On Location

Photographing Poetic Mexico

with Maggie Steber

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Course Description

Poetry is an extraordinary aspect of Mexico’s culture, one that lingers in the air wherever you go. From Octavio Paz to Frida Kahlo and many others, Mexican poets have used words to paint a landscape of romance, tragedy, and joy. These poets inspire us to create images of our own that reflect the fragrance of flowers in the air, the cool breeze of night, the squeals of delight from children, the music that carries on the wind.

San Miguel de Allende is a colonial city surrounded by distant green hills and filled with scenic architectural wonders worthy of a film set; on its cobblestone streets, we can almost hear the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. It is here that we seek inspiration in narrative murals, in cathedrals, and in the markets where brightly colored fruits and vegetables serve as a vivid backdrop to daily life.

We begin our first day in San Miguel sharing a dozen or so images with the group. As Maggie discerns participants’ individual interests, she helps you solidify your intentions for the workshop. After lunch, we review Mexican poetry and look at Mexican photography (including conceptual work) to glean ideas and direction for the week, all the while discussing our goals. After the instructor presentations, we will have dinner together and complete our evening with a walk to absorb the magic and poetry of the evening.

Day two invites you get out early and photograph the city just as the sun comes up. We reconvene later in the morning, downloading and reviewing your photographs of the sunrise (and of the previous night’s walk, if you took it). Once you’ve determined what you want to photograph, the rest of the day is yours. We meet up later for an after-dinner walk so you are encouraged to fully immerse yourself in the mystery of nighttime.

After an optional pre-dawn stroll on day three, we touch base to review and discuss our work. Together we will develop a concept or feeling about Mexico in general or San Miguel in particular, focusing on an inspiring aspect of our surroundings or experience. The afternoon will be spent on a location as a group, making photographs that reflect our concepts.

Day four offers the chance to fill your entire schedule with image-making. In addition, Maggie is available for one-on-one critiques, reserved by appointment during two separate time blocks.

Our fifth and final day allows us to edit our work, make selections, and discuss ideas about sequencing. We then create individual photo presentations to be shared after dinner. These are complete multimedia affairs, with titles and music – a celebration of a wonderful week together.

Immerse yourself in a concentrated exploration of a beautiful, evocative, and—yes—poetic city as you make photographs that celebrate the heart and soul of Mexico.

Additional Information

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

The workshop is meant for both professionals and advanced enthusiasts who want to try something more conceptual and lyrical.

What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera.

Portfolio Required:
Please see the Portfolios section of General Information for guidelines on your submission of recent travel related images.
Categories
Creative Vision, Fine Art, One-of-a-Kind
about
Maggie Steber

Maggie Steber is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, 2017-2018, and has worked in 71 countries photographing stories on the human condition, cultures, histories, and science. She was named as one of eleven Women of Vision by National Geographic Magazine and is a regular contributor. Other honors include Pulitzer Prize Finalist 2019, the President’s Award from the Overseas Press Club, the Lucie Award for Photojournalism 2019, Leica Medal of Excellence, World Press Photo Foundation Awards, Pictures of the Year Awards, Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service to Journalism from the University of Missouri, the Alicia Patterson Grant, the Ernst Haas Grant and a Knight Foundation Grant. 

Maggie’s photographs are included in the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim Foundation Collection and the Richter Library Collections at the University of Miami. Earlier in her career, she worked as a photo editor for Associated Press and Director of Photography at The Miami Herald, as well as a contract photographer for Newsweek Magazine. She is affiliated with VII Photo Agency and lives in Miami, FL.

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