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Mexico City Photographic Tour, "Grito" and "La Isla de las Muñecas" presented by the Academia de Fotografia - San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico


Dates to be Announced

Instructor: Jo Brenzo

  General Information on Easter Celebrations photographers Workshops presented by the Academia de Fotografia - San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Mexico City Workshop

The Grito
© Jo Brenzo
Mexico City Workshop

Trip to Island
© Jo Brenzo

THE GRITO: There is a large turn out in to publicly celebrate Independence Day, September 16. Actually the night of fireworks, flags, and music is the night before. This is the night of the “Grito,” the cry for freedom that set off the revolution.

Viewing the festivities from the balcony of the hotel provides the best of both worlds. You’re safely up and away from the pressing crowds, but can hear the music and feel the energy emanating from below. You feel almost as if you’re within the celebration. It’s as if the fireworks are playing to you. You can use the cathedral steeples to frame the exploding fireworks. All in all, it’s a safe spot from which to observe and photograph Mexico’s biggest celebration of the year.

THE THREE FACES OF XOCHIMILCO: With our early arrival the only signs of life will be a few workers beginning their day. The gondola is poled slowly through the water during this two hour canal trip to the island, providing many photographic opportunities. After going through the locks, be prepared to enter another world quite different from the “Disney Land” tourist side. Houses give way to tree-lined canals, and you’ll see fish plop and plentiful birdlife, both large and small. The quiet and beauty is so remarkable you’ll feel as if you’ve dropped back in time.

THE ISLAND OF THE DOLLS: You’ll disembark at “La Isla de las Munecas”. Be ready to enter another reality, a place steeped in legend and the bizarre sight of dolls in various states of disintegration hanging from trees. The nephew of Don Julian is the caretaker and holds court, sitting in an arm chair. He seems happy to share the story of the island’s history. It seems that three girls were visiting the island, and one drowned. As a result a spirit haunted the island so Don Julian put up a doll to ward off the spirits. Over time, more and more dolls were placed in the trees and a shed housed special dolls and an altar.

The island conjures up different images and reactions, depending upon the viewer’s relationship to dolls. Some are struck with nostalgia, remembering dolls from their own pasts. Others are reminded of horror-film dolls Some are clothed, some not. Whatever the emotional reaction, the photographic possibilities are limitless.

THE RETURN TRIP: The trip back through the canals, allow you to relax and decompress from the concentration and emotional intensity of photographing on the island. Then crossing the locks, you re-enter the “real” world of turistic Xochimilco. You pass launches with photographers, their cameras protected in box-like enclosures. You hear mariachis who tie up along side gondolas, taking requests and selling their songs. You pass parties of people large and small, some more festive than others. You will have gone full circle and experience two different worlds and three faces of Xochimilco.

The workshop will photograph the following places:

The Grito

The Grito

The Grito

Xochimilco & Island of the Dolls

Trip to Island

Trip to Island

The Island

The Island

The Trip Back

The Trip Book

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Workshop information on Easter Celebrations - San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Photographic assistance from Jo Brenzo who has lead previous tours to the Grito, Xochimilco & the Island
3 Nights in hotel in the historic center of Mexico City ($30 usd less for double occupancy)
All field trip expenses for the actual trip to the island (including lunch on the boat)
Participants are responsible for getting to Mexico City on their own.

    DATES: September 14 - 17, 2004 NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 4- 8
    INSTRUCTOR: Jo Brenzo TUITION: $280

    CAMERA FORMATS: 35mm, Digital and Medium Format (choice of film)

    Jo Brenzo is the ultimate cognoscenti when it comes to offering photoworkshops in Mexico. I recently traveled with her to the September Independence Day ceremonies on the Zocolo of Mexico City, and then on to the “Isla de Las Munecas,” or Island of the Dolls. She knocked my socks off. These are not common tourist images; they are something rare, and exiciting. And Jo, as an exceptional photographic artist herself, knows how to help her students get the best possible image. She is low-key and supportive in her instruction, but extremely knowledgeable in every aspect of the art and technique. As for the trip itself, it was simply a whole lot of fun. Eva Hunter

    Jo Brenzo is the consummate professional, and her photography workshops reflect this. She selects interesting locations, scouts out facilities and considers various possibilities in advance. During the workshop she gives more than 100%, providing instruction, motivating, and encouraging participants. As a result, most leave with new skills, increased confidence and satisfying images. Sally Riewald

    for more information: visit or call 152-2483
    Local Registration: at the Galeria de Arte Fotografico
    Reloj 46 (between Mesones & Insurgentes)

    DEPOSIT: $140
    BALANCE DUE: AUGUST 14, 2004 ($140)
    220 NO ZAPATA HWY #!!
    LAREDO, TX 78043

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