Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Travel with Purpose!  Connect with culture through photography.

With her 19 years experience as a portrait photographer, Trina will lead you in photography lessons on visual storytelling, the decisive moment, composition, sculpting light and capturing gestures. An emphasis will be made on connecting with people while immersing yourself in a new culture.

This workshop is suitable for image makers coming from different levels of photography. If you are a beginner, you will not be lost; if you are advanced you will not be held back, as each person will have their photographs personally reviewed and critiques customized to your level.
Throughout the week our team of instructors will give you feedback on your images. You will greatly benefit from this diverse group of artists.

Along with Trina, the Photo Cuba team includes, Photoshop expert and illustrator Scott Mooney and surrealistic Cuban painter, German Portuondo. German is a professor of Fine Art and director of the Guillermo Collazo Galeria de Arte in Chivirico. In particular, German brings great insight and a truly unique Cuban perspective to the students understanding of their images.

By collaborating with local Cuban photo guides, we will help you to quickly connect to real people and the rhythm of daily life in Cuba. Chivirico is not a touristy town; instead you will find babies, school kids, seniors, fisherman, bakers, commuters, dogs, chickens and pigs going about their lives in the most natural of ways. These kinds of photographic opportunities usually reserved for professional journalists will be an abundant part of our program.

Since you will be immersed in Cuban life through photography, there will be lectures on Cuban culture, music, dance and art to enhance your Cuban experience.

Los Galeones hotel is situated between the Caribbean Sea and the famous Sierra Mountain Range. Chivirico is next door to Umbaro, where Castro and his comrades lead THE Revolution.

Our nighttime activities include sipping back Mojitos while listening to one of the many fabulous musicians that play nightly at the hotel. This is a fun, socially interactive experience for people of all ages, singles and couples. We encourage travel companions to join us during meal times. Although this is a group workshop, participants should feel at ease knowing solitude time will be respected.

At the end of the week we will continue our adventure in downtown Santiago de Cuba, staying in the city centre at Casa Pariclaires (Bed & Breakfasts).  Our time there will include a guided tour of the streets of Santiago with options to visit the best museums and galleries. There will be an optional sunset photo shoot at El Morro Castle. Following that we will enjoy an authentic Cuban feast on a rooftop terrace overlooking the historic city and then continue the celebration at a local Salsa dance club afterwards. We will have options to go to the farmer’s market, visit the Centro de Arte Gallery and enjoy a spin around the city in a “coco-cab”.

Our Photo Cuba experience will wrap up with a slideshow celebrating the images from the week. This slideshow will go on to exhibit at the local gallery so the people in the community can enjoy the photos of themselves.

Since the inception of Photo Cuba, Chivirico now has a photo club. In the past, students have brought donations of digital photo and computer equipment and art supplies to help support the arts in the community. We encourage your participation in this program as a way of giving back culturally.

Photo Cuba is an adventure into the heart of Cuban culture, to a place that has soul.  A creative experience you’ll never forget is waiting to embrace you!

To reserve your spot or if you have any questions please call Trina or Karen at 519-767-2948 or email trinakoster@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photo Cuba 2009 Pictures Delivered!

Sandra Herber, one of our lovely wonderful Photo Cuba 2009 workshop students, returned to Cuba recently for a second trip and graciously delivered prints of all the photos of the people of Chivirico (Santiago de Cuba) that were taken by the students this February. Here is her photo report:

Hi everyone,

Just thought I'd drop you all a quick note to say what a great time I had in Cuba last week. Everyone was thrilled to receive your photos - it was really lovely to see. I took all the photos to the gallery and within a few hours people had come to pick up their own photos and those of people they knew and 90% of them were gone! When I left there were only a few that hadn't been claimed and German thought they belonged to people from other towns who had come into Chivirico to deal with the local government. He believed they would be back and someone would tell them to come into the gallery to pick up their photos. Cheisser took me around for an afternoon delivering photos to people that he knew. As well, I took photos back to people I knew and I've attached a few snapshots of people receiving their photos. Suffice it to say that it was a real treat for me to take all your pictures back and they were unanimously well-received.

As you'll see in the background to one of the photos, the exhibition had arrived by the time I left (and German was arranging it). I was not able to see it up, but it should be up by now. German was very happy with the photographs.

Hope you're all well,


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ruth Howard: 3-time Photo Cuba Participant!

Making photos on the southwest coast of Cuba, is a dream come true. From both a photographic and a personal point of view, Chivirico is unlike any other place in the world. It is enticing and seductive. Add Trina’s excellent touch as a teacher of photography and traveling companion, and you truly do have magic.

The openness of the local people is so inviting, even when they have their backs turned to us, as in “Old Sole” [above]; in this picture, it doesn’t matter that we are unsure whether the subject is male or female. Actually, for me, it’s the not knowing that helps make this photo, because the subject and its story have universal application.

The citizens of Chivirico are totally comfortable with having their photos taken. Their gestures and their body language say snap me… The life they lead is so different from ours, because of both the stunning geography and the intricacies of the island’s politics, yet these people are our extended family.

The warmth and acceptance is pure joy for us, and despite our having visited Chivirico six times in just over two years, we continue to find the village a wonderful place to keep building on our creative forces. The progression in the style of our own work over the past two years is obvious. Trina always spurs us on to new and different ways of looking at our subject matter, and our creativity has become so much more fluid and emotional.

Just when I think that I have squeezed out everything that I can, photographically, from this little corner of the world, somehow I am revitalized and inspired again. This past February I fell in love with shooting into the sun, a total departure for me. I am enjoying the challenge of the direction in which my work is moving.

Typically, I have been shooting thousands of photos when we’re visiting Chivirico and Santiago de Cuba. I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore: rather, I shall be concentrating on expressing meaning in a more abstract and focused style.

It is pretty well guaranteed that nowhere else in the world will you find people so amenable to being photographed as they go about their daily business. Each time we’re in Cuba we’ve learned something new about ourselves and making pictures in a new way, which we can apply to all our photography.

Ruth xo

Thanks to Ruth Howard for sharing her images and thoughts! You can find more photos by Ruth and her equally talented partner Alan Madras at their website, http://www.connaughtplacestudio.ca/

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sue Rietschin: PhotoCuba Workshop Student!

Sue joined us for PhotoCuba 2008 and made some wonderful pictures! Here's the comment Sue gave me to put with her photos here:

"The experience of having such a wide range of things to photograph is wonderful. People, animals, architecture, landscape, flowers...everything one could want is in Cuba. Trina's help in learning what makes a good photo is invaluable and the input from the Cubans involved added so much to the learning. I have so many photos taken there that I really like...it is hard to select a few!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lonely Planet guides says...

(about Santiago de Cuba)

"Nowhere else in Cuba will you find such a colorful combination of people, or such a resounding sense of historical destiny. Diego Velazquez made the city his second capital, Fidel Castro used it to launch his embryonic revolution, Don Facundo Bacardi based his first ever rum factory here and just about every Cuban music genre from salsa to son first emanated from somewhere in these dusty, rhythmic and undeniably sensuous streets."

PhotoCuba! 2008 Was Sooo Good!

We had a really fun time with the Photo Cuba workshop again this year. 16 participants joined us for the photo workshop plus a few other spouses and friends came as travel companions. Once again the cultural exchange has been rich and exciting. (I'm working on getting images together from the students to share with you soon.) Everyone had a great time and made some fantastic photos, on May 9th we will be slide show of the student's work at the Photo Cuba '08 group exhibit.

Our fearless leaders! This is our team of teachers. From left to right: Laura Taylor has been involved with our studio here in Guelph for about a decade. She's been a student, a teacher, and one of our team of wedding photographers. German (second from left) is a surrealist painter and the director of the local art gallery. He's also a professor of fine art. He did several talks about Cuban art, principals of art in general, as well as sharing his unique perspective on composition and concept during student critiques. The next guy there is Arisdan, our technical assistant. And then there's Trina, head teacher, organizer, visionary and CEO of the Photo Cuba! workshop.

As a part of the workshop experience we take the participants into Santiago de Cuba for a photo excursion. This year, we visited Centro Provincal de las Artes Plasticas, a public art gallery, where the work from our PhotoCuba! workshops from 2006 and 2007 was hanging! What an honour! German (pronounced “Her-man” with a rolled ‘r’), our Cuban art teacher arranged it. We had no idea just how much the local art community valued the project.

The following week, Trina, German, Arisdan and myself returned back to this gallery for Trina to give an artist's talk about her own personal work. She showed a slideshow of her “Searching for Sensuality” photo project, which includes her “Special Waters” images. During the Q&A one of the Cuban artist asked Trina if she would teach a workshop for Cubans.
The Gallery; Centro Provincal de las Artes Plasticas

Trina's Talk

German, two artists involved in curating the gallery show, Trina and Arisdan.

In the interest of keeping this workshop a true exchange the students bring donations of clothing and art supplies for the community. This year there was a large duffel bag full of art supplies for the grade schools in and around Chivirico.

Some of the Donated Art Supplies

Trina and Arisdan did a class talk for a grade two class at a local school to explain how photography is an art form and why it's so wonderful to photograph in their community.

This guy is the School Principal...

... And this, of course, is the class.
We received some beautiful drawings from the kids at the school expressing their gratitude for the art supplies that was brought to their school. So, thanks again to all of you who generously packed their bags with donations.

All in all this has been another very positive cultural experience for us and we're really looking forward to returning back next year.

Ruth Howard and Alan Madras's Exhibit

Alan Madras and Ruth Howard attended our first Photo Cuba! workshop. They fell in love with Cuba. They returned again and again (including attending our second Photo Cuba! workshop the following year) building relationships there and making beautiful photographs. Now they're having an exhibition all about it. It runs October 5 to 25 at Artistic Grounds, 167 Bathurst Street, Toronto. For more info on this photographic couple, their website is www.ConnaughtPlaceStudio.ca.

Here are some of those beautiful photos for you to see!

Photo Cuba! 2007 Student's Images

Photographer : Sue Rietschin, Day 3

Photographer : Sharon Mullin, Day 3

Photographer : Ruth Howard, Day 3

Photographer : Doreen Kirkland, Day 3

Photographer : Bobbi Porter, Day 3

Photographer : Bob Davis, Day 3

Photographer : Barbara Booth, Day 3

Photographer : Amanda Mullin, Day 3

Photographer : Irene Yong, Day 2

Photographer : BobLiptrap, Day 2

Photographer : Alan Madras, Day 2

Photographer : Sara Williams, Day 1

Photographer : Emma Smallbone, Day 1

Photographer : Bogna Dembek, Day