23 February 2012

Orthodox Easter Photography Workshop in Maramures

Orthodox Easter in Maramures: Folk Traditions on Europe's Eastern Fringe

Join Davin Ellicson and Emese Benko in the Maramures region of northern Romania in April 2012 for a week of enchantment in one of the most traditional villages left in Europe.

For decades Romania’s closed border policy under the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu as well as a natural fortress of mountains kept Maramures isolated from the rest of Europe. Even after the fall of Communism change was slow to enter the region. The area is renowned for the strength of its traditions, folk costumes, idyllic landscape and is considered the heart of Romanian culture. In 2007 Romania joined the European Union and Maramures is at last changing. Come savor this rural life before it vanishes forever!

We are offering a five day documentary photography workshop based in the village of Valeni where Davin lived for a year with a family and fell under Romania's dark spell. Maramures is where he found his photographic voice. In Davin's second workshop in the village, he will be sharing his passion for Romania with students. Emese, a native of Timisoara, will provide valuable insights about Romanian culture.

The pair will be working closely with workshop participants and providing daily critiques and group discussions. We will begin with a review of participants' past work. The goal of this workshop is to learn to create strong personal photographs about Orthodox Easter and peasant life. We will shoot during the day and edit in the evenings. It’s a workshop open to amateurs and professionals alike. Technical, theoretical and aesthetic issues will be discussed as attendees work towards honing their individual visions. 

Everyone will enjoy great access to the Easter holiday celebrations which occur over three days. Homestays will allow for an immersive experience with local villagers and the opportunity to sample distinctive traditional Romanian food and 110 proof homemade plum brandy. It will be an opportunity to witness the last peasants in Europe living life as they have for millennia albeit with a few aspects of modern life mixed in! The five days promise to be an intense, intimate and unforgettable experience where students will get to know the villagers first hand and live a romantic way of life forgotten in the rest of Europe more than a century ago. 

It is an all digital workshop limited to 12 students and everyone should come with their own laptop and editing software. Knowledge of your digital SLR or rangefinder and workflow is essential. Davin and Emese will be giving a tutorial of Adobe Lightroom.

DATES: 13-18 April

WORKSHOP LOCATION: Valeni, Maramures, Romania.

WORKSHOP FEE: €500. Accommodation and meals are included. Choice of homestays or a room at a pension. Students are responsible for their own transportation to Romania and up to Maramures. A few budget airlines now fly from western Europe to both Bucharest and Budapest from where there are daily trains to the cities of Baia Mare and Sighetu Maramatiei in Maramures. 

REGISTRATION: Booking deadline is 1 April and a deposit is required to reserve a space. The workshop is open to any professional or committed amateur who has knowledge of digital cameras and editing software. 

CONTACT: For detailed travel and arrival information email Davin at: davin@davinellicson.com and please follow us on Facebook.


Davin Ellicson

Since 2000 Davin has been transfixed by the Eastern European country of Romania. Immediately after finishing college he lived for a year with subsistence farmers in a village in the Carpathian mountains suspended somewhere in the 18th century. The photographs from this period became his first major project: Maramures. Today, Davin works between New York and Bucharest, a beguiling little known EU capital that is in the midst of dramatic change and cultural regeneration after Ceausescu. An ongoing series on the city comprises his next book project.

Davin's work has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Der Speigel, ART and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He regularly photographs and produces multimedia for the NGO's Ovidiu Rom, IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board) and Not For Sale in Romania.

Ellicson's work is included in two books: "East" which includes 20 years of photography by Anzenberger Agency photographers in Eastern Europe and beyond as well as "This Day of Change", a group project by Courrier Japon on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration. 132 photographers captured life around the world and English and Japanese versions of the book were published.

Davin's photography has been exhibited worldwide including at The Phodar Photography Biennial in Bulgaria, The Takashimaya Department Store in Tokyo, Japan and at The East West Gallery in Vienna, Austria. Awards and honors include two honorable mentions in Jen Bekman's Hey, Hot Shot! contest, the portfolio award at The 2009 Phodar Photography Biennial and a Larson Fellowship from Carleton College to photograph Saami Reindeer Herders.

Emese Benko

I was born and grew up in Timisoara, Romania and presently live in Vienna, Austria. After studying anthropology and psychology, I felt that I no longer wanted to explain the world but rather express it. My curiosity for everything that is human, the wish to "see" and get closer to people led me to photography. My work is distributed by ASAblanca in Vienna.


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