February 23-29, 2020, Oaxaca - The Photographic Life with Amy Touchette & Andrew Sullivan

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Photos by Amy Touchette
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Photos by Amy Touchette
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February 23-29, 2020, Oaxaca - The Photographic Life with Amy Touchette & Andrew Sullivan

600.00

For the third consecutive year, we return to Oaxaca to teach this special workshop!

$600.US deposit to reserve space in workshop. Balance of $1250.US due Jan. 1, 2020

$1850.US workshop fee includes instruction, six nights lodging (private room and bath) in the city center at The Oaxaca Inn, ground transportation to and from Oaxaca International Airport, excursions out of the city, welcome dinner on Sunday and farewell fiesta Friday night.

Some of the topics this workshop will cover are:

  • Methodologies photographers have used in the past to capture life on the street, so you can determine the approach that works best for you.

  • How to gain people’s trust—both through conversation and wordlessly, using just your presence.

  • Techniques for blending into the background and “breaking the ice” with a complete stranger.

  • What to do and say when photographing a person or place upsets someone: how to calm them while staying calm yourself.

  • How your decisions and behavior set the stage for the photographs that result: the very real relationship between cause and effect and between mind and body.

  • We will also look at the photographs you make as the week progresses and discuss the experiences you’re having while photographing in Oaxaca. 

Below is our planned itinerary. We may have to change items listed below due to unforeseen circumstances. The items listed below will be our main points of focus during the trip. Each day will include chances for one-on-one work with Amy, Andrew, and the workshop team. Life is full of surprises. We can’t predict what spontaneous magic we will encounter- we only know that we will indeed encounter it every day in beautiful Oaxaca.

You will be working independently for much of the workshop. We will have two optional group outings, but the majority of your time photographing will be spent following your own project ideas. This is a course about personal vision. That can be developed only by the intuitive and thoughtful consideration of one's own interests.

Sunday, February 23 - Check-in to The Oaxaca Inn. Meet for our welcoming night dinner and presentation on what to expect during the week. After dinner, we'll look at print portfolios. Please bring 20 prints of your most meaningful work; pictures that represent who you are as a photographer. Also bring lots of questions. We are here to answer every question or doubt you might have.

Monday, February 24 - Start early! We recommend that you hit the streets at sunrise to see the city awaken slowly in beautiful light, and to start generating ideas for the body of work that you'll complete during the workshop. At 10 a.m., we'll meet at IAGO, the Institute of Graphic Arts for presentations addressing the creation of photo essays, street photography, and candid portraiture. By mid-afternoon, all students will be working on their projects.

Tuesday, February 25 - We'll leave the city early for our second optional group trip. Prepare yourself for one of the most unusual and exciting cultural events you will ever see. It's Carnaval, the last day before Lent, and we will be in the middle of bedlam in San Martin Tilcajete, a small town outside the city where the men and boys daub themselves with black or red grease and bedevil the streets and squares. The event is unlike anything you will have ever seen - it is exciting, funny, mysterious, and non-stop action. We'll spend most of the day in San Martin Tilcajete, photographing as the day unfolds, and absorbing the culture of this spirited town.

Wednesday, February 26 - We'll meet after breakfast for group edits and critiques at the Institute of Graphic Arts. After lunch, we'll start to hold individual meetings to assure that you get attention aimed at developing your personal vision. From mid-afternoon onward, you'll be photographing your project.

Thursday, February 27 - There will be an optional  trip to photograph the Pre-Columbian pyramids outside the city at Monte Alban. Those who choose not to visit Monte Alban will photograph their individual projects. The group will return to the city for discussions and critiques of student work at the Institute of Graphic Arts in downtown Oaxaca. And again, you'll be out in the late afternoon and evening light to photograph.

Friday, February 28 - We hope (and let's be honest, we expect), that you're still getting up early, taking advantage of some of the world's best light, and making compelling pictures. We'll meet at IAGO at 10 for a group edit. The group will break for lunch before  continuing individual meetings. This afternoon and evening will be the final opportunity to take photographs for your completed photo essay that we will project Saturday night.

Saturday, February 29 -  Please sleep in today!! We'll meet again for one last group edit at 10. After the group edit ends, students will make final edits to sequence and prepare their images. After lunch together, we'll check and double check your edits to prepare for the slide show. After your images are ready, celebrate a little! We'll get together in the evening for our final slide show of your photographic essays, and then we'll host our farewell fiesta.

Oaxaca is an exciting, art-filled, beautiful blend of the ancient and modern. It is a bustling city nestled in the rugged mountain range Sierra Madre del Oaxaca, and at times feels like a small town in many places. From El Zocalo, the city's central plaza, street life radiates outward toward nearby cultural hotspots such as the Centro Fotografico Manuel Alvarez Bravo , the library of the Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, to name just a few of the inspiring gems within walking distance from our headquarters at The Oaxaca Inn Centro.
 

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There is no place on earth like Oaxaca. With its rich blend of 16 indigenous cultures, Spanish Colonial architecture, beautiful light, and the patina of time, it is a photographer's dream location.

Oaxaca's food, famous in Mexico for being the most unique and delicious, was part of UNESCO's decision to honor Mexican cuisine in 2010 as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the first cuisine to be recognized. Oaxacan markets will stun and amaze you. The Hall of Smoke in Centro, where seasoned meat is roasted and grilled to order.  Myriad fruit and vegetable markets will tempt even the most experienced foodie. Sample mamey, a Mexican fruit with magenta flesh, whose taste combines vanilla, honey, and almond - an unforgettable treat. Or try chapulines, protein-rich, delicious grasshoppers roasted with garlic, lime, and salt. If you're a fan of molé, Oaxaca is its home. Dozens of ingredients, herbs and spices simmer for hours to reveal deeply layered flavors. You'll find at least 20 varieties of molé here. Some of the world's best coffee and chocolate is grown in Oaxaca, and we will take full advantage of the opportunity to start our mornings off just right at cafes that would impress a Parisian.

Based in downtown Oaxaca—arguably Mexico's most exciting city, world famous for its food, beautiful architecture, friendly people, galleries, and cultural heritage—you’ll spend mornings in discussion with Amy and Andrew, and afternoons photographing in the city. We will have two optional excursions outside the city. Oaxaca photographer Romina Hierro will also attend to facilitate the workshop. We’ll also have the assistance of photographer Dru Nadler, who lives part-time in Oaxaca and whose expertise is in black and white portraiture.