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Hill Towns & Ruins: The Daguerreotype and Machu Picchu


Dates:  June 15th-23rd  2013

Instructors: Jerry Spagnoli & Adam L. Weintraub

Fee: $2850


Extension: Festival of Inti Raymi & Lake Titicaca

Dates: June 23rd-29th 2013

Fee: $1550



The reaction to the digital revolution might be to find our roots. Our roots in photography date back to 1839 with the daguerreotype while the roots of a civilization can be seen in the layers of architectural history throughout the land of the Incas in Cusco, Peru. With the original Incan stone-work and street ways as a backdrop, we will explore the rejuvenated silver-plate process that master Daguerreotypist Jerry Spagnoli has resurrected. While learning this process we explore our vision and interpret the beauty and grace of a culture practically indestructible since the time of the Conquistadores. Considered the leading expert in the revitalization of the daguerreotype process, Spagnoli is also noted for his collaboration with artist Chuck Close on daguerreotype portraits and nudes.


Participants will learn all the steps necessary to make a daguerreotype and will be given abundant time to make images in class. The skills you will acquire include polishing, sensitizing and finishing the plates as well as instruction on making your own equipment so that you can continue the process in your own darkroom.


This course is open to all skill levels but participants should have a solid working knowledge of the basics of photography. If you shoot with a view camera, bring it along. We use 3×4 inch plates, which fit easily into a 4×5 holder. If you plan to use film, bring your negatives and find out how to produce film positives for the daguerreotype. We also consider how you want to present your finished piece. Matting and framing a daguerreotype deprives it of its charm, so Jerry demonstrates how to make display cases as one of the many possible installation options.


Spagnoli offers an eloquent and somewhat mystical rationale for utilizing the prototypical medium of daguerreotype: “The image…is not in a steady state like other photographs. It is elusive, fugitive…it remains a potential image until it is presented under the correct optical/spatial conditions…and the light from a scene in the past strikes your eye like new.” But in the end these images must speak for themselves, and so they do, powerfully and beautifully.  Jerry Spagnoli –


In a follow-up to the enormously successful first-run in 2006, Jerry is back in Cusco eager to illustrate his technique, help students practice what they have learned from a previous class or start from the beginning with his hands-on approach to learning. Learn the daguerreotype process from a modern master, interpreting one of the wonders of the world with this old-world process: Machu Picchu and Daguerreotypes!


This workshop is created in collaboration with the Photographic Center Northwest.



Please note that times, locations and events may change. In the process of creating the best experience with a reliable service and reasonable comfort, there are changes that are made to accommodate festivals, transportation conflicts, national strikes or professorial whims. We will do everything we can to keep you up to speed on any changes that affect our needs but that sometimes things happen at the last moment and we are often happier for the result. If not, we will gladly invite you to a Pisco Sour to help dispel your perceived stress (Pisco is a delicious Peruvian grape brandy).

Meals: All breakfasts & most lunches are included. Dinners included where noted. The cuisine in the Peruvian major cities is experiencing a gourmet explosion of flavor, fusion, and creative deliciousness. There is no reason to have set menus and settle for generic food; it makes much more sense to go to great restaurants and order delights of your own choosing. Even in the small towns it is worth having a choice.


This workshop is created in collaboration with the Photographic Center Northwest.



Friday June 14th
Pre-Workshop dinner  

Arrivals throughout the day in Cusco as we settle in to our accommodations, acclimatize and relax.

Informal group dinner, Cusco and Peru information, a short history of photography and the Dag

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco


Day 1:  Saturday June 15th

Morning Daguerreotype demonstration and practice. Here you will learn the process, the history and the technique. Make your own Dag! Lunch.

Quick Cusco walk around neighborhood, the main local market and the central Plaza.

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B, L)


Day 2: Sunday June 16th

Dag Prep for afternoon adventure and practice session. This second day will be hands-on sensitizing and buffing of your plates. We will start to practice, capturing a plated-image with a 4×5 field camera as well. Those who are unfamiliar with the use of 4×5 will also be given instruction on the field camera’s use. Cusco’s ruins: Sacsayhuaman and Q’enko; private visit Martin Chambi Archives for a little historical perspective.

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B, L)


Day 3: Mon June 17th

Daguerreotype development. More practice around our traditional Cusco neighborhood. Lunch.

Daguerreotype plate prep for our trip to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B, L)


Day 4: Tues 18th

Trip to the Salt Terraces of Maras; we’ll then move onward to Moray, the concentric agricultural experimentation site of the Incas. Box lunch with the mountain peaks, alpacas and locals. Afternoon light at the town of Ollantaytambo with locals, Incan walls and famous ruins.

Overnight El Albergue, Ollantaytambo (B, L)


Day 5: Wed 19th

Early morning train to Machu Picchu! We’ll leave our overnight bags at our hotel and then bus up to Machu Picchu for a private 2 hour tour in English.  We will have photographic permission to work with tripods and our cameras at the Citadel. We’ll allow for free time the rest of the afternoon to capture best light at Machu Picchu. Last bus down at approx.

Overnight, El Mapi, Aguas Calientes (B)


Day 6: Thursday June 20th

This next morning, rise & shine early for the first entry to the ruins. We will have photographic permission to work with tripods and our cameras at the Citadel. On your own for the first 4 hours, we’ll reconvene for our return train to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cusco.

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B)


Day 7: Fri 21st

Full Day to develop and present our Dags. Jerry will show us how to construct plate-holders and presentation techniques.

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B, L)


Day 8: Sat June 22nd

Cusco’s ubiquitous cock fights, city parades or street scenes. Individual discussions with Jerry and Adam.

We’ll round out our workshop with an afternoon Dag-review & discussion of our week’s work.

Final Group Dinner

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B, L)


June 23rd:
Sunday Day of Transition, personal exploration

Flight out for those not participating in the Extension (you may also choose to spend a few extra days in Cusco on your own). Those that would like to have some wind-down prior to travelling to the Titicaca region may do so while others may like to wander the city of Cusco. More practice and production time in our Dag Darkroom. Lunch.

Optional excursion to Cockfights; or the local County Fair Huancaro – think award-winning pigs, guinea pigs and Alpacas; children’s amusement rides that you wouldn’t consider putting your own nephew on; and great local food and music!

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco


Monday June 24th:
Festival of Inti Raymi, Cusco

Alternative flight out for those not participating in the Extension. Inti Raymi is a festival that delivers us back to the time of the Inca’s. The shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, it is a celebration and a sacrifice to the Sun God for the coming year’s bounty. This is one of the few events on the Peru tourist circuit where the locals outnumber the tourists, picnicking and relaxing on the hillside above the ceremony in the “mouth” of the Puma (Cusco’s original design was said to be in the shape of the revered Puma and the large stones of Sacsayhuaman represented the teeth – thus, the action and traditional sacrifice occur on the field between its teeth. This is the largest re-enactment of a traditional festival in the world and one of the largest festivals outside of Carnaval in Rio in the Americas.

Most tourists buy tickets to sit in the grand stands but sitting on the side of the mountain with the locals is where it’s at. You get your choice of perspective: up close to the official action on the esplanade or living it up with the locals on the overlooking bluffs nearby.

Overnight, Tambo del Arriero, Cusco (B, L)


Tuesday June 25th

We head out to the famous Lake Titicaca – the highest navigable lake in the world, where legend says the first Incas were born – and the rich Colonial town of Lampa.

We’ll be leaving Cusco early AM with stops along the way in the historic village of Andahuaylillas and the mid-way point of the traditional Incan road, the Temple of Raqchi; gorgeous altiplano scenery, endless alpaca and llama herds and rustic campesino farmers en route.

Overnight La Casona de Lampa (B, L)


Wednesday June 26th

The Circuit of the Bosque de Puyas de Tarukani and the “stone forest” of Tinajani comprise one of the most interesting elements of the Andean south. Tarukani is a forest of Puyas de Raimondi, massive prehistoric plants that grow as high as 3 meters (10 ft) and known for the thousands of small flowers they produce and pollinated by legions of insects and hummingbirds. The Puyas flower just once every 100 years, producing an enormous spike that shoots 10 meters (30 ft.) high, after which the plant auto-combusts and dies.

The Stone Forest of Tinajani is a huge extension of rock and canyon formations with secretive pre-Incan burial places. This fantastic canyon system with enormous monolithic boulder formations puts our civilization and pride in its proper place.

Overnight La Casona de Lampa (B, L)


Thursday June 27th

Early morning light on the Altiplano and a detour to the fabulous colonial church of Lampa. Little-known Lampa has a spectacular stone Cathedral (with a labyrinth of catacombs, a unique color-tile roof, and the only existing replica of the Vatican’s La Pietá). This town is a photo opp waiting to happen – friendly locals, no tourists and us. Portraits and people are the distraction today.

Overnight La Casona de Lampa (B, L)


Friday June 28th

We’ll move on via private boat to the historic Island of Taquile (Takile), with another very unique local indigenous population. A walk around the island, its terraces and the local herdsmen, preparing wools for their very special weavings and colors. We’ll bring our journey back to Puno via the famous floating islands of Uros, built on totora reeds in the middle of Lake Titicaca and hosts traditional descendants from over 500 years.

Overnight La Casona de Lampa (B, L)


Saturday June 29th

Mid-day flight out from nearby Juliaca to Lima for our international departures. Optional Lima city-tour for those with later flights.





Jerry Spagnoli is currently working on several projects, including two ongoing historical documentation series, “Local Stories” and “The Last Great Daguerreian Survey of the Twentieth Century.” A book of his work, Daguerreotypes, was published by Steidl in 2006. His next book, American Dreaming, will be published in 2012. His work has appeared in many books and publications, and is held in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The National Portrait Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, and other major collections. This is Jerry’s second year teaching for The Workshops. His web site is


“The uncanny ability of daguerreotypes to render things with a sense of real space and volume produces images with a feeling of palpable reality – the direct transmission of the “thing itself.” This realistic presentation is belied, however, by the obvious, idiosyncratic limitations inherent in the technology. Slow exposures, small size, limited color sensitivities, temperamental chemical reactions and the difficulties in viewing the image on a sheet of polished silver all combine to present the viewer with the experience of having to negotiate the reality depicted. The world represented in the daguerreotype can be inviting in its straightforwardness, but it demands compromises from the viewer, a flexibility with regard to what is and is not the truth in a documentary photograph.”


Adam L. Weintraub is a photographer based in Cusco, Peru, though he proudly proclaims Seattle as his home. For nearly 10 years, his workshops and tours have been combining inspiring artists who offer insight and creative collaboration in an intimate setting. He is currently coordinating efforts to create a permanent archive of the famed Peruvian photographer, Martin Chambi. Adam is a past three-term President of Blue Earth Alliance and is widely published, collected, hired and admired for his personal work. His just-published book, Vista Andina, offers a contemporary photographic perspective on the Andean region. Adam’s current pet-project is the Museo del Pisco in Cusco.




To reserve your space in my PhotoExperience workshop in Peru, a deposit of $400 is required at the time of registration. We cannot hold space in a workshop without a deposit. Once your deposit has been received you will be admitted to the workshop and we’ll send you a detailed itinerary, logistics information about Peru and the photography portion. We will send you a statement of your account, with the balance due, 120 days prior to the start of the workshop (February 15th, 2013), though the full balance can be made at time of registration. We will accept no further registrants after March 15th, 2013 due to Machu Picchu travel restrictions. We will limit the number of registrants to 12.


Email Adam L. Weintraub of ( Of course, you can also call/email Adam with questions.

This workshop is created in collaboration with the Photographic Center Northwest.



Digital or Film on-site: Participants can choose to photograph with film; or, preferably, you can work digitally, if you would like full course review with the rest of the group. If working digitally, please bring digital camera, laptop for back-up & appropriate software for editing; batteries, transformers 220V-110V and adapters (three prong round to 2 or 3 prong vertical) and memory stick/cards or other portable device to transfer files; it is highly recommended that you have a digital wallet or portable external hard drive/player for image back-up. A full list of recommended items comes with the Peru Info Packet once you’ve registered.




The fee for the workshop is $2850. This includes all instruction & materials, lodging, all breakfasts & most lunches, a few dinners, all entrance fees and ground transfers within Peru. Internal flights from Lima to Cusco and return from Cusco or Juliaca to Lima are not included. There is an additional $525 charge for a single room. For a companion who is not a photographer but would like to accompany our group, the fee is $2250. The Extension to Lake Titicaca is $1550 for both participant and companion; the single supplement is $300.


Extra expenses might include: individual excursions outside of group activities, some meals where noted on the Itinerary, alcoholic beverages, as well as tips for our guides and drivers. You may expect additional costs between $25 to $30 per day, depending on personal preferences.




Most meals and all transportation are included. All lodging is included at El Albergue of Ollantaytambo, El Mapi in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) and Tambo del Arriero while in Cusco. All are 3+ stars and come with wonderful character, local staff and secure and comfortable surroundings. In Lampa our lodging is rustic, but safe and comfortable. Internal flights from Lima to Cusco and return from Cusco or Juliaca to Lima are not included.




Travel to Cusco is not included. Flights can often be arranged from the United States (or your country of origin) but can be significantly cheaper if arranged directly from within Peru. Often a flight purchased to Lima has little additional cost to add Cusco as your final destination, with the return being from Cusco or Juliaca, depending on if you’re joining us for the Extension. You may contact Luis Calderòn (more info below) in Lima to arrange the overnight near the Lima airport for those arriving in Lima the night prior and subsequently leaving on an early-morning flight to Cusco. If you spend more than one night in Lima, I recommend staying in the Miraflores suburb. PhotoExperience can also assist you in arranging these details.

A note: If your international arrival in Lima is after 3pm, there are no flights immediately to Cusco and you’ll need to spend the night in Lima. If you’re arriving into Lima late at night, you should arrange for airport transfer and hotel through Luis Calderon or directly through the hotel. You’ll be well-rested for arriving at altitude in Cusco and will be able to enjoy a leisurely day getting to know Cusco instead of sleeping in your room.




Luis Calderon of Peruvian Expeditions is a long-standing partner of ours for all your Lima, Nazca, Ica or Coastal needs: from surfing along the North Coast or the natural marine sanctuary of Paracas to the South. You may contact Luis Calderon to organize a few days along the coast or a Nazca fly-by; he also offers Lima City Tours and roundtrip airport-to-hotel service for a safe ride. His local insights, cultural and historical understanding of Peru, as well as his great English and secure driving record (with his own 2010 SUV) make him a wonderful complement to your trip. Cellular: (+51)998-344-763 or (+51)995-186-818

or email




Before the tour we need to make important reservations, so if for any reason you need to withdraw, please notify us at least 120 days before the start of the tour for a $200 refund. If notification of cancellation is made between 120 and 91 days before the start of the tour, we will retain a $350 fee. If cancellation is made 90-46 days before the start of the workshop we will retain half of your full tuition; if cancellation occurs within 45 days of the departure there is no refund. For these reasons we highly recommend that you purchase Travel Insurance as explained below.


PhotoExperience reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by 90 days before the start of the workshop, and any deposit would then be forfeited. PhotoExperience is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies. In the unlikely event that a tour must be cancelled due to inadequate enrolment, all fees and deposits are refunded in full or may be transferred to another tour within 12 months. PhotoExperience is not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a cancellation. Again, this is why we highly recommend Travel Insurance. There are no exceptions to our Cancellation Policy.




We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We recommend Travel Insurance Services of Walnut Creek, California for this purpose. Their phone number is (800) 937-1387 and their Web site is With this insurance you can protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances that might prevent your attendance. We suggest a plan which offers coverage for medical and dental emergencies, lost baggage, missed connections, and trip cancellation should you unexpectedly need to cancel. PhotoExperience is not responsible for cancellations due to medical emergencies or reimbursement of airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation.