What: Photography and adventure camp alongside local Oaxacan teens
Who: Teens going into 8th – 12th grades who love photography and want to make new friends
How long: August 15-22
Where: Oaxaca City, MEXICO
Counselors: Jay Waltmunson, Kymber Waltmunson, Luvia Lazo (see counselor bios here)
Join us for a truly unique opportunity – this camp is Spanish immersion, cultural connection, and respectful/sustainable travel at its best. Eight traveling campers and eight Oaxacan teens will join together for eight days (lucky eights!) to learn street photography techniques from local Oaxacan photographer Luvia Lazo and Seattle-based photographer and Riveted Kids lead Jay Waltmunson. By being part of a mixed cohort of campers that include Oaxacan teens, your camper will have the opportunity to make real human connections, practice Spanish, and learn about Oaxacan culture all in the context of a street photography frame. We’ll take breaks from photography to eat delicious food and appreciate the creativity-centered culture in Oaxaca where interesting art is around every corner.
Street photography at its essence is candid photos taken in public settings. What better place to explore this art than the colorful, fully alive backdrop of historic Oaxaca City? Campers will be exploring color, movement, composition, texture, and vantage point through the lens of cultural differences and what excites them about the visuals of this unique urban environment. Campers will also learn how to process photos on-the-go and how to take full advantage of the cameras they use. Instruction will feel more like inspiration packed with outings, challenges, and games.
We’ll have excursions outside of Oaxaca as well. Our first stop will be Hierve el Agua, a spectacular set of mineral pools and waterfall deposits where we’ll swim in the warm green pools, hike around the dramatic mineral formations that overlook the Sierra Norte mountains, capture all the action with our cameras, and finish the day with fresh fruit drinks before driving back to the city. A second day-trip out of the city will be to nearby Monte Alban where we’ll hike up to see the rising sun shed magical light on the pre-Aztec ruins. The photography opportunities in both locations will be unique and will allow campers to learn skills working with landscapes and light.
Your counselors will be Jay Waltmunson (local Seattle photographer and Spanish teacher), Molly Scott (Seattle fitness coach and fun-wrangler), and local Oaxacan photographer Luvia Lazo. Luvia comes from a long line of Zapotec artists and turned her creative expression toward photography.
What are the basics of our trip?
- Daily street photography instruction from local and Seattle-based photographers
- Side-by-side daily fun alongside local Oaxacan teens
- Meet-ups with local artists
- Street art tour
- Sunrise hike to the pre-Aztec ruins of Monte Albán
- Day-trip to mineral pools and hike at Hierve el Agua
- Spanish instruction and practice (no minimum level of Spanish required)
- Amazing food exploration including moles and other delicious traditional foods
What is included in the price?
- Camp tuition for your child + one local Oaxacan teen
- In-country transportation
- Activities, supplies, and local guides
- Tips for local service providers
- Spending money
- Trip insurance
- $100 donation to El Centro Esperanza Infantil – a “Boys and Girls Club”-type organization from which the local Oaxacan teens receive school fees/supplies, tutoring, and family support.
What is not included in the price?
- Transportation to/from your home airport
- Camera (recommended): Bring your own camera if you have one. If you are looking for recommendations, see our post here. If it’s an issue to procure one, let’s chat!
Is there financial aid or scholarships?
We are currently building our scholarship fund. See our financial support page here.
What about technology?
We are a technology device-free camp with the obvious exception of your child’s stand-alone camera. Phones and other wired devices are an incredible distraction from the world around us. They can have an especially negative impact when we are trying to immerse ourselves in a new culture. It keeps us at arms length from our experience and from one another. We wrote a post on teens, technology, and travel that explains more.
Feedback from campers has been that they are glad they didn’t have their phones! They say they feel more connected to each other, their surroundings, and even that the days feel longer with so much more that they are taking in.
What resources do you provide?
We’ll guide getting ready every step of the way. We will help direct processes around up-to-date passports, packing & gear, reading lists, selecting the right trip insurance, and we will coordinate a camper meeting before we go so we can get to know each other and set camper expectations. We are also available by phone and email to answer any questions.
As a parent, you’ll get daily photographs of our experiences so that you can see and hear about all the fun your child has been having. All counselors will have cell phones as well, should an urgent matter require communication.
For your camper, we provide all logistics to make this an amazing trip. Transportation, translation when needed, great activities, introductions to locally vetted and established guides, dietary food accommodations, and anything else that’s needed. We also have a system of group journaling to help us process our experiences, build relationships, experience our destination more deeply, and craft stories for our return.
Especially with this trip, you will get amazing digital photos from your camper’s adventure – both in what they bring home as well as professional pics from the counselors documenting the activities.
Interested? Got Questions? Let’s chat!
If you want to talk or ask about anything, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer questions and give more details. We have suggestions here on great cameras for kids to learn Street Photography here.
If you need references, we’ll gladly give you a bunch and we’ve got testimonials as well. We’d also encourage you to peruse the rest of the blog to get a sense of our values and how we travel. There are posts specific to Oaxaca on our Mexico page.
Let’s go far and travel deep!
Street Photography is about photographs that stir us emotionally, that make us think about humanity, society around us, the people we interact on a daily basis, the small beauties of life that we pass up for granted, others who are suffering, and the hopes and dreams of everyday individuals. – Photographer Eric Kim