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Photographing in a foreign country is always an exhilarating experience and can even be life changing. Considered one of the world’s greatest cities, San Miguel de Allende offers exploration of the heart and soul. Inspiration and poetry linger in the air and just around the corner.
Filled with Spanish colonial buildings from the 1700s, artists and ex-pats, San Miguel has always drawn the “creative” and has a long literary history of famous writers and poets including the Beat writers.
Our goal in this workshop is to go beyond the obvious and find the poetry and heart of the Mexican culture. To warm us up, we will read the poems of Mexican poetry and literature, which will bring us closer to the mysterious.
San Miguel takes us into the past through the architecture on the streets and in the parks where life is exploding morning, noon, and night … life rolled out right in front of you. You discover a deeper level of sensual awareness to interpret photographically: a breeze blowing a woman’s scarf, or a man and child scuffling down the pebbled streets, the way that tree shadows play on the buildings when the breeze blows, small things that tell their own stories.
We meet in class part of the day to review work and discuss ideas. There will be evening walks together or in small groups to experience all levels of life in this beautiful culture.
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 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 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 is spent on a location as a group, making photographs that reflect our concepts.
Similarly, 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.
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.
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.
The workshop is meant for both professionals and advanced enthusiasts who want to try something more conceptual and lyrical.
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 transfer images to their own jump drive for class each day
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.