Mon-Fri 0900 - 1730
Capturing artisans in Oaxaca with the Elinchrom ONE with Brenda Bazan
To celebrate her identity as a Mexican-American, photographer Brenda Bazán always dreamed of capturing the essence of a community of artisans in Oaxaca. A way for her to spread awareness to this culture that rarely gets a platform to be seen and heard.
Catch up with Brenda to learn more about her project and experience photographing these artisans with the Elinchrom ONE.Amplify visibility to tell stories
As a photographer, I think it is crucial to use my medium to tell stories. One of the promises I have made to myself is to photograph subjects to amplify their visibility and tell their meaningful stories. It is also important to me to tell stories from my experience and identity as Mexican-American. This is how I ended up choosing to photograph artisans in Oaxaca as my project for this campaign.
Crafting is a huge part of the life of each artisan; it is part of their culture and identity. Everything they create comes from a long-standing tradition unique to each village, all made from the heart with their unique touch. Through artisans, these techniques have survived and are passed on from generation to generation. It is this passion, pride, and modesty for their work that called me to them.I believe photography is very powerful, using it to give back and doing humanitarian work is very important to me. When you have a camera you are oftentimes let in places many can’t access, and it is your responsibility to bring back images that will let others know what it is like in there to inspire change or just raise awareness.
While the majority of the time photography is not revolutionary, it allows us to see beyond our comfort zones into the lives of many around the world. It is through photography that we can open our minds to different traditions, lifestyles, cultures, etc. This is probably an underestimated power. To see what others’ experience is like, without meeting them or travelling, is invaluable and can help many people understand and accept the differences that make the human experience-rich and beautiful.
Through photography, we can open our minds to different traditions, lifestyles, cultures, etc.
Each and every artisan shared a piece of them and their work with me. Some shared how difficult last year had been with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting tourism so much since their market and livelihoods depend on tourism. Others showed excitement to be photographed and to show their work with the world. And others were more personal and shared the inspiration behind their work, like painter Gerardo Navarro who read the beautiful stories he wrote to accompany each of his watercolour pieces. With every artisan, there was a feeling of gratitude and joy while photographing them.
I probably used less than 15% of the battery charge of the ONE in the entire day.
Using the Elinchrom ONE Head on location was amazing. The light is very lightweight and doesn’t have to be plugged in anywhere, which is the best way to move around easily or squeeze in small or cluttered spaces. Our day shooting in Oaxaca was pretty hectic, going from one location to another all day, but packing and unpacking were never a hassle.
I also loved that the battery life was pretty long; I probably used less than 15% of the battery charge in the entire day. And I absolutely loved that I can charge it on the go with a portable battery if needed.
I cannot wait to use the ONE in future work, it was such a fun light to work with and it opens up so many possibilities!
This project inspires me to continue to search for people and stories to share.Working with Elinchrom and knowing that the artisans would have a large platform to tell their story is very fulfilling. The experience I take with me is truly something I will treasure. I am always grateful to the people who let me into their lives to capture a part of it, and to have been received with such joy and gratitude is very heart-warming. This project inspires me to continue to search for people and stories to share.
Kit used in this blog