For PWB School: Guatemala, we are excited to be partnering with Limitless Horizons IXIL (LHI) to present this unique cultural experience. LHI has been working in the indigenous Maya community of Chajul for more than 10 years. Participants will have the exclusive chance to spend time with Limitless Horizon Ixil’s staff and clients to see first-hand their education programs aimed at training and supporting local youth to become the leaders of tomorrow. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush valleys, participants will embrace a truly local experience with visits to schools, artisan markets, and a stay with a host family for an authentic taste of Indigenous life.
The proceeds from your participation in PWB School: Guatemala will directly support LHI’s mission of supporting a brighter future for this community and help contribute to their holistic educational services, economic development initiatives, and community empowerment.
The PWB School program aims to improve both technical skills for photographers and to help our students gain new confidence as ethical, engaged storytellers. We welcome students at all levels of expertise to participate in our practical, hands-on lessons that will focus on environmental portraiture, editing for impact, and developing compelling, engaging campaigns that support grassroots non-profits that are putting people and the planet first.
Participants will come away with beautiful additions to their portfolios, a PWB certificate, and a chance to be featured in the PWB Magazine.
Day 1 - April 23, 2019
LHI staff will greet participants at the airport in Guatemala City and take them via shuttle to their hotel in Antigua. On the way, participants will catch their first glimpse of Guatemala followed by the chance to trek through the cobblestone streets of historic Antigua and view the surrounding volcanoes.
Participants will have their first PWB School lesson followed by a welcome dinner hosted at one of Antigua's delicious restaurants.
LESSON 1: ETHICS OF DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY
We will discuss the ethics of being a documentary photographer through contemporary and historic examples. We will talk about permission/consent, editing, safety, journalistic integrity, responsibility, framing, narratives, your power/role as a photographer, and how photography can and has impacted social change.
Participants will also learn about PhotoVoice, a technique that involves teaching others how to use photography to tell their stories. Throughout the workshop, various PhotoVoice activities will be demonstrated.
Assignment #1: Take photos on Day 2 and be ready to present your top 3-5 images to the group on Day 3.
Day 2 - April 24, 2019
Participants will hop on a shuttle and enjoy the beautiful journey through winding mountains, cornfields, and rustic indigenous villages on the way to their home-away-from-home in Chajul. After a stop for lunch and photos in the market town of Chichicastenango, the group will finish the journey to Chajul and attend an orientation on "Chajulense" culture.
Day 3 - April 25, 2019
While in Chajul, participants will enjoy a traditional breakfast prepared by LHI youth followed by the second PWB School lesson. Afterwards, there will be a guided tour of the area as well as the chance to meet LHI’s team of change-makers. For lunch, participants will visit the home of a local family to learn how to make tortillas and to enjoy a traditional lunch. In the afternoon, participants will get a lesson on the local language of Maya Ixil.
In the evening, participants will gather to present photos from Assignment #1.
LESSON 2: THE ART OF STORYTELLING & POWER OF VOICE
Art of Storytelling: Through discussion, we will identify and unveil the elements and ingredients that make a powerful story. In your first storytelling assignment, you will get hands-on, guided practice in telling a story with your images.
Power of Voice: We will work on bringing your own narrative and emotions into your work. Make your photos speak and say what you feel.
Day 4 - April 26, 2019
On this day participants will visit Chajul’s colorful open- air market to meet locals, take photos, and perhaps purchase some items to take home as souvenirs. This guided tour will also include a visit to LHI’s Saber Sin Límites Community Library. Afterwards, participants will join their host family for lunch and have a chance to document local life and the surrounding community.
Day 5 - April 27, 2019
This day will be spent learning and playing. In addition to a PWB School lesson, participants will have the opportunity to hang out with LHI students to either play sports or board games. This will be followed by a lesson on making boxbol, the region’s traditional food. There will be many great photo opportunities as host families go through their daily chores of firewood collection, milling corn, etc.
Participants will have the option of spending the night with their host family.
LESSON 3: COMPOSITION & EYE MOVEMENT
Learn how to tell stories by the way you move your viewer throughout your frame. Use of light, color, shapes, multi-level photojournalism will all be shown as ways to use a single image to tell more of a story and to trap the viewers eyes.
Assignment #2: Take photos during the day’s activities and be ready to present your top 3-5 images to the group on Day 7.
Day 6 - April 28, 2019
Following a photography lesson on landscapes and environmental portraiture, participants will lace up their shoes/hiking boots for a trip to breathtaking Acul, referred to as the "Switzerland of Guatemala" for its green meadows and mountain views. Hikers (or those that opt to take the bus instead) will then be rewarded with a lavish three-course meal and a chance to try the village's famous fresh cheese.
LESSON 4: PERFECT LANDSCAPES & ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITURE
Participants will learn to take stunning landscape images with or without a tripod. We will also learn how to take beautiful "long exposures" of water and clouds to get a flowy, dreamy effect with or without the use of filters.
Through guided practice and a fun and challenging exercise, participants will learn how to bring portraiture to the next step.
Assignment #3: Take photos using the techniques discussing during the lesson.
Day 7 - April 29, 2019
On this day the students will become the teachers as they participate in the "Photovoz Project" with LHI's graduate fellows. This will be a chance to Introduce basic photography techniques and work with them to capture the community through their eyes. Afterwards, participants will have the chance to try their hand at the fine art of back-strap weaving with a lesson in a local home.
In the evening, participants will gather to present photos from Assignment #2.
Day 8 - April 30, 2019
Another day for the great outdoors as participants hike to the sacred San Andres Hill, with its sweeping views of Chajul (non-hiking option also available for those with mobility issues). This will be followed by a chance to observe and document an LHI workshop for parents as well as LHI's Artisan Program.
In the evening, participants will gather to present photos from Assignment #3.
Day 9 - May 1, 2019
Following a PWB School lesson, participants will have the chance to work with LHI staff to design and teach a photography workshop of their own! This will be a great opportunity to engage with LHI's local staff and to help them understand the basics of telling their own story through compelling images.
In the evening, there will be a goodbye party and a special ceremony as participants prepare to move on to their next destination.
LESSON 5: PHOTOGRAPHY & SOCIAL CHANGE
Through discussion and examples, we will encourage you to venture into social change and impact territory with your photography.
Overview of final assignment that will be due on Day 13!
Day 10 - May 2, 2019
After a traditional breakfast prepared by LHI youth, participants will say adios to Chajul and venture to Chichicastenango. There, the group will visit the largest artisan market in Guatemala, enjoy a tour of the famous church, and have lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch the group will continue on to Panajachel where they’ll have dinner and present their photos from Assignment #3.
Day 11 - May 3, 2019
Following breakfast at the hotel, participants will take in one of the most scenic lakes in the world as they travel by boat to Santa Cruz de la Laguna on Lake Atitlan. There will be a hike to a restaurant for a delicious lunch with gorgeous views over the lake and then the group will explore culturally rich San Juan with its stunning weaving traditions and numerous artisan cooperatives.
Day 12 - May 4, 2019
After a quick discussing on file management and editing, participants will have a choice of activities for the rest of the day: a zipline tour, a hike of the San Pedro volcano, trekking between scenic lakeside villages, taking a boat tour of the villages or relaxing by the lake in the beautiful hotel.
LESSON 6: FILE MANAGEMENT AND EDITING
Learn some tips on file management and editing for impact.
Day 13 - May 5, 2019
Participants will have the chance to work on their final assignments as well as spend some time relaxing by Lake Atitlan. There are options for swimming, kayaking, hiking, yoga, massages, etc.
In the afternoon, the group will travel to Antigua for an optional salsa lesson followed by a presentation of their final assignments and a farewell dinner.
Day 14 - May 6, 2019
Homeward bound! Participants will have a final breakfast and then take the shuttle to the airport.
DEADLINE TO REGISTER: January 31, 2019
Pick-up and drop-off at the airport in Guatemala City
All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
Accommodations: Participants will stay in hotels with double occupancy. A limited number of single room supplements will be available for an additional fee.
All meals, including traditional breakfasts prepared by LHI youth
Photography workshops, including group work, assignments, evaluation, and personal coaching
Cultural tours and performances
Staff & experts: PWB staff, Workshop instructor, and two LHI staff guides with knowledge of Chajul and the organization.
International air fare
Applicable tourist visas
Incidentals (e.g. snacks, souvenirs, etc.)
Tips or gratuities
Alcoholic beverages and snacks
Optional tours or optional admissions
SIM cards (in case you want to bring an unlocked phone to access the internet)
David Coulson is a photographer and visual storyteller based in Toronto, Canada. His work focuses on sharing stories that connect people to nature and that help translate intersecting environmental and social issues in an emotional and relatable way. Along with a BA in Philosophy and Environmental Studies, David holds a post graduate certificate in Environmental Visual Communication. He is a creative associate with Evermaven, an environmental communications agency in Toronto, and his work has appeared in outlets such a Canadian Geographic, Canadian Wildlife, the National Post, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Royal Ontario Museum.