• A TASTE OF BANGKOK  February 18-25, 2017

    First things you see are the golden temples, the colourful old markets, the neon-lights sois (little alleys) where girls in tight clothes offer their services to the tourists, the best shopping-malls of entire Asia, quarters for backpackers who think time has stopped in the 70’, the local spicy food and food from all over the world, the Buddhist attitude, and hundreds of stereotypes, as you would expect when talking about any Asian metropolis…

    And then you see, or better, perceive Bangkok as whole: where all the stereotypes above are used as a frame, or better a screen, where the real spirit of the city lays.

    Bangkok is Blade Runner come true…Sitting on a stool by one of the main streets, watching any type of transportation man can think of, eating out from a bowl of noodles with fish, among thousands of faces at the bottom of a futuristic skyscraper, lightened by a giant monitor filtered by drizzle of rain…You look the noodles vendor in her eyes, she talks to you as if you understand what she says, and you answer and she pretend to understand…she hands  you an umbrella to protect you from the drizzle, and you keep fighting with your noodles….

    This is Bangkok.

    And this is the workshop we plan to run: a guide to discover the city, get lost and find your way back, in order to find a dimension that only a place like this can offer.

    The dimension of the photographer/traveller, who understands the soul that’s closer to his heart, and manages to photograph it.

    Bangkok is the ideal base for discovering the innumerable faces of contemporary Asia. It is a very modern capital and pleasant city to live in, but it also remains deeply immersed in the eastern culture, Buddhist spirituality, and regional politics.

    The Muay Thai gyms (thai boxe), discovering the life along the river, from big cargoes to fisherman fishing out of their homes on the water, flower and food markets, the amulet market and the best street-food in the world….

    All of the aspects that made this city famous are still here: a national spirit that has never been broken by colonial domination, the artistic grandeur of golden temples and sacred places are experienced intensely, the night-life that challenges the imagination and goes well beyond the expected, and the nature, both on the coasts and inland, that is so famous it doesn’t need a description.

    The Centre of our workshop will be a hotel in the historic heart of the city, in the centre of lively situations both day and night, but it is also self-contained in a sort of green oasis that guarantees the necessary tranquillity and intimacy to post-produce the images captured in the metropolis. The hotel is easily accessible at any moment and reachable within a few minutes.

    Bangkok is certainly a city that offers the most ideas, stimuli and technological support in the world.

  • BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE PALIO, SIENA June 28 - July 3, 2017

    This workshop will take place during the famous “Palio” of Siena in July. It’s not easy to describe what the Palio of Siena is, and a workshop on this subject is equally complicated…! But let’s try.

    The Palio of Siena is the most ancient horse race (and here is the first error because it is much more than just a race) in the world… it began in 1644…Of all the popular manifestations that have remained in the world, the Palio of Siena is one of the truest, most passionately-lived, and most influential on social life: it is not folkloristic, and it is not for tourists. It is quite the opposite…

    It is the fruit of life for the contrada (a “clan”, “community”, or “neighborhood” within Siena) that takes place all year long and has been going on for more than 400 years.There are 10 horses with riders (and the rule is that it is the horse that wins the race, with or without its rider) that represent different contrade. They must complete three laps around the perimeter of the spectacular Piazza del Campo and the first to finish wins the race. Three minutes. This is the short version of the story.

    The long version is infinite. On Google there are 2,570,000 results….We need to begin by speaking about the 17 different contrade that divide the territory of the city of Siena. Then, there is the passion of the people of Siena for the Palio, which is their life. Finally, there are the “fantini” (riders), berberi, capitani, cavalli scossi, mossa, berci, canape; Casato, cencio…

    The only thing that everyone agrees on is that, in order to enjoy the energy of the Palio to its maximum degree, you must experience it for the entire four days that it goes on, following a contrada, if possible, and having a “contradaiolo” (a member of the contrada) as your guide. You should stay with the contrada until the day of the Palio and celebrate the victory with them, or suffer the defeat, or even worse, suffer the victory of the contrada’s adversary…!

    If you don’t come from Siena, or you don’t have friends that are loyal to a particular contrada, choose one to your liking, because you like the name: there are many to choose from and any of them will be fine. Nicchio (Seashell), Valdimontone (Ram), Leocorno (Unicorn), Civetta (Owl), Torre (Tower), Onda (Wave), Chiocciola (Snail), Tartuca (Turtle), Aquila (Eagle), Pantera (Pantheress), Selva (Forrest), Drago (Dragon), Bruco (Caterpillar), Giraffa (Giraffe), Oca (Goose), Lupa (She-wolf), Istrice (Porcupine).

    In the days preceding the Palio, there are two trials a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. You will have the whole day available to “live the life of the contrada”, to get to know the people around you, and in the evening, to eat dinner in the streets together with the true members of the contrada in the most beautiful city in the world. Maybe one day you can also take advantage of visiting the surroundings of Siena: but I doubt that you will be able to distract yourselves from the “fever” of the Palio….

    Our point of view will be a privileged one from the inside. We want to make you understand the mechanisms of the Palio, have you participate in the life of the contrada, and immerse ourselves in this atmosphere, the only one like it in the world. We will not be tourist spectators, but instead we will engross ourselves in the spirit of this experience that must not be missed. Every day, we will meet to critique the photographic work but also to discuss the correct strategies for making the most of these days.

  • TELLING STORIES, TPW TUSCANY, July 30-August 5, 2017

    Of all the changes and innovations in photography that we’ve gotten used to over recent years, the most prominent are certainly those that relate to travel photography.

    Until a few years ago this was a field reserved for great travelers, who worked on commission and were able to stay on location over an extended people of time – dedicating a great deal of time to planning the trip and the photos that would be taken- this has been completely changed.

    The world has become smaller and more homogeneous thanks to easier travel and globalization; rendering this quest for the exotic futile and out of touch.

    Photography, particularly digital photography, can be created with automatic cameras that leave little room for technical error. This allows a vast number of travelers to take their own pictures without having any contact with a developer or printer.

    Besides all of this, the culture surrounding photography is always more aligned with immediate sharing: if before we had boring evenings staring at a projector to see I was here! Now we have social networks that deliver photos in real time, as if to say: I am here! Now!

    Fortunately it isn’t like this for everyone…people do still travel for other reasons: for curiosity, to learn, to know themselves.  Therefore photography is no longer simply postcards, it is becoming our way of interpreting the world, of understanding through images that we create and carry home…and maybe even print!

    ….our photographs become stories…

    This workshop aims to re-evalutate the term “Travel Photography”

    The first order of business is understanding what place photographic service has today: the style, content, ideas and definitions of simple and complex projects.  And, rather importantly, travel planning, photo planning, methodologies for organization once you have arrived on location.  To sum it up: true photographic work.  Then comes the “boring”, but necessary, phase, understood both as a work of digitization of the dark room (the computer) and the creation of archived files easily and ready to spread with unquestionable quality.  It is the workflow, the important process in the life of a photographer, between taking an image and publication or archiving.  And we will also dedicate time to methods of presentation and the distribution of images, currently something entrusted to the web.

    We will look at creating and presenting a first portfolio, how to edit a photographic service whether it be for publication, a contest, an editor or for personal use.

    These aren’t secrets but labor-intensive methods that require, above all, focus and drive: that is our objective.  Really, it is a moment to look deep within ourselves, to understand how much of our life we want to dedicate to this passion, in which direction to go to avoid uselss and frustrating destractions and to be satisfied with our work.

All images are ©Andrea Pistolesi