Join us in exploring the mysterious, exotic Mayan world of Guatemala, a land where the indigenous live as they have for centuries. The stunningly beautiful colonial town of La Antigua will be our home base and introduction to outdoor markets, music, food and culture. We will stay in a colonial hacienda, with lush courtyard gardens, in the heart of town close to the “Arch” and not far from Parke Central, the town center where abundant street life and many small shops revolve around.
Our workshop begins with a Mayan ceremony led by Calixta Gabriel, a Mayan ‘spiritual healer’ from a remote village, with a Masters Degree in social work. From there we will make day trips to visit new friends in small villages that are nestled in the surrounding mountains. We will spend a day making portraits with a local indigenous family in traditional dress, with kids, aunts, uncles and grandparents all joining in. Then we’ll spend a couple days exploring around majestic Lake Atitlan, completely surrounded by towering volcanoes, considered sacred by the Mayans. Lonely Planet guidebooks calls Lake Atitlan “the most beautiful lake in the world,” and Doug wholeheartedly agrees! On the way to the lake we stop to visit the very active Mayan shrine for Maximon, known as the indigenous “patron saint of vices” where he is worshiped with many candles, rum and hand-rolled cigar smoke. We are often able to witness and photograph ritual cleansings and fire rituals in the courtyard.
During our visit (and why these dates were chosen) we will be celebrating All Souls Day and All Saints Day (Todos Santos) with its Catholic Processions winding through the cobblestone streets of Antigua with parishioners in robes carrying huge, richly decorated platforms housing local Saints. Then we witness the amazing indigenous festivities surrounding Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) with the indigenous celebrating all night with candlelit vigils in colorfully decorated cemeteries. During the day families visit the cemeteries of departed loved one and picnic while children fly kites from graveyards that send messages to the heavens. These will be amazing photo opportunities!
Art Workshops in La Antigua, Guatemala will be hosting this workshop and has many years of experience organizing and planning these extraordinary workshops. We will benefit as well from their numerous local connections and from the fabulous local guides and drivers that make our trip even richer.
You can expect much fun, light-heartedness and serendipity while learning from Doug how to better respond photographically to the world around you and make more personal travel images with feeling, meaning and depth.
Spirit of Place / Todos los Santos Workshop Itinerary
(This itinerary is tentative and subject to change)
Saturday / 28 October: TRAVEL DAY. Let us know your flight info and we pick you up at the airport in Guatemala City (GUA). Lodging at lovely colonial style Hotel San Pedro II 7a Avenida Norte # 29, www.posadasanpedro.net. Overflow Palacio Chico on same block.
Sunday / 29 October: 8:30 am Breakfast Welcome and walking tour of Antigua. Class: Short intro to shooting in Guatemala. San Andreas Ixtapa – home of Maximon it is his birthday… market day or san juan del obispo. 5 pm Evening: Mayan ceremony w Calixta Gabriel Xiquin to help better understand Mayan culture – sorry, not a photo opportunity, no pictures during ceremony please. (But ok during preparation time) Possible processsion from escuela de cristo ..
Monday / 30 October – Breakfast – Doug class time. Equipment and technical overview – Doug’s rules of photography — 2 pm we have a beautiful indigenous family to photograph as models in the hotel, then we go to the ruins.
Tuesday / 31 October Halloween:: Breakfast at 8:30 am – It’s a fun evening to be out in Antigua, kids and all ages in costumes .. best to hang out in the park with change (not candy).
Wednesday / TODOS SANTOS 1 November: Breakfast – It’s a great day in the cemetaries all over Guatemala! We’ll drive around in a PU truck and visit small nearby villages including San Miguel Duenas, Cuidad Vieja and San Antonio Aguas Caliente. Afterwards, we’ll make tamales and tortillas with Dona Filo in San Antonio Aguas Caliente. Evening discussion on direction of personal work and goals. Individual assignments will come out of these talks.
Thursday / 2 November ALL SOULS DAY: Breakfast 8:30 am-10 am. We’ll leave for Lake Atitlan via coast road. Stop in San Lucas Toliman, see Maximon, cemetary and lunch at Hotel Toliman. Then onto Santiago Atitlan. Class discussion – mood and spirit – how to include more of yourself in your work. We stay at Posada Santiago. www.posadadesantiago.com
Friday / 3 November: Breakfast – market day – morning free to explore Santiago. 4:30 pm. Make a spirit house with Dolores. Schedule time for one on ones with Doug. Evening: we’ll discuss travel photography – not just pretty pictures, digging deeper for more meaningful images.
Saturday / 4 November: Breakfast – then we’ll take a boat trip 9:30 am to San Juan la Laguna. Evening review of assignments and work in progress.
Sunday / 5 November: Breakfast – morning in Santiago, late morning head back to Antigua. 4 pm Possible procession from Escuela de Cristo. Afternoon free for your last minute shopping etc…
5 – 7 pm Art Workshops Despedida – get together and have a little wine, beer, hor derves, show your work, exchange addresses and say fond farewells to your new-found friends.
Tuesday / 6 November: Shuttle transport to Guatemala City airport for flights home
Who Should Attend:
We invite all those searching to expand their artistic and creative horizons and explore new cultures. Emphasis is less on technique and more on increasing visual awareness of our surroundings and how to better interpret and express that photographically. The itinerary reflects Doug’s deep respect and passionate interest in indigenous peoples and the timeless quality of sacredness in their lives. He had made this trip over 13 times now and it is one of his very favorite places in the world to visit and photograph. This workshop is appropriate for all levels, but must have a working knowledge of your camera. Non-photographer spouses and partners also welcome to join us on this one. They will not be disappointed!
Student Testimonials About This Workshop:
“I came away with a better understanding of connecting with the people I photograph. I enjoyed being with you so much and the experience was awesome. Knowing your approach with people and sharing some of your philosophy meant so much to me.”
– Jinny Lee, Sanford, NC
– Chad Niemeyer, Cedar, MN
“I can’t believe it is a week since we got home, I can’t believe this workshop went by sooo fast. I can’t believe how great it was, and I can’t believe that I got to be there! I am so glad!!
– Elisabeth Krey Jensen, Stavanger, Norway
“It was a life-changing week. I learned the difference between ‘taking’ photos and ‘making’ photos. When you take a photo you steal the spirit. When you make a photo you share the spirit. Thanks again for the great teaching/mentoring. You’re the best.”
– Rev. Tracey Lind, Patterson, NJ
“I like the feeling of seeing life through the heart and the camera becoming the tool by which you hold the images. It takes hard work and discipline but I am grateful to have the opportunity to try. Meeting, observing, and working with you in Guatemala has provided me a big one. I believe life will give more.”
– Clelia Belgrado, Genoa, Italy
“Doug’s method was exactly what I needed. I was searching to find my artistiv view and hoped to get some direction in this class. He enlightens the photographic path and makes it all seem like each frame is a purpose. Each day he assigns small but thoughtful things to capture, sometimes challening and sometimes so obvious yet I would have never thought of it. He is a wonderful teacher with good humor and sensitive compassion.”
– Janell Vircks, Minneapolis, Minnesota
“Great workshop…changed my life! (REALLY!)”
–Anne Howley, Culver City, CA
“It has been ten years (10 !!!) since attending your workshop in Guatemala. That was a life changing experience – both photographically and inter-personally as well. I’m still influenced by that journey and my photography has certainly evolved since then. Thank you!”
– Chuck Kirshner, Bainbridge Island, WA
“I’m back in NYC, but my heart’s in Guatemala. It was a wonderful experience on so many levels — learning, spiritual, social.”
– Leslie Yerman, New York, NY
“Thank you for opening my eyes to the artistic and spiritual world of photography!”
– Andrea Olson, River Falls, WI
View student photography from Guatemala
View Doug’s photos from Guatemala
Dates: Saturday October 28 – Tuesday November 6
Saturday October 28: Travel to Guatemala, shuttle from airport to Antigua B&B
Tuesday November 6: Shuttle to Guatemala City airport, flights home
Includes tuition, lodging in a beautiful colonial style B&B, hearty breakfast and all ground transportation including shuttle to and from the airport. Airfare not included.
Register: Visit www.artguat.org