Excellent Photography

© Jathushiga Bridget Rajah
© Inger Ellen Eftevand Orvin
© Vigdis Robberstad
© Katharina Dale Håkonsen
© Monica Broen
© Nicolaas Kuipers

As I wrote in my last blog post, the photo workshop in Bolivia in the end of September and beginning of October was a great experience for both participants and the organizers, that is me and my colleague Sven Creutzmann.

Not only was it great experience, though, during the ten days the workshop lasted, the participants grew and showed significantly developments. Of course, to varying degree. For anyone who is already an experience photographer, it’s always harder to show any drastic improvements. However, those in an earlier stage of their development have a larger potential for advancing their photography. And that’s exactly what happened during the Bolivia workshop. It was great fun to watch how they all were able to capture stronger and more enchanting images, particularly as the days went by and towards the end of the workshop.

Here is a handful of their captivating images, showing the rural life in the eastern mountains of Bolivia. Enjoy!

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A Delightful Bolivia Workshop

I have just returned from teaching my latest photo workshop in Bolivia. It was a really fun workshop, with dedicated participants, lots of photo opportunities and plenty of enjoyable moments. Most important for us, the workshop teachers, was seeing how each participants were able to develop their photography during the 10 days we were travelling in eastern parts of Bolivia.

This workshop involves a lot more travelling than most of the workshops I teach. More or less every second day we were taking off to a new town or village, which both makes the workshop more adventures as well as add some pressure with regards to being able to find time for picture critiques and lectures every day.

We were travelling in the footsteps Che Guevara and his failed revolutionary attempt in Bolivia fifty years ago. Following his last days was just a framework for the travel not a theme for the photographing—unless participants chose to do so. After meeting up in Santa Cruz, the financial hub in eastern Bolivia, we took off first to Samaipata, then to Vallegrand and La Higuea before returning to Santa Cruz. The highlight was no doubt La Higuera, a small village high up in the mountains with a handful of houses and only 43 inhabitants.

I think it’s fair to say, that the combinations of daily feedback on photos the participants take as well as being able to photograph one and one next to either me or my colleague Sven Creutzmann, with whom I taught the workshop, give a good dynamic for each participant to develop his or her photography. The result was noticeable. A lot of very strong imagery was captured during the workshop.

This is the third team we have organized this workshop.

Here are a couple of glimpses behind the scene during the workshop. Later on, I will get back with photos we shot during the ten days in Bolivia.

On the Road Again

As you are reading this post, I am getting going teaching another photo workshop in Bolivia. It has just started. Today, Monday, we are heading out from Santa Cruz, the regional centre in eastern Bolivia, to the village of Samaipata. Over the next week plus, we will continue to Vallegrande and La Higuera and finally head back again to Santa Cruz at the end of next week.

I have been looking forward both to be on the road and not the least to teach this workshop again. Last time we did it—that is my friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann and I—was back in 2013. We have a nice group of participants with us this time, most of whom have attended at least one of our workshops before.

This is definitely a photo workshop for the more adventures photographers. Yes, here in Santa Cruz we stay at a great and quit luxurious hotel, but hereafter it’s going to be plenty of bumpy roads and the most unpretentious of accommodations. Simply because that’s all there is in the towns and village up in the eastern mountains of Bolivia.

The tour will follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara. For some he was a hero, for some a terrorist. No matter what you think about him, the history and how it all ended here in the mountains of Bolivia is fascinating.

I will try to keep you posted about the trip and the workshop as we go, but cannot promise anything. Internet is not well accessible in these rural areas. Anyway, here we go.

Photo Workshop in Bolivia

I have written about it before. But I would like to once again mention that my colleague Sven Creutzmann and I are planning an extra ordinary photo workshop in Bolivia. It will be all about photography—of course—and travelling in a fascinating country with an amazing landscape—and its beautiful people. And again we are following the footsteps of Che Guevara and his last days in Bolovia before he was captured and killed by the Bolivian army. We will meet people who met with Che Guevara and took care of him during those last days.

Although, following his footsteps will only be a red thread through our own photographic journey where the pictures by the participants will be the focus on an everyday basis. If you would like to join, Sven and I will guide you to a better understanding of your photographic vision, we will push you to express it as best you can in your shooting and we will teach you how to approach the photographic process with a creative and personal touch. This workshop is directed to photographers of all levels, beginners to advanced professionals. In other words: Whoever loves photography! In this workshop you will improve your photographic skills; you will learn to better use your camera and improve your understanding of light. The main focus will be on the picture, not on the technical part of the photographic process.

This workshop will take place from September 23rd to October 2nd 2019 and we start our photographic journey from Santa Cruz, the capital of the eastern province of Bolivia and the business centre of the country. From there we will travel up into the lower mountains (up to 3000 meters above sea level) where Che Guevara tried to impose his revolution in Bolivia more than 40 years ago. If you think experiencing—and photographing—this beautiful part of the world with two very experienced photographer sounds like a dream come true, maybe it’s time to plan to join the workshop in the autumn coming up.

There are still space if you ware interested in participating.
For more info, please click on the link

Two Adventures

I think there is no better way to develop your photography and creative skills than attending a workshop. It’s usually a concentrated couple of days or a week full of intense experiences in which you will be pushed beyond your usual boundaries. Through daily teaching, practice and not the least feedback, you get an invaluable chance to grow and expand. Moreover, the exchange with other students is such an inspirational and transcending experience. And if you choose to attend a workshop out of your regular environment, for instance going to a foreign country, the travel will become a source of stimulation in and of itself.

As such, I would like to promote two photo workshops I am teaching this year. They will certainly be adventures for anyone attending them. One of them takes place in fascinating Cuba in the late spring while the other heads to little exploited areas in Bolivia in the autumn.

Cuba needs no further introduction. This Caribbean island nation is pure bliss for a photographer of any kind. The colours, the light, the energy, the culture, the history and not the least its people—Cuba is a blast for all sense. Anyone who has travelled to Cuba knows this. For the same reasons Cuba is heaven for a photo workshop.

Bolivia is more subtle and more reticent, but nonetheless an equally fascinating country to visit. It’s first of all a mountainous country, colourful in its own terms, particularly the country’s majority of indigenous people in their traditional costumes. It’s a laidback country, authentic and unpretentious. Beautiful countryside. Lots of history. Exciting food. And, yes, for photographers Bolivia offers plentiful of opportunities.

My Cuba photo workshop runs from May 4th to 11th. During the week, we will start up with a couple of days in Havana and then head out to the picturesque, colonial city of Trinidad for the remainder of the time. For more information, look up Street Photography in Cuba.

If Cuba is an adventure, so Bolivia is even more. This photo workshop will take you to the eastern mountains of the country, where we will follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara’s last day before being captured and executed. We will visit small towns and village not usually visited by tourists. This photo workshop takes place from September 23rd to October 2nd. For more information, look up On the Tracks of Che Guevara.

Whether you attend one of my workshops or any other photo workshops taught by other organizers, I strongly recommend the experience. I know both as an organizer and one who participates myself. Later this year, I will attend a photo workshop myself in Rome. Maybe I’ll see you there?

How you ever attended a workshop—and how was the experience?

Photo Workshops in Planning

Two of the participants during the Bolivia workshop in 2013
The participants of the 2010 Bolivia workshop

Sitting at my desk here in Seattle, looking out at the cold mist cramping down on the urban scenery outside my window, I can all the more enjoy spending time planning next year’s photo workshops. Honestly, it’s always fun to plan upcoming workshops. I love teaching and planning is part of the built-up.

If everything goes according to plan, next year I will teach four workshops on three different continents. Some of them will be very adventurous while others while be more laidback. They will vary from weekend long workshops to a tour stretching almost a fortnight. There should be a workshop for most aspiration. Maybe I’ll see you in one of them?

Once again, I will teach a photo workshop in Cuba in May. This is my most popular workshop, which I teach together with my friend and colleague, Sven Creutzmann. We have done this since 2007, almost every year. Here on my blog I have written many a post about Cuba, and if you follow me, I don’t need to introduce you to this fascinating country. It’s certainly a country that it’s a dream place for most photographers, colourful with openhearted people and photo opportunities around every corner.

Next year’s photo workshop will take place from May 4th to 11th. If you may be interested, you’ll find more information on Blue Hour Photo Workshops, «Street Photography in Cuba».

For Sven and me it’s extra exciting to re-launch a photo workshop in Bolivia. This will be a truly adventurous workshop, in which we follow the footsteps of Che Guevara, up until he was captured and killed by the Bolivian army. We will travel through small mountain towns and off the beaten tracks in a lush and beautiful landscape. We will meet local people and we will talk with some of those who took care of Che Guevara after he was captured. In all modesty, this is quite an extraordinary photo workshop.

The Bolivia workshop will take place from September 15th to 24th. For more information, once again look up Blue Hour Photo Workshops, «On the Tracks of Che Guevara».

In addition to the Cuba and Bolivia workshop, I will teach yet another weekend workshop in Bergen, Norway in the beginning of June. Next year I also plan a complete new photo workshop in Seattle, USA. The date is yet not settled, but it will take place in the autumn of 2019. These two workshops I will get back to with more info.

Che and I

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I have come to the finally presentation of work done by the participants of the Bolivian photo workshop in spring this year. Marianne Leth had a very different and personal approach to the project she was working on during the workshop. Since she was born on the same date as Che Guevara, the rebel who ended his days in Bolivia and whose footstep the workshop was following, she wanted to delve into that connection through her photographs. She was looking for traces of Che Guevara wherever we went. At first that wasn’t quite enough, until she got the idea of combining these black and white pictures with iPhone pictures of herself in various places in Bolivia. Marianne has a very distinctive eye and a strong and personal vision that radiates from her pictures. Through the combination of the two different photos and by adding quotes by Che Guevara she is able to transcend a poignant relationship between land and people, herself and Che Guevara and between idea and reality. To get the most out of her work displayed here, please click on each image to getter a bigger view.

If you want to see more of Marianne’s pictures from Bolivia, you can look up the book Bolivia 2013 which showcases the work of all the participants. All the images are available on preview, but it’s also possible to buy the book.

The Concerned Photographer

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In the presentation of work by the participants of the Bolivia photo workshop earlier this year, I have come to the second to last. Hung Tien Vu is an experienced photograph with a very distinctive photographic vision. His approach is personal and compassionate. He looks for those small details that brings forward the story in an image and heightens the viewer’s experience. Always with an eye for the deeper meaning. In many ways he represents what Cornell Capa (brother of the famous Robert and the found of International Center of Photography in New York) once described as the concerned photographer.

The pictures shown here were taken by Hung during the Bolivian photo workshop, and if you want to see more of his pictures from Bolivia, you can look up the book Bolivia 2013 which showcases the work of all the participants. All the images are available on preview, but it’s also possible to buy the book.

The Universal in the Ordinary

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During the Bolivian photo workshop this spring Jesper Voldgaard was one of the participants who showed an amazing development. He has an eye for those little details and situations that tells a bigger story than just what appears at first sight. Jesper is able to transcend the ordinary into something universal. The sadness and openness in a child’s eyes shows the sadness of all children in the world. Two humorous elderly represent all the good spirit of old people. Jesper has a humble approach to his subjects, you see in his pictures the respect he feels for people he encounters and captures. He is a humanitarian photographer in its rightful meaning.

Unfortunately it’s not possible to show more than a handful of Jesper’s pictures, but if you want to see more of his work from Bolivia, you can look up the book Bolivia 2013 which showcases the work of all the participants. All the images are available on preview, but it’s also possible to buy the book.

A Classical Photographer

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Rudy Hemmingsen is a photographer with a classical trained eye. In his photograph he likes to get close to people, capturing what could be said to be traditional portraits with a focus on showing people’s character in a straightforward manner. He doesn’t need to use artificial manipulation in the post-processing, but trusts his ability to observe and catch the spirit of his fellow human beings at the moment of capture. Rudy is drawn to life, to graceful composition, to light and colours. He uses all the characteristic features provided by the camera to capture the worlds as he sees it, for instance using a slow shutter speed as some of the examples here shows.

Rudy’s pictures were taken during the Bolivian photo workshop I taught in Bolivia last spring, and if you want to see more of his pictures from Bolivia, you can look up the book Bolivia 2013 which showcases the work of all the participants. All the images are available on preview, but it’s also possible to buy the book.