Time is flying at the Visa pour l'Image photojournalism festival. At ten this morning we stopped by the press conference of Ernesto Bazan. Raised in Sicily, he rediscovered the joy of his childhood in Cuba where he photographed and later taught photo workshops until 2002. After winning many awards, including a W. Eugene Smith grant and Guggenheim fellowship for documenting Cuba's "Special Period," (the transitional time after the fall of the Soviet Union), Bazan nonetheless said that he does not think of himself as a photojournalist, but rather a street photographer. (Above: one of his Cuba images.)
"I was a hunter looking for prey," he explained, although he added that over the years he has become more interested in establishing a relationship with his subjects. In 2002 Bazan was basically forced out of Cuba. He talked about the police coming to him and accusing him of running a journalism workshop...under the contradictory logic that exists there, he was registered as a working photojournalist with the government already. Worried about the safety of his Cuban wife and two boys, Bazan left the country, in what he says has been a blessing in disguise. Now his family is free to go back as they wish, and he has moved on to teaching renowned workshops in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Italy (to name a few).