Antigua, Guatemala – Friday brought increasing efforts by students to complete projects, including further discussions with instructors, and capturing final images, editing and sequencing them.
But it was all complicated by a huge and delightful distraction – Antigua’s annual celebration of its saint’s day (Saint James). A massive parade, which seemed to include every school child in the town and many adults as well, kicked off at 9:00a.m. and continued for several hours.
Marching bands with horns and drum lines kept the rhythm alive. A diverse group of parade participants, which included ten-foot giant figures, religious clubs wearing black robes with peaked hats and masks (reminiscent of the KKK costumes), and school groups undergoing occupational training, each gave insight into the aspirations and culture of town citizens.
It ended with a simulated bullfight, supported by costumed picadors, matadors and beautiful women. The crowd shouted “Ole!” each time the paper mache bull charged the matador. The procession was a photo opportunity not to be missed.
Evening brought another inspiring showing of instructor work, led off by Adriana Zehbrauskas, who showed a portion of the video “Beyond Assignment.” The work showed her photographing life in the Tepito barrio in Mexico City. It provided a telling demonstration of effective but sensitive photographer interaction with a subjects.
Venezuela native Oscar Castillo showed a body of work he had captured in his native country, which he called “Our War, Our Pain.” The images dramatically portrayed the current civic conflict within Venezuelan society, including crime and other problems.
Next, Ron Haviv presented a video on gold mining in the Amazon basin of Peru, entitled “Amazon Gold.” It traced the illegal gold extraction, which denudes forests and exposes the Amazon river environment to poisonous chemicals used in the separation of the gold.
Finally, Andrea Bruce presented work from Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Syria. The work, compiled with thoughtful sensitivity, often focused on those suffering around the wars, such as women, children and refuges.
The evening was topped off by a question and answer session from the audience.