Photo by Peter Turnley
Last Monday I wrote a short post about peoples' lust for adventure and Peter Turnley's fabulous workshops in Cuba. To answer a question I've been getting, no, I won't actually be going. I'd love to, but I do this. (Actually I've been aiming for one of the Paris workshops for several years, and haven't hit that mark yet. Hope remains.)
Since then I've learned more about the workshops, though, so I thought I'd share.
Peter with one of the many workshop groups he has led in Cuba
Peter has so far led 18 successful workshops in Cuba. There are four more coming up soon:
Dec. 3–9, 2016
Dec. 30, 2016–Jan 5, 2017 (New Year’s workshop)
Feb. 11–17, 2017
March 11–17, 2017
The workshops take place in Havana, with two-day trips outside of the city. Each workshop lasts for seven days and six nights. Peter partners with Cuba Cultural Travel, which has a license for "people to people cultural exchange." The package price of the workshop includes air travel round trip between Miami and Havana, hotel, visa, three local guides, and several group meals...in addition, of course, to daily photographic workshop and critique sessions led by Peter. Price adjustments can be made for people wanting to fly directly to Havana from their home cities. All registration and payment for the workshop is handled by Laura Adams of Cuba Cultural Travel, and anyone interested in attending should contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a "companion" price for people wanting to bring a non-photographing spouse. The workshops are open to participants from all over the world.
Photo by Peter Turnley
The daily itineraries expose participants to many visually exciting and authentic aspects of Cuban daily life, with visits to some of the best outdoor dance clubs in Latin America, Santeria religious ceremonies, outdoor markets, ballet schools, afro-rumba dancing, a boxing gym, a modern dance troupe, and more. On day trips outside of the city you'll go to the tobacco region of Vinales; to Regla, a center of Santeria religious activity; and the famous fishing village of Cojimar, where Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea.
The workshops include walks through Havana Vieja, Havana Centro, along the famous seaside Malecon, and all over Havana. There's also plenty of time for participants to explore on their own. However, nobody ever needs to feel lost—there are three full-time Cuban photographer guides available to you, each of whom speaks perfect English. Peter is always accessible and also accompanies participants on their explorations.
Peter sees this is as both a personal and a photographic journey for participants. He helps you work on how to approach people and feel comfortable getting into the middle of it and working up close. During the workshops there is attention to camera technique and aesthetic discussion in addition to the strong emphasis on offering participants access to the spirit of Cuban life.
I've mixed a few pictures made by workshop participants and some comments by other participants. Please note that these are all by different people—the pictures and written comments don't match up.
Photo by Gulnara Samoilova
"I'm not by nature a people or street photographer and I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and really learn something, I did. Peter will teach you how to capture, create and tell a visual story. This is done in a simple and disciplined manner by a master. His incredible editorial process is something to behold. The regular edits and feedback sessions are exceptional and key to the process." —Frank Veteran
Photo by Alejandra López-Zaballa
"Beyond doubt, this was the most visually exciting week I have ever experienced across four decades as a passionate amateur photographer.... We had a fabulous time, learned a lot, and are already planning on returning to Cuba with Turnley next year." —David and Susie Bush
Photo by Tracy Farrell
"Peter’s approach is philosophical rather than technical. There is minimal discussion of shutter speeds, f-stops, composition, light, etc. He stresses connecting with the subject and capturing a moment in their lives in order to better understand them as people.... Overall this workshop was a tremendously rewarding experience. Highly recommended."—Richard Nugent
Photo by Winifred Toro
"Peter's enthusiasm is contagious. His photos confirm his love of life and he quickly transferred his confidence to me and my ability to capture. I grew as an artist and I have become more clear of my vision as a photographer. I am convinced that Peter attracts people with open minds to his workshops. My fellow travel mates were adventurous and always ready to expand their artistic skills. Bottom line—my friends are commenting 'Wow, you've changed!'" —Mary Moeller
Photo by Dan McConnell
"What can I say about my trip with Peter Turnley to Cuba. Amazing? Yes. Spectacular? Of course. I dare to say even life changing. I have been home for almost three weeks and am still basking in the glow of Havana." —Andrea Kuhn
Photo by Beth Ruggiero-York
"My week in Havana with Peter Turnley was extraordinary. Unforgettable. Magical. Peter's passion for photography, for the people of Cuba and for capturing and savoring every gifted moment will stay with me forever." —Virgil DiBiase
So, I don't know, I just think this is a moment. Peter is still in the pink of health, but he's getting older—he now only has the energy of any two normal people rather than the energy of three normal people (that would be four and six times the energy I have, respectively). He has many links to the great photographers of the postwar and later 20th century, and vast experience from the great age of magazines and print photojournalism. He knows Cuba as well or better than any non-Cuban photographer in the world. And Cuba is going to change fast, too. "Now" is a precious opportunity. Golden, I would even say.
Peter at his one-man retrospective exhibition at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes last Winter
If all this isn't clear enough, I think you ought to do this if you can!
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
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