15 October 2012

New Orthodox Christmas Workshop in Maramures

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

Join Davin Ellicson in the Maramures region of northern Romania in December 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!

Davin is offering a six day documentary photography workshop based in the village of Valeni where he lived for a year with a family and fell under Romania's dark spell. Maramures is where Davin found his photographic voice. In his fourth workshop in the village, he will be sharing his passion for Romania with students.

Davin 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 the Christmas traditions 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 Christmas celebrations which occur over three days including caroling house to house, spectacular pagan rituals, Orthodox church services and the annual winter folk festival in the town of Sighetu Marmatiei on 27 December. Homestays will allow for an immersive experience with local villagers and the opportunity to sample distinctive traditional Romanian food and desserts as well as 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 six 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 6 students and everyone should come with their own laptop and editing software. Knowledge of your digital SLR or rangefinder and workflow is essential. Davin will be giving a tutorial of Adobe Lightroom.

DATES: 22-28 December 2012.

WORKSHOP LOCATION: Valeni, Maramures, Romania.

WORKSHOP FEE: €750. Homestays with villagers and all meals are included. 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: 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

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