Humbly, it plays out of doorways and invitingly it echoes inside cantinas, it floats through courtyards and is found within most Mexican childhood memories. Music accompanies nearly every celebration, big and small; creating the ambiance for life’s most memorable moments in Mexico.
Our entry into photographing the Mexican culture is an audible and visual immersion into indigenous, Spanish, contemporary and traditional sounds, and the musicians who create them. The breathtaking city of San Miguel de Allende, its surrounding rugged landscapes, grand haciendas, local practice studios, scenic parks, and neighborhood cantinas are our backgrounds as we listen and respond with our cameras. Longtime friends, Pepe Gavilondo and Jennifer Spelman are your guides to creating layered images visually interpretative of the mix of musical ensembles and settings. Mornings and afternoons we toggle between classroom sessions and time on location. The former yields valuable feedback as we review images, explore technical strategies, and practice hands-on techniques; the latter allows us to interact with the rich musical culture in San Miguel de Allende.
This workshop is appropriate for music lovers, documentary and portrait photographers, SLR and iPhone enthusiasts and anyone interested in responding to the Mexican culture creatively.
COVID-19 Update: For all in-person workshops and trips in 2023, Santa Fe Workshops highly recommends that all participants, staff, and instructors attending be up to date with Covid vaccinations (per definition of the CDC). For international trips, local laws will apply, so it is important that you confirm you will be fully vaccinated according to the countries on your trip.
Participants need to be technically self-sufficient, as this is not a workshop to learn how to use your gear or editing software. Participants must be able to download, select, and submit images for class each day.
For participants wanting to stay at Hotel Posada de la Aldea, double accommodations are $415 per person for 6 nights, Wednesday through Monday, (for couples taking workshops and friends traveling together) or $830 per person, single accommodations for 6 nights, Wednesday through Monday. Additional nights at the hotel can be arranged for participants; please discuss needs with the Administration Office in Santa Fe.
$2,895 (USD) includes tuition, breakfast Thursday through Tuesday, lunch Thursday through Monday, final dinner on Monday, and model/location/materials fees if applicable to the class. Hotel accommodations are not included in the package price; see details above.
Jennifer Spelman is a documentary photographer and member of the Jibaro Photos Collective. She is co-publisher of CubaSeen, a quarterly magazine showcasing photography and writing about Cuba.
Jennifer received her photographic training as an assistant with Santa Fe Workshops, working with some of today’s most preeminent photographers: Jay Maisel, Norman Mauskopf, and Joe McNally.
A sensitive photographer of people, Jennifer strives to create portraits with energy and insight. She is most at home on the streets of Havana and has worked with Santa Fe Workshops across Cuba since 2011. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co- instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in Romania, India, Mexico, Japan, in addition to Cuba.
A popular workshop instructor, Jennifer is also part of our Mentorship Program »
Pepe Gavilondo Péon is a Cuban musician, composer, professor of music, and photographer. He has studied music since the age of 7 and in 2014 got his Degree in Musical Composition at the Arts University in Havana. He has worked alongside several Cuban and foreign choreographers and his music has accompanied performances in Cuba, Mexico, United States, and Spain. Pepe is the keyboard player of the famous Grammy-nominated band Sintesis, with whom he also worked as the arranger and orchestrator in two concerts performances in 2015. He also works as a pianist with Cuban songwriters Ariel Díaz and the Lien y Rey duet.
Pepe is part of the staff and specialist of Classical Music at Fábrica de Arte Cubano (FAC), Cuba’s top contemporary art center. He is director and interpreter of the Ensemble Interactivo de La Habana (EIH), an experimental music and improvisation orchestra with whom he has participated in national events like the Festival of Contemporary Music of Havana (Festival de La Habana), the Arts University Festival, the Habana en movimiento street dance Festival, and the Premio de Composición Casa de Las Américas.
As a photographer, Pepe explores two basic worlds — abstract macro photography and street portraits.