Itinerary for Oaxaca Workshop in March 2019 & Interview with Amy Touchette

Photo by Amy Touchette

Photo by Amy Touchette

We are happy to return to Oaxaca in March 2019 for our second annual workshop there with Amy Touchette. We’ve shifted our itinerary a little bit to be able to visit the indigenous market at Tlacolula, where Zapotec people from distant villages travel to barter for all sorts of goods, from spices to live turkeys to textiles and much more. Our planned schedule is here:

Thursday, March 7 - Arrival, check-in to The Oaxaca Inn, and welcome dinner in downtown Oaxaca.

Friday, March 8 - Head outside the city to photograph Ocotlan, a town that transforms into a dynamic market every Friday. We went in March of this year on the last day and it was one of the highlights - an amazing place. Then head to Santa Catarina Minas to visit a mezcal maker who uses traditional techniques.

Saturday, March 9 - Street photography and portraiture in downtown Oaxaca, with lunch at Mercado 20 de Enero, one of the iconic sites in the city. Work at the Manuel Alvarez Bravo Photographic Center, a workshop and gallery space named after the famous Mexican photographer. Photograph the Zocalo, Santo Domingo, and the Botanic Garden.

Sunday, March 10 - Leave the city again to visit the indigenous market at Tlacolula, where barter is one of the main forms of commerce. Lunch with a Zapotec family at Teotitlan del Valle, and a visit to the women's weaving collective, where they make rugs and blankets with natural dyes they create themselves from plants and insects.

Monday, March 11 - Visit the pyramids outside the city at Monte Alban. Work at the Institute of Graphic Arts in downtown Oaxaca.

Tuesday, March 12 - Photograph Central de Abastos on the outskirts of downtown Oaxaca, a labyrinth of commerce - it's the spot where produce, meat, fish, and literally anything else you could possibly imagine wanting comes into Oaxaca. It's a stimulating macrocosm of daily life.

Wednesday, March 13 - Checkout of the Oaxaca Inn and bid farewell.

I’ve hesitated posting itineraries on past workshops for fear of “spoiling the surprise.” The reality is that each day in our workshops we encounter many unexpected “gifts from the photo gods,” and beyond the structure of an itinerary is where the magic of photography lives. We’ve found that no matter how strong an itinerary might be, even as it’s filled with spectacular locations and adventurous experiences, it’s the people we meet and photograph are what our workshops remarkable and unforgettable - from Don Pedro, who showed us secrets of Monte Alban, to Pastora Gutierrez demonstrating how she makes natural dyes for her handmade rugs, to the anonymous everyday people who share a smile or prepare a tlayuda for our lunch.

Amy was recently interviewed by photographer Timothy Frazier for his online magazine The Photographic Bandwidth. Please take a look. Amy’s insights into her work are always revealing and will make you think about how to look at photography, and life, a little bit differently and with more sensitivity. Great interview, and thanks to Timothy.

I began photographing people who I felt somehow embodied singularity, being alone. And what I saw in all of them was this beautiful marriage of vulnerability and liberation, a sort of calm, honest, susceptible strength.

And if you’d like to join us in Oaxaca for an unforgettable photographic experience (not to mention that we will eat some of the best food in the world….), please check out the workshop listing here to sign up: https://www.seekworkshops.com/select-workshop/oaxaca-amy-touchette

You won’t be disappointed.

Kass Mencher's "Fixed in Eternity," Part 9

We conclude our presentation of Kass Mencher's "Fixed in Eternity" with today's installment of the series she produced for Exxplorevision, an Instagram community dedicated to promoting the work of women photographers. Kass and her husband Eric, both known for their distinctive style of photographing daily life, will be teaching a creative photography workshop in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala in February 2018. Our accommodations and studio space will be at Posada de Santiago, and we will visit many of the villages around Lake Atitlan, a place that has entranced the Menchers for years. This workshop is filling and is expected to sell out. We are offering an early sign-up discount until September 30. For more information about the workshop, including an extensive gallery of photos by Eric and Kass, and to register, please visit the workshop page here: http://www.seekworkshops.com/select-workshop/lake-atitlan-guatemala-mencher

Thank you, Kass, for sharing your words and photos.

KASS_ATITLAN09.JPG

dawn chorus singing
imprint of a bird in the sky
it's the era of ether





As I've written previously, I've been to Lake Atitlán, Guatemala, nine times in the past seven years, usually for 2-4 months each visit. Originally the plan was to come only once. Obviously that is not what happened. 

There is a Mayan myth about a magic ring that was thrown into the middle of the lake. The ring was imbued with the power to attract and that is why so many people come once and stay, or in my case, keep returning time and again.
Others say there are 3 major energy vortexes that also have the power of attraction: the Pyramids at Giza, Machu Pichu in Peru, and Lake Atitlán.

I like the myth about the magic ring, but hey, that's me. I believe in magic. But whatever the cause there is no doubt that I am under the spell of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.

Kass Mencher's "Fixed in Eternity," Parts 3 & 4

Today we bring you the next installment in the project Kass Mencher completed earlier this year on her perceptions of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala for @exxplorevision, an Instagram community that promotes the work of women photographers. Kass and her husband Eric Mencher will lead a workshop in Santiago Atitlan in February. --Andrew Sullivan

All photos and text below courtesy of Kass Mencher.

 

JOY
explodes
into
day

.
(DOG RUNNING INTO LAKE)

At the lake, Lake Atitlán, you learn quickly that you are not the masters. And that you will do well to observe the rhythms of mother nature. She will richly award you with an abundance of time. There will be time enough to watch a dog frolic in the lake. You will have plenty of time to marvel as a duck bobs for lunch-time minnows and then struggles to scale the highest tree stump to be closer to the sun. You will even have 40 minutes on a Friday night to watch regimental columns of ants march away the dead carcass of a scorpion. At the lake, Lake Atitlán, there is time enough to watch, to wonder and to learn - to learn there is another way.

 

 


soft blanket sky
cover lullaby lake
cradle boat rocks
in 6/8 time
lullamenting
this morning
among mountains
and mist

.
.
While I am here
.
fears that follow
fade
beneath forever skies
evaporate
in the crossing
of an ancient lake
shrink
beside a fire and
brimstone volcano
pale
in the night light
light years away
fears that fallow
disappear
.
While I am here
.
.

 

Kass Mencher's "Fixed in Eternity," Parts 1 & 2

During her long visits to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala over the past eight years Kass Mencher has deepened her connection to this mystical place. She completed a body of work earlier this year on her relationship with Lake Atitlan for @exxplorevision, an Instagram community that promotes the work of women photographers. Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the photographs and writing that Kass produced for that project. Thanks for following along. -Andrew Sullivan

All photos and text below courtesy of Kass Mencher.

yoga-atitlan

feeding the goddess

she rises from the ashes

to dance away fear

Located in the Guatemalan highlands, Lake Atitlán was called too much of a good thing by writer Aldous Huxley. Atitlán means the place where the rainbow comes to get its color. And it's true: the fruits, the flowers, the textiles are rich in multicolored hues that combine to form rainbows of uncommon beauty. But be wary of color. It can be intoxicating. It can seduce, deceive and conceal the true nature of a thing. When at Lake Atitlán I am compelled to make images about what is sensed but not necessarily seen.

The Maya believe Lake Atitlán is a sacred, living being harboring the world's navel within its depths. Its unsnipped umbilical cord holding the sky and the earth together. It is a spiritual and healing center attracting people from afar today as it has done since at least 300 B.C.

 


atitlan-mencher-dock

Intersection
boat dock meets park bench
he sits - fishing
i sit - doing yoga
he moves with a grace
i can only dream of
i'm mesmerized by the music
in his hands
as he casts out his line
just when i think
to pick up my phone
he stands
his profile a silhouette in stillness
before he turns slowly from the hips
stopping when his chest faces forward
fierce proud defiant fearless
balancing on the edge of infinity
he waits
a muelle matador carved out of shadow
i pick up my phone
iClick
our worlds intersect
in 1/250th of a second
he returns to fishing
i return to yoga
yet
i can't help but feel
something has changed