March 2013



boots & flowers

South x Southeast is pleased to introduce our new feature, Guest Series, with the acclaimed photographer

Ernesto Bazan


Artist’s Statement

While working as a photographer for over three decades, I’ve always tried to do personal work to feed my soul. Being a photographer has been more than a profession: it has been a true mission in my life thanks to the mystical dream I had when I was seventeen. Since the very first moment in my career a strong spiritual energy has pervaded both my personal and professional life. When asked what type of photography I practice, I only like to reply that I’m simply a photographer, a poet of daily life, far from being a documentarian and photojournalist. The more I do it the more it becomes more evident.

The fourteen years I lived in Cuba is part of my spiritual path and has changed my life in so many different ways. Finding my life’s companion, Sissy, and becoming a father of my beloved twin boys, Pietro and Stefano, are probably the two most important things of a string of changes that occurred while living on the island.

When Sissy got pregnant, it became clear that the time had come for me to move to Cuba and so I did. I was no longer an outsider, a foreign photographer parachuting himself in and out of the island: I started living, seeing and photographing from the inside. I steeped myself in my Cuban life. The work turned more intimate. I was able to break the invisible glass between my subjects and me.

In Cuba, I also understood that in my entire professional career I had been unconsciously looking for my happy Sicilian childhood. Almost by magic I had found it there. My entire vision of life was deeply affected by this encounter.

In 2001, getting bored and frustrated over my work as an editorial photographer, I woke up one day and said to myself, “I’m going to teach workshops.”

I can say without any doubt that teaching my own workshops has been one of the best things that I’ve done in my life. Everyday it becomes clearer that it’s a mission. I teach workshops with only one student or with many. It makes no difference: I simply know that I have to do so. I need to help my students to get better, to understand more profoundly what it takes to make an image that can convey the essence of a moment, of a feeling, of an emotion. Oftentimes, being a good photographer doesn’t necessarily translate at all — you can be a good teacher or vice versa. It’s another precious gift that I’ve been given. It has been a turning point, both in my life as a photographer and as a man.



Ernesto Bazan was born in Palermo in 1959. He received his first camera when he was 14 years old and began photographing daily life in his native city and in the rural areas of Sicily. Photography has been more than a profession: a true passion, a mission in his life.

Ernesto is a world-class photographer and teacher. His students hail from all over the globe and remain true colleagues in the creative process that resulted in his latest book of photography. Al Campo is an in-depth color exploration of life in the Cuban countryside where he lived for fourteen years.

Bazan has published several books: The Perpetual Past, Passing Through, The First Twenty Years, Island, Molo Nord. He has had exhibitions in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

Ernesto’s photographs have been exhibited at MOMA and ICP in New York, SFMOMA in San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona, the Fondazione Italiana della Fotografia in Turin, the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris, and the Musee Rattau in Arles. In 2002, Ernesto Bazan created his own photographic workshops providing special emphasis in Latin America. Several hundred students have studied with him in the last six years. He lives in Veracruz, Mexico.