It Doesn't Add Up
This 12th workshop at Easter in Sicily, besides being the best ever, has shown in a delicate and pervasive way that good actions can only trigger an amazing chain-reaction of fresh, good actions.
Among the 11 students I had with me, there was one that I had decided to help attend the workshop by chunking off a big part of the fee. I had decided to do so because deep inside I knew that I had to help him. After much convincing on my part, Rafael finally decide to accept my offer. We agreed to keep the secret to ourselves.
The very first day of the workshop, during the important session of portfolios' review, all remaining 10 students started realizing the tremendous talent that this young, good-natured Spanish man has. Some of them started to spontaneously come up with some suggestions on how to help Rafael become a full time photographer.
Sascha suggested seeing if other students could be interested in purchasing some of his work, then Chris came up with another good idea. I wasn't surprised to see this outpour of support for the young man, but felt that it had to be shaped in such a way to support both him and other young, talented students in the years to come. I believe it was David that finally said: “Ernesto how about if we help you create a scholarship fund to give the opportunity to younger generation of photographers to study with you in the years to come?" Just three other students were present at that occasion. We all looked at one another in the eye and realized that we were on to something important. The next day, the five of us had a concise but very productive briefing in which we all shared our thoughts and decided to start shaping this idea of creating a scholarship fund into reality.
God willing, with the help of some of the initial students and hopefully new donors in the future, we will be able to bring Rafael's back to the Easter in Sicily workshop next year completely for free and, possibly, a second student will benefit from a second scholarship. Our goal is to be able to offer two scholarships every year in the years to come.
Having had a 15-month baby, two wives, a grandmother and a wonderful assistant with us added some special touches to the workshop. The bounding among all of us was very powerful. We cooked together, shared many stories, amazing desserts and wines; we shared many laughter and tears. Ultimately, we tried to give the inner best that each of one of us had to offer.
We were paid back with this unforgettable group It Doesn't Add Up. For the first time, I shared with my students all the work that I've done here in Sicily in the last eleven years and got some amazing feedback.
Besides the soulful, intimate pictures that Andree, Anja, Brindusa, Chris, Colin, David, Heike, Monica, Rafael, Sascha and Sorin took, and that I invite you to view, what I find most touching is that their comments about the experience have become as eloquent and profound as their images. I've been deeply moved.
I feel that we have reached a new plateau at the BPW: this rich exchange of good souls has started spilling all over life itself. As I like to say, the beautiful images become almost irrelevant compared to the magical atmosphere that all together we managed to create.
The thought that Rafael will be back next year brings a big smile on my face and I'm sure not just on mine. He doesn't know yet but by reading these words he will. Looking at his pictures and reading his comments will give you a hint of why things turned out this way. EB