** This article was co-written by Kat Gilbert, Beth Delthony and Danielle Sclafani **
With the introduction of digital cameras, photography has become accessible to everyone and photography tours are becoming increasingly popular activities to do on your vacations. One company now offering these tours in Santiago is Foto-Ruta – offering workshops that lets you really see the city you’re in. It’s easy, creative and loads of fun. Recently, three of Santiago Tourist’s finest ladies attended Foto-Ruta’s Santiago launch, set in the lovely and slightly boho Barrio (neighbourhood) Lastarria.
Foto-Ruta is company in the early days of what will surely be a long and successful existence. It is the much-loved brainchild of Buenos Aires based photographers Joss and Becky. Thanks to the help and motivation of Santiago-based photographer Cat, this fantastic experience is now available to tourists, students, travellers and locals, in and around Santiago.
Here’s how it works: you turn up with a camera. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest Nikon with all the gadgets or if you have an iPhone. Either way, the workshop enables the melding of getting to know your city and getting to know your camera (whatever it may be). The Foto-Ruta team guide you through a crash course in photography and then send you off into the Barrio with a map (which you do or do not have to use) and a list of “clues”. These clues are suggestions for what or who to include in your list of things to point your camera at, and are open to a great deal of interpretation. Essentially, participants are encouraged to be confident and relaxed about the process. When the exploration time is up, photos are shared and discussed (with many positive comments given), the ambience of creativity nudged gently along by the plentiful wine. Don’t fear – the girls are extremely professional and very friendly. They put us completely at ease and erase any fear of “not being very creative”.
If you’ve taken photography courses in the past, don’t expect too much substantial technical feedback from a basic Foto-Ruta workshop. It’s more an opportunity to meet new people and engage in a dialogue about Santiago culture and photography, for a reasonable price (discounts given to groups of 6 or more). At this time, the Santiago contingent is offering a half-day weekend workshop.
More options are coming soon, like those available in Buenos Aires:
Academia: half- and full-day customised street photography workshops
Foto-Ruta Labs: full day photo-editing workshops
iPhoneography: iPhone camera and camera app tutorials
Reviews from the Santiago Tourist attendees:
Beth: “They are professional photographers who love their jobs and want to share that love with you. So get out and explore Santiago from a new angle and wow your friends with the stuff you capture!”
Danielle: All in all, Foto-Ruta provides a unique and relatively affordable activity for a day in Santiago and an opportunity to begin to explore the art of urban photography in a social atmosphere. I recommend it highly for individuals and families of all ages and abilities, sign up for a chance to see Santiago through new eyes.
Kat: Whatever you do, go! It’s a fantastic day out and a great way to get in touch with your camera, your creative side and your city.
Please note: Although we attended the media launch free of charge, this post contains our unbiased thoughts and opinions of our experiences at the Foto-Ruta workshop.