Use natural light and respond to different lighting situations
  • Include portraits in your travel photography
  • Direct your subject through varying body positions
  • Identify your own photographic style
  • Find and execute portraits “on the fly”
  • Practice street photography
  • Use skills you learn through daily assignments
  • Learn more with one-on-one coaching sessions with Matt
  • Contribute to a gift for subject families — included in your workshop fee

Xoxocotlan2014-30 Xoxocotlan2014-7 Xoxocotlan2014-23

During our week together, we will review each other’s work, give feedback, and offer supportive critiques.  The workshop includes a mix of class instruction and being out on the streets to capture the action.

Xoxocotlan2014-35

 

Technical topics covered include natural light, exposure, manual camera settings and night photography. We will offer optional editing sessions using Lightroom photo editing software.  13_Sunset@Xoxo1a Xoxocotlan2014-14

Preliminary Itinerary (subject to change) 

Day of the Dead Workshop Expedition 2015

Day 1, Saturday, October 30:  Meet after breakfast at a central location in Oaxaca City where we will have a welcome and learning session, with a review of camera settings, exposure and using natural light. Then, we’ll hit the streets and local markets! Option is to meet up for a group dinner at your own expense. 2014DOTDTeoti-28

Day 2, Sunday, October 31:  We meet after breakfast. After showing your best work of Day 1, with review and feedback, we will have a learning session on night photography.  At 3:30 p.m. we depart for the famed Xoxocotlan cemetery for an extraordinary Day of the Dead extravaganza.  Matt is with us every step of the way for coaching and technical support. This could be a late night, so be prepared!  We will stay until at least 10 p.m., maybe later! Includes transportation to/from Xoxocotlan.

14_XoxoMourners

Day 3, Monday, November 1:  You will have the morning on your own to prepare your best of the Xoxocotlan cemetery. We will meet midday to share our work with a feedback and learning session, then get back on the streets to catch the calendas and other processions. Some may want to share an optional taxi to San Pablo Villa de Mitla for their Day of the Dead festivities that start mid-afternoon

.3a_ForSale flowers (1 of 1)

Day 4, Tuesday, November 2:  We leave for an afternoon and evening in Teotitlan del Valle after our morning learning and photo feedback session.  You are paired with another workshop participant to share a traditional meal with a local host family and go with them to the village cemetery. To be embedded with a local family is an amazing cultural immersion experience to learn more about indigenous customs and traditions.  We return to Oaxaca city mid-evening. Includes transportation and lunch.

Day 5, Wednesday, November 3:  We meet after breakfast to share experiences and photos of the day. You’ll have the rest of the day on your own to meander and prepare your Best of Week photo presentation.  We get together in early evening for a Best of Week photo presentation followed by goodbyes. Please feel free to invite guests! Then, we’ll meet for an optional group supper (expense on your own).

What You Should Bring

  1. Camera, either Digital SLR camera with lens(es) — wide angle, zoom, and/or fixed focal point 50mm, or iPhone or Point and Shoot
  2. Optional tripod for night photography
  3. Laptop computer for photo editing
  4. External hard drive
  5. External card reader
  6. Extra batteries (2) and battery charger
  7. Memory cards (at least 2) and jump drive
  8. Pen and notepad
  9. Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes, sun protection, sun hat

(Before the workshop starts, we will send you a complete packet and information guide with suggested packing list, and other useful information.)

Xoxocotlan2014

Cost:  $995 USD.  Deposit to reserve your space is $500. Workshop includes:

  • All instruction and coaching
  • 1 lunch as specified in the itinerary
  • Transportation to villages included in the itinerary
  • Gift to local Teotitlan del Valle host family
  • Comprehensive pre-trip planning packet (via email)

red shawl

Not Included:  The expedition does NOT include lodging, meals that are not specified in the itinerary, airfare, taxes, tips/gratuities, travel insurance, liquor/alcoholic beverages and optional transportation.

127  manos

About Recommended Accommodations: We will be based in Oaxaca city for this workshop. We will recommend several outstanding hotels and B&B’s where you may choose to stay, complete with contact information and estimated pricing. You can also check TripAdvisor and BookingDotCom.  All reservations for lodging will be made and paid for by you directly with the hotel.  You are free to choose any accommodation you prefer, from luxury to basic hostel.  We will send you a list of recommended hotels after you register and make your deposit.

2_Chocolate Shop 263

Reservations and Cancellations

A 50% deposit will reserve your space.   The final payment for the balance due shall be made on or before August 1, 2014.  We accept PayPal for payment only. We will send you an invoice for your deposit to reserve when you tell us you are ready to register.

If cancellation is necessary, please notify us in writing by email.   After August 1, no refunds are possible; however, we will make every effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute.  If you cancel on or before August 1, we will refund 50% of your deposit.

We require that you take out trip cancellation, baggage, and at least $50,000 USD of emergency evacuation and medical insurance before you begin your trip. We know unforeseen circumstances are possible.

To register, email us at oaxacaculture@me.com  We accept payment with PayPal only. Thank you.

street beg red umbrella

This workshop is produced by Norma H-Shafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.  We reserve the right to alter the itinerary and substitute instructors without notice.

Don’t let this workshop pass you by!

16_BicycleRider

 

Witness For Peace in Oaxaca Works for Sensible Policy

Tonight, Stephen and I are going to hear a Witness for Peace (WFP) presentation at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Church in Chapel Hill (106 Purefoy St.) about their work in Oaxaca.

Tony Macias is one of four WFP team members  in Oaxaca and former assistant director of North Carolina Student Action with Farmworkers. He and his co-worker Moravia de la O arranged for a local delegation — Sharon Mujica, Alan Young, Eduardo Lapetina and Jane Stein — to visit the region and they just returned.  They will be sharing their experiences and points of view about the economic conditions, immigration issues,  and community survival in Oaxaca.

Witness trips seek to equip both travelers and their audiences to press for sensible and humane economic and immigration policy.

This is important work!  We see the impact of the severe international economic crisis on the streets of Oaxaca — there are fewer visitors than usual, and this is having a huge impact on the ability of crafts people and artists to sustain themselves.

My goal is to help bring affordable travel to Oaxaca and bring visitors in contact directly with artisans who create extraordinary work.  We are all in this together!  Abrazos fuerte.  -Norma

This is the flyer I’ll be distributing tonight. Please pass the flyer!

Oaxaca, Mexico: Who Knew You Could Fall in Love With a Place?


Hola,  Norma!
I just wanted to thank you so so much for arranging/leading the photography workshop in Oaxaca.   I feel that, with the expert instruction of Sam and Tom [Robbins], I was able to improve my photography skills greatly throughout the course of the workshop.
Also, the subjects we were able to shoot thanks to your arrangements (markets, potters, weavers, etc) were the most interesting I have ever shot (and probably ever will shoot!).
I have never been as happy as I was during our stay in Teotitlan del Valle, and I feel as though this trip really opened my eyes to the world.  I now understand what Sam meant when she said that Teotitlan is a place that really gets under your skin.
I hope I can return to Teotitlan sometime in the very near future  (I miss it so much… who knew you could fall in love with a place?).  
Thank you so much again for making this experience possible… I cannot express my gratitude enough!
Thanks,
Kellie Fitzgerald, Columbus, Ohio
July 11, 2011

Oaxaca Festivals: Parade of the Baskets, Teotitlan del Valle 2011

Janet Chavez Santiago with her cousins

Summer is a great time to travel to and explore Oaxaca, Mexico. The famed Parade of the Baskets, or Calenda de las Canastas, begins in the church courtyard on the late afternoon of July 5 and kicks off the five-day patron saint day celebration of Teotitlan del Valle.  It is called Parade of the Canastas because of the heavy baskets the young women carry on their heads in processional throughout the village.

Cousins from Teotitlan del Valle and Arizona, USA

More than 100 young women gather in the church courtyard where the parade begins.  The procession includes the young women, the band, the dancers who have made the three-year commitment for the Dance of the Feather, village leaders, and little boys who have been selected to carry festival banners.

El Danzante de la Pluma

Village band accompanies the procession

All will wind through the streets of the village for about an hour and a half so everyone has a chance to pay homage and tribute.  Men who ignite firecrackers will signal the arrival of the procession along the way.

Procession leaders carry the baskets of patron saint: El Senor Jesucristo with white roses

Festival banners and bamboo poles wave high

The patron saint of Teotitlan del Valle is Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo — Church of Jesus Christ of the Precious Blood.

Carrying the basket requires balance and strength

The baskets are heavy.  It is an honor and commitment for the young women who are selected to carry them.  Frequent stops to rest help immensely!

On July 6, 7, and 9, the Dance of Feather will also take place in the church courtyard, marking the story of the fall of Moctezuma and the conquest of Mexico by Cortes.

Two jesters mock both Cortes and Moctezuma

For an unparalleled photography experience, see Day of the Dead Photography Expedition 2011.  We are accepting registrations now.