Thinking about Peru 2010

Roughly 120 days from now I’m teaching a workshop in Peru.

My planning has already begun. You might find that a little surprising, but it’s very true. And while this might seem like a lot of prep time, let me assure you, it isn’t. Not by a long shot.

And when I say planning, I don’t mean dragging out my suitcase or beginning to prepare lecture notes. Those will come, in time. I mean, one of the basic questions is which camera will I take – my Leica or my Hasselblad?

At the moment, I’m beginning to prepare the logistics of my photographs. My personal introspection of what I’d like to make while in Cusco for the first time – what I’d like to make while there, not what I’ll be teaching. In fact, this note is somewhat of a primer on what we will be considering while there.

You see, in many ways, I’m in a similar position to the students who will be attending the Peru in Book Form photographic workshop. I’ve never been to Peru. I’ve never witnessed Easter in Peru. I’ve never seen Cusco. I’ve never been to this hotel. I’ve never flown through Lima. So, it is difficult for me to know exactly what will happen, which is what is so exciting.

(For those curious why the heck I’m teaching a workshop in a city I’ve never visited, I’m working with the producer of the PhotoExperience workshops who specializes in photography in Cusco. Between the two of us, we’ve got it covered.)

I think one of the most difficult things about doing an event like this is fighting the urge to preconceive what will happen or what I will see. More seasoned photographers might stand over my shoulder: “been there, done that“ trying to share the easiest solution with me, but again, my mind is telling me otherwise. I have grand visions, but there is always a catch.

In my editorial and newspaper days, assignments NEVER appeared like the concepts I’d preconceived. On the one hand this was frustrating. My visions were always incredible, and often times the visuals in front of me were not. I’d find myself cursing the assignment editor or saying to myself, “Gotta make chicken salad out of chicken sh%$.”

But on the other hand, arriving at unexpected things was fantastic, kept me on my toes, challenged me, and in the end made me a far better photographer. Heading into unknown territory with my camera became second nature, which has helped me tremendously when it comes to shooting weddings or even portraits. I don’t get rattled.

So today I find myself dreaming about Peru and also trying to figure out how I’m going to “design” my photographs – better yet, create my story.

I don’t know what I’m going to see in Peru. I could go online and look up Easter and try to find something specific, and part of me wants to do that, but I’m fighting the urge. Perhaps I don’t really want to know. I want to see with fresh eyes, knowing that what I see has never happened before. Each year brings something new, something I learned from photographing Sicilian Easter over a four-year period. I would return to the same towns, shoot the same events and see different things each time.

I’m thinking about other aspects of my images: how do I want them to look? In what format? Color or black and white? What size prints will I make? Will the prints be digital or traditional? Am I shooting for more of an editorial look? Gallery look? Or a book?

The specific goal of this workshop is to photograph Easter in Peru with the idea of producing a book from the material. What size book? What format? Will this be a commercial book? A personal book? A limited edition? Softcover? Hardcover?

What if I shoot two different ways and make two different books? Can I even do that? Will it water down the images if I try to do two things at once? Should I research previously published books on Peru? Of Easter?

Okay, by now it is evident I just finished my morning coffee, and that perhaps I’m a little fixated on this issue. Guilty as charged.

But this is my reality. You see my “design” on my images changes. I’ve got more than one look, and I’m trying to predict the future.

The easiest thing to do is shoot my Leica and Tri-x. I’ll love it. I know because I’ve done it so many times, in so many places. But I could also use the Hasselblad, which I love for portraits. Maybe I could shoot the action with the Leica and the slower stuff with the Blad?

It would be so great to board the plane with two small bodies, two lenses and a small bag of film. Light, easy, simple. But my mind tells me I can do more, make more, but this might just be another trick.

But in the end I can’t allow the concept of a book, or what a gallery might like, overpower the basics of light, timing and composition. I need to put myself in the best position to make the best photographs that are most reflective of me as a photographer.

It’s so easy to get lost in the “design”.

So, today my planning and designing continues. Soon I will work on lecture notes, slideshows, etc. I will curse myself for losing at least half of my Spanish ability. But I will also relish the idea of what will happen 120 days from now. I will dream about the moments and the happiness we will experience.

Like a fire burning inside, keeping us creatively warm, until that moment when the starter gun says,” Go!”


I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to teach in Peru during Easter of 2010. I’ve covered Easter before, many times, in Sicily, as well as Mexico, and here in the US, where my love of the egg is evident.

This workshop is part of the Photo Experience program, which has been in operation in Peru for some time. Check their site to see a list of both completed programs as well as a few of the upcoming events.

The idea of the workshop is to think, see and photograph with the ultimate intention of creating a book from the images. Working in book form is different than randomly snapping here and there, and is a great way to learn to see your photographs in more depth. We will look at a photo as a stand alone image, as well as how images work as a theme, how to sequence a picture story, and design specific to the book process.

And imagine how much there will be see in Cusco during Semana Santa!


Teaching in Spain

Okay, I’ve been asked to teach in Spain of next year, for Easter, and I will be posting more about this at a later date, but wanted to get this out there. In short, it looks to be an incredible event, time, place, etc.

Here is the first blast of information I have.

Easter in Seville, Spain – April 4-14th, 2009

Holy Week in Seville is a feast for the senses. This unique event takes place the week leading up to the Easter weekend and consists of more than 65 processions. Huge floats are carried around the streets of Seville by teams of Bearers and Penitents all dressed up for one of the most overwhelming religious rituals of the world. The representation of The Passion of the Christ is done by different brotherhoods that spend months preparing the processions that will wander day and night around the city. The Holy Week celebrations reach their climax during La Madrugá, where from midnight Thursday into the early hours of Good Friday more than 500,000 people remain in the streets following the various brotherhoods’ processions. Holy Week in Seville is an unparallel combination of religious emotions, gypsy passion and pagan joy.

Framed by these sumptuous celebrations, your instructors will take you deeper into the beautiful Andalucía region to explore the Moorish side of Spain. Here you will discover
some of the most amazing photo opportunities as we embrace its beauty and traditions. This combined with classroom critiques and lectures will refine your photo techniques and skills. Day trips to the White Towns of Andalucía, the Sherry wine cellars in Jerez de la Frontera, to Cordoba and its amazing Mesquite and to a ranch that raises bulls for bullfighting completes your 10-day adventure. Living Easter in Seville and capturing every moment and aspect of their 16th Century traditions is a once in a lifetime experience you can’t miss.

• Be part of the processions and shoot up close and personal the most amazing
Easter Celebrations
• Visit Moorish Cordoba and its Mesquite
• Visit the White Towns of Andalucía
• Witness and capture the rise of the brave fight bulls of Spain
• Be amazed by the beauty of the Andalusian horses in the
Royal Equestrian Academy
• Have a taste of Sherry in their world famous Cellars

California-based photographer Daniel Milnor ( specializes in long-term, black and white documentary work relating to a variety of topics including:
Sicilian Easter Processions, Big-Wave Surfing, Portuguese Bloodless Bullfighting, California Off-Highway Vehicular Recreation Parks, Exotic Game Ranches as well as Los Angeles Urbanization. Daniel’s work has been published in Black & White Magazine and Camera Arts, among other magazines and newspapers. A former photo specialist for the Eastman Kodak Company and consultant to Blurb, Daniel’s work on Sicily became a finalist for the Honickman First Book Prize in Documentary photography. He has taught at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, the Julia Dean Photo Workshops in Venice, California, and most recently at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Eniac Martinez ( is a documentary photographer based in
Mexico City. He studied at the International Center of Photography in New York and the Cuban Institute of Art. He has had more than 35 solo and 50 collective exhibits around the world. In 1991 he won the Mother Jones magazine documentary photography competition, as well as a Fullbright award in 1989 for his work documenting a group of Mixtecos Indians who migrated to the United States from their home state of Oaxaca in search of work. These images were published in his book Mixtecos, Norte Sur (1994). He has also authored the books Litorales and Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. Eniac’s work has been published in magazines such as Daily Telegraph, National Geographic, México Indígena, Luna Córnea and La Jornada. Eniac is an instructor for the Santa Fe Workshops and National Geographic Expeditions.

Pricing and Conditions:
Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights
Price: $6,495
Conditions: Price is per person in double occupancy in the 5-Star Occidental Sevilla.
For single room add $1,000.
Includes: 10 Breakfasts, 7 lunches and 2 dinners, as well as all transportation, fieldtrips, guides and tips.
Does not include: Airfare to and from home city. Transfer to and from airport destination.

To enroll call 310-392-0909 or toll free 1-866-448-5187