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Summer 2021 Photography Workshops

In Mineral de Pozos, Mexico
with Geoff Winningham
Dates Available from
June 7 to August 15, 2021

Workshops in Pozos di Mineral

Set in a low mountain valley, at an altitude of 7900 feet, Mineral de Pozos is located 45 minutes north of the popular tourist destination San Miguel de Allende. The closest international airport is outside the city of Querétaro, less than an hour way.  Once an opulent mining city of 80,000 inhabitants, Pozos sat as a ghost town for half a century after the revolution of 1910. In recent years, the town has been declared a “Pueblo Magico” and has become a popular destination for adventurous tourists. Artists and photographers are drawn to the rocky, cactus-filled landscape, the picturesque ruins of 18th century mining structures, abandoned haciendas, giant agaves, and ancient pirul trees. Over 20 years ago, Winningham built a home, studio, and darkrooms in Pozos. Designed by the Mexican architect Gabor Goded, the property, which can accommodate up to nine guests, was featured in October 2007 in the Great Homes section of the New York Times.  

To maximize the photography learning experience and to allow for comfortable accommodations for the group, enrollment for summer 2021 will be 2 to 4 participants per workshop. Workshops will be 1 or 2 weeks in duration and will include daily field trips into the surrounding landscape, exploring abandoned haciendas and vibrant markets of the area. Photography instruction will be tailored to each group and may include: analog (film-based) photography in all film sizes from 35mm to 4x5, black and white film processing and printing, photograms (cameraless photographs), digital photography, digital scanning, and inkjet printing.  Each participant should expect to complete a portfolio of exhibition-quality photographs by the conclusion of their workshop.

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Winningham home and studio in Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato. 

Participants may choose to work in black and white film-based photography, using 4x5 view cameras, medium format Hasselblad cameras, or 35mm Leica cameras (all of which will be available); or they may work in digital photography.  In either case, all supplies and equipment will be provided, including film, chemistry and paper, digital inks, and inkjet papers. Alternatively, participants may bring their own equipment and preferred supplies.

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3-foot by 8-foot photogram of botanical objects made by a Pozos children’s class (top). Pozos children making a life-sized photogram of themselves (bottom left). The finished black and white photogram (bottom right).

In addition to learning photography and exploring the area, high school or college workshop participants may opt to spend approximately 2-3 hours per day teaching photography to children of families who reside in the town, thus combining their own learning with community service to the children of Pozos.

Above left: in the nearby town of San Luis de la Paz; above right, the Opera House in the city of Guanajuato; below left, in the Wednesday market Dr. Mora; below right, the fantasy garden in Xilitla.

Located in the heart of the central Mexican state of Guanajuato, Pozos is ideally situated as a launching point for a wide variety of adventurous short trips.  Morning and afternoon field trips will take us into the authentic towns of San Luis de la Paz and Doctor Mora (the site of a traditional country market each Wednesday), as well as hikes into the Sierra Madre Mountains. Two-week workshops may include 1- or 2- day overnight visits to the capital city of Guanajuato or to the surreal gardens of Edward James in Xilita.

About Geoff

Since 1969, Geoff Winningham has taught photography in the Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts at Rice University, where he holds the Lynette S. Autrey Chair in the Humanities. Since 2007, he has welcomed students of all ages to his home and studio in Mexico where he has offered workshops that teach beginning to advanced photography skills, while exploring the landscape and the culture of Mexico. Over a distinguished career that spans more than 50 years, he has received two fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and numerous commissions. He has published fourteen books and completed three documentary films on a variety of subjects, primarily related to Texas and Mexican culture. His book Traveling the Shore of the Spanish Sea: The Gulf Coast of Texas and Mexico (2010) won both the Ron Tyler Prize from the Texas State Historical Association and the J. B. Jackson Award from the Foundation for Landscape Studies. 

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Photographing in the Cinco Señores mine with the 4x5 camera.

Interested?

In my years of teaching photography and guiding workshops in Mexico, I have learned that the smaller the group of participants, the better the experience. For this reason, I have decided to limit my summer workshops to 2 to 4 participants at a time. This allows me to give full attention to each student’s particular needs, as we live together comfortably (and safely, in the time of the pandemic), prepare and eat meals together, and work in the darkroom and digital lab. We can also travel comfortably together to photograph nearby places and events. 

Whether you are a high school or college student, a couple, a family, or an individual, and whether you want to learn photography from the beginning or expand your existing photo skills while exploring a new and exotic place, I urge you to contact me by email or phone, so that we can discuss prospects for this coming summer.

Workshop fee: $2,500 per week, includes all photography supplies and equipment, double occupancy lodging, 2 meals per day, and all transportation in Mexico, including pickup and return to the Querétaro airport. Fee does not include airfare to and from Mexico.