It is official. We are returning to the high lonesome of Peru July 9th-23rd of 2013.
Once again I will be teaming up with Adam Weintraub and PhotoExperience to bring fellow travelers and students a journey they won’t forget. I hesitate to call this a workshop. Yes, we are there for photography, but we are there for so much more. Peru is many countries in one. You have the coast, the Andes, the cities and the Amazon, and they are all exotic in their own way. This trip will take us from the eyebrow of the jungle and Machu Picchu to the steaming mist of the Amazon. This trip is about culture, travel, experience, critical thought, companionship, group dynamics, cuisine, Pisco and the all powerful photographic release. This trip is for people who want to explore, both physically and emotionally.Chanting is optional.
In a two-week time period you will see and experience so many different things, so many different people and so many different photographic moments it’s difficult to put into words. I teach once or twice a year at this point, so when I take the time to do this I make sure I’m doing something that can’t easily be replicated. I am the primary instructor but Adam is the key in terms of finding the heartbeat of Peru. Adam has lived and worked in Peru for fifteen years and simply put, knows everyone. Being a photographer he knows where to be, at what time and what to do if things don’t go as expected. Adam and PhotoExperience are not a factory. He does a few workshops a year, trips that take an extensive amount of planning. Take a look at the names of the other instructors and you will see what I’m talking about.
Last year, after returning from this workshop, I was depressed for over a month. I kept wondering why I felt so bad. My wife and I were both in somewhat of a haze and traced it back to returning to our little world. Peru does this to you. Peru puts the hooks in you and won’t let go.
Over the next few months I’m going to start sharing images from my past trips to Peru providing a little background on what was behind the image or images.
Lima Beach, 2011
This image was made the first day of this year’s workshop. As a small group we had descended on a beach in Lima. In some ways we were all feeling out the situation, the workshop and getting our “Peruvian sea legs” if you will. When you leave all that is known and comfortable and you land in a place like this, a place so different in so many ways, it can take a bit of time to acclimate. I know for me it’s difficult to “get my eye” going.
We split up when we hit the beach, people splintering off in all directions. I walked with two other people talking about the light, what to do in harsh conditions and how to shoot backlit scenes. The beach was somewhat quiet but the spacing was good. When I say “spacing” I mean how the parts of the scene come together. Not too many parts to worry about, just a few ingredients that all seem to fit well together.
I noticed what looked like a video shoot being done and quickly walked toward the scene and made this picture. Music video Lima style. I made two exposures. The first was off a bit, and the man in the foreground on the left blocked one of the performers in the back, but this image worked. It felt good to get an image so quickly. I mentally filed it away(couldn’t see it because I was shooting film) and moved on.
These workshops are interesting and very much about being placed in a scene or location and being turned loose to do as you please, visually speaking. You can find a theme and carry it forward for two weeks, or you can treat each location, scene, moment, as it’s own destination. Workshops for me are not about making perfect pictures, or having a list of photo-demands. You never truly know what you are going to get until faced with it. Just react and try to take chances, make pictures you aren’t sure you can make. I typically make a range of work from snapshots to complete and total abstract experimentations. Some work, some don’t, but I learn from them all.