On December 2018, I went to one of my favorites cities in Mexico, its name is Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a city located in the south part of Mexico and is full of culture, traditions and extraordinary food. In this post I will talk about Mezcal and photography.

Let’s start with Mezcal; its a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave. Agaves or magueys are found in many parts of Mexico, but most mezcal is made in Oaxaca. A saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink is: “Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también.” (“For everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good as well.”) It is unclear whether distilled drinks were produced in Mexico before the Spanish Conquest. The Spaniards were introduced to native fermented drinks such as pulque, made from the maguey plant. Soon, the conquistadors began experimenting with the agave plant to find a way to make a distillable fermented mash. The result was mezcal.

Today, mezcal is still made from the heart of the agave plant, called the piña. In Mexico, mezcal is generally consumed straight and has a strong smoky flavor. Though other types of mezcal are not as popular as tequila (made specifically from the blue agave in select regions of the country).

“Don Odilon” – Hierve el Agua – Oaxaca by torobravophotography 

Now lets talk about Photography…

As I have already told in my previous posts, photography is my passion, since 3 year ago I decided to always carry a camera with me, as I am convinced that the perfect photo is the one that you have not taken yet, you need to be prepared always. In this case I was driving to a place named Hierve el Agua, which is amazing by the way, and in the road I found a small “palenque” or a place in which craft mezcal is done, I stopped and entered the place.

There were just to persons in charge of the business, Mr. Odilon (the man in the upper photo) was in charge and the production and the sales. As soon as I saw him I tough that I would need to take some photos to remember this moment, my strategy was to be kind, talk with him. After some minutes talking, he and I felt more comfortable so I start talking about photography and I asked him if I can take some picture and this is the result…

Tell me in the comments if you like the photos¡

“Don Odilon” – Hierve el Agua – Oaxaca by torobravophotography 
Mezcal Production – Hierve el Agua – Oaxaca by torobravophotography 

ToroBravoPhotography.

Instagram accounts: torobravophotography for BNW or jair_100 my personal account.

Panama Street Hair Cut by torobravophotography 

If you have gone to Panama, you have might seen that there are many street barber shops. Yesterday a friend told me that he wanted to have his hair cut in one of this places and have a unique street photography to remember Panama from its roots.

I accepted the challenge and we went to one street barber shop, it was a good experience as this was the first time that I went to shoot with a clear image in my mind of what would be the end results, very different than in any other photowalk.

What I learned yesterday?

  • Street photography must needs be candid, but sometime you can also plan and create unique images. You just need to envision the end result, choose a good location and jump into action.
  • You need to always be open to new ideas, and just make it happen. I really liked the end result of the photos.
  • Street Photography is about having courage, in this case we were in “dangerous” zone of the city, but instead of putting barriers and think why not, we were very optimistic and we just went and shoot.

Here some images taken yesterday with my Olympus EM10 Mark II with the 17mm F1.8 lenses.

Panama Street Hair Cut by torobravophotography 
Panama Street Hair Cut by torobravophotography 
Panama Street Hair Cut by torobravophotography 
Panama Street Hair Cut by torobravophotography 

ToroBravoPhotography.

Instagram accounts: torobravophotography for BNW or jair_100 my personal account.

Graciela Iturbide is considered the most relevant Mexican photographer. She started studying cinematography and there she met Manuel Alvarez Bravo who is considered the father of Mexican Photography and who had a great influence in Graciela’s work.

Graciela still works with her analog camera as she prefer to keep doing what she called her ritual. Here my learnings:

  1. All start with a passion. This is relevant for all aspects in life, to be a great photographer you need to feel it, you need enjoy, you need to have fun and be obsessed with your passion.
  2. Is not about technique is about composition. Choose the subject of your image and what you want to tell about. Once that is clear select a good background that helps to tell the story, avoid distracting elements.
  3. To be a great photographer you need to increase your culture. At the decisive moment all your pass knowledge and experience will play a vital role to decide what to shoot. Is very important to learn from others photographers, learn painting, poetry, architecture, classic music. Also if you are traveling to a new place is important to read about its history and traditions to decide what is relevante and imagine your photo before pressing the shooter.
  4. For street photography interact with the people of the place. You need to be part of the place in which you will do your work, she used to spend 2 to 3 weeks in the place to interact with people, this will make the people familiar with you and be more relax in the decisive moment.

Here some links that you can use to know her work.

  1. https://es.pinterest.com/jair10/graciela-iturbide/ — My selection of her best work.
  2. http://www.gracielaiturbide.org/en — Her personal web page that contains her most relevant work, including “death”, “Juchitan”, and “Those who live in the sand”.

ToroBravoPhotography.

Instagram accounts: jair_100 or torobravophotography for BNW only.

Old Women in Oaxaca, Mexico by torobravophotography 

Shooting in the streets and capture candid moments is not an easy task, it’s something that you need to practice, master and sometime you need to repeat to find the perfect candid moment.

In this post I want to link a concept that I read from a business blog, which is about the easiest way to classify people in organizations, in summary the post tell us that there are always 3 type of the people.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In sports Nadia Comaneci (considered the greatest female gymnast ever that won 5 Olympic Gold Medals, including the first ever “perfect 10” in Olympic History) clasisified these 3 type of people as:

“I noticed from a young age there are only three kinds of people in the world. Three kinds of people in the gym. Three kinds of people walking the streets. Three kinds of people working in every company.

  • The first group of people, the coach tells them to do 10 exercises, and they do only 7. They make an excuse, or they say, “7 is good enough, why do 10?” These people never win and are the perennial losers in whatever field of endeavor they are in. They cut corners and do sloppy work.
  • The second group of people, the coach tells them to do 10 exercises, and they do 10. These people will win, sometimes. They at least do what is asked.
  • And then there is the rare, third group, and I (Nadia) am in that third group. The coach tells them to do 10 exercises, and I always did 15. Always over-deliver. And this is how I won 5 Olympic Gold Medals.”

Now coming back to street photography I encourage you to be part of the rare group, always do more than what is expected, always spend more time in the streets that what you would consider normal, always shoot more photos of the same moment to increase the odds of getting a real candid moment.

Old Women in Oaxaca, Mexico by torobravophotography 

The only exception for me is to spend more time editing, editing photos is important but not as important as shooting, I try to spend no more than 2 min per photo…

ToroBravoPhotography.

Instagram accounts: torobravophotography for BNW or jair_100 my personal account.

Anuncios

I want to share some recent street photography shoots that I took while walking in Mexico City, in La Condesa.

You will see that I like dogs, and in some of my street photos the dogs are the main subject. It is not easy as dogs are always a moving target, so my advice is to shoot many shoots and wait until you get the right one!

Any other advice just let me know!

Thanks

Toro Bravo Photography

Panama Old Town by torobravophotography 
  • If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough” – Robert Capa. In street photography you need to be in the place where the action happens, that’s why its recommended to use prime lents (without zoom), to be closer to your subject.
  • “To photograph: it is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart” – Henri Cartier Bresson. All start with a passion, in street photography you will spend a lot of time trying to find decisive moments, you need to be motivated and put all your energy to capture candid moments.
  • “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it” – Ansel Adams. I don’t believe in camera gears, its important but its more important the person that use the camera, all his background, knowledge and passion will contribute to take amazing images.
Dog eyes by torobravophotography 
  • “A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you” – Brigitte Bardot. It is almost impossible to capture the same image, there are many variables when shooting (the photograph, the camera, the light, the ISO, the shooter speed, the aperture, etc); you will take single images that can be remember forever¡
  • “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to read without a camera” – Dorothea Lange. I have learn to see, now when I walk I enjoy everything; the colors, the shapes, the lines, the people. When I go for a photowalk I try to disconnect form everything and put all my energy to see decisive moments.
  • “My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport”. Steve McCurry. The most I shoot the most I wander about this world and their people. Especially I like to shoot portraits and sometime talk with the subject, you will not believe how much you can learn form them.
Dog eyes by torobravophotography 

ToroBravoPhotography.

Instagram accounts: torobravophotography for BNW or jair_100 my personal account.