Back from Bolivia







Last week I returned from the Bolivian photo workshop «On the Tracks of Che Guevara». After 10 intense and inspiring days with a group of 16 Danish photographers and photojournalists, I can only ascertain that the workshop was a huge success. It was hard work for participants, teachers and organizers, it was strenuous travelling days, it was long evenings and early mornings, it was rain, it was sun, it was merciless but constructive picture critique and it was a constant fight with a clock that didn’t have enough hours each day. We even had to fight mudslides and blocked roads because of infinite amounts of rain the first day after arriving Bolivia and if that wasn’t enough one of the cars in the convoy one day took off in a wrong direction resulting in an extra 100 k’s of driving on bad dirt roads. Still it was a great experience, it was fun, it was eye opening and it was a travel full of impressions. But most importantly every participant developed their photograph skills during the workshop – of course to a greater or lesser degree – and could all at the end show for themselves a strong and personal Bolivian portfolio.

Here are some pictures I took myself during the workshop. Giving a workshop means basically no time to shoot or hardly any time at least. Instead I am happy to say that all the participants came back with excellent pictures – much better than the ones any I took. Which is how a workshop should be. Tomorrow I will be heading back to Malawi to teach another workshop there. This time the theme is foreign journalism which I will be teaching along with my colleague and friend Øystein for 12 Norwegian journalist.

If you want to know more about how the Bolivian workshop went, please have a look at the blog of Blue Hour Photo Workshops.


75 thoughts on “Back from Bolivia

      1. hey! bob of pirancafe is in the area, and we’ve had a great few days. he’s shared a lot about his time in argentina, chile, bolivia y peru… many of his stories were about bolivia.

        yes, after being 100 percent into interactions with new people and new cultures, your senses are all working in top form.. and then there’s that ‘back to reality of ‘normal.’
        i”ll miss bob’s company – it’s been nice to swap stories, attitudes about people, cultures in addition to discussing things like copyrights, asking for permission vs ‘street’ photography etc etc.

        it really does enhance the quality of one’s day. your students surely miss your presence as well!


  1. Høres ut som en fantastisk tur! Håper Malawi blir like bra!
    Et flott utvalg bilder – ville ikke likt å være så tett på den hunden!

    Ønsker dere lykke til i Malawi! : )

    1. Takk skal du ha, Anita. Begge turen ble til slutt kjempemessige. Gleder meg allerede til neste workshop som forhåpentligvis går til høsten.

  2. Wow! That is one rich journey. A mixture of fun, excitement, danger, hardship and adventure. You are blessed my friend to be a part of all these. To see life and culture in Bolivia as it happens. Your pictures speaks of a story so vividly real and inspiring. Thanks.

    1. Thank you. Sometimes I do feel like I am blessed. For sure I really appreciate being able to see the many aspects of life throughout the whole world.

    1. I think energy creates energy. Like the saying goes; if you want something done, go to the one who is most busy. Thanks for the comment, David.

  3. Otto I’m glad your trip to Bolivia. Anything can happen in these distant lands. Go back in time and have surprises that can not be imagined in the first world. The adventure begins in the first minute of landing. The flavor of the journey is in the memory and the colors in the heart of the photographer who seeks the best art.
    Greetings from Argentina.
    Your friend

    1. You are very right in that the flavour of the journey is in the memory. I certainly have many great memories not only from Bolivia but from all over Latin-America. Unfortunately I have only been a little bit in Argentina, but one day I will spend more time there.

  4. Hi Otto, how inspiring to read about your workshop in Bolivia…one day I hope to have the chance to join you…I too just returned from a trip of my own to the West Coast where I worked on several of my collections…so perhaps we are in tandem…although, you are turning around and travelling yet again…look forward to hearing about your next workshop….Meryl

  5. It’s great to hear that you had such success, with your workshop participants coming away with new skills, and probably wonderful enthusiasm for expanding their own art. I am eager to hear more about Bolivia. I learn so much about the world through your very sensitive eyes. Glad you’ve experienced something new you can share with us, Otto.

  6. Welcome back, albeit for a brief moment. Each of the images has its own narrative. They are powerful and thought provoking.

  7. You know, i found those pictures lyrically beautiful and full of emotion, i think you underestimate yourself… i would love to have taken pictures like that!

  8. These photos have a very earthy, rugged feel to them. It really gives them a different dimension.
    I’m glad you got through all the mayhem and arrived safely home with another memorable trip under your belt.

  9. If this is anything to go by, the course must have been excellent indeed. It seems one ought to start saving 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Ahh! I’ll just have to live vicariously through your exploits, Otto. Sounds like the Bolivia trip was great.

    On your first photo, above, I noticed the gentleman on the right sipping an orange drink from a plastic bag. You know, I have seen this practiced for many years in the rural areas of the Philippines. I had asked why and was told that the vendors want to keep the bottles/cans because they get rebates for turning them in. But putting these carbonated drinks in plastic bags is very dangerous. Plastic tends to leech into the drink and you end up drinking some of the plastic!

  11. Your photos are great, Otto. So I’ve better hurry viewing the other Danish photograper’s photos….
    I hope I will one day be able to join one of your workshops!

  12. The second to last photo catches my attention and doesn’t let go. Your students were lucky to have you, and the rest of us are lucky that we get to see your travels without getting stuck in the mud 🙂

  13. Great photos Otto.
    Photo #2 that dog looks as though it would kill you if given half a chance. Yikes.

    I was very interested to read likeitiz’s comment above about the man drinking his carbonated orange drink from a plastic bag. I hadn’t heard about the practice of pouring pop from the bottles into plastic bags “so the seller can get the deposit money”. Oh man its not only unhealthy to drink from a plastic bag those bags are no doubt littering the countryside now…

    1. Unfortunately your are right about littering, Rosanne. Plastic bags are a big problem in many developing countries (and others for that matter). As I said elsewhere the dog wasn’t bad at all, but it sure does look mean on the photo.

  14. Wonderful shot Otto. That dog looks so nice. I bet that he’d love to get to know you better. LOL And I really like the expression on the girl face in the picture next to the last.

  15. Awesome photos, great journey. This is just wonderful to view & read. My God, there’s a whole WORLD out there!!! And you’re in it!! Wonderful.

  16. Sounds like a great trip and a great workshop, Otto. No journey is complete without rain and getting lost along the way. Wonderful shots. 🙂

    1. I think you are right about getting lost when travelling, it’s not travelling if you don’t. But rain I am not so sure about, maybe because I get plenty of it anyway. 🙂

  17. despite the hard moments during the workshop, i bet because of it, your participants learned valuable lessons not to be forgotten too easily. ♥ thank you for sharing!

  18. So glad to hear your workshop was a success. I hope one day to be able to attend such a wonderful learning experience. First I really have to get a new camera. Way too limited with my point and shoot. Especially using my really old one now as my last one purchased which was pretty good has a bit of fuzzy in the lens. Your photos here certainly do show another world in which to share.

    1. It would be great to have you join one of my workshops one day. I wouldn’t worry too much about the camera, though. Today’s point-and-shoot are pretty good. It’s the woman or the man behind the camera that matters (as you probably have heard before). Just keep using whatever you have. 🙂

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