Join acclaimed photographers Stella Johnson and Tom Griggs and discover the countryside around Medellín, Colombia, renowned for its perfect climate, friendly and lively ‘Paisa’ culture. We will photograph rituals, celebrations and street processions in the traditional pueblo of El Retiro, Antioquia with its colorful, colonial style buildings as our backdrop during Easter.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Colombian Easter procession by Susan Genaro
© Susan Genaro

Discover the countryside around Medellín, Colombia, renowned for its perfect climate, and friendly and lively ‘Paisa’ culture. We will photograph rituals, celebrations, and street processions in the traditional pueblo of El Retiro, Antioquia with its colorful, colonial-style buildings as our backdrop during Easter week.  

This class addresses story-telling with an emphasis on strong visual images. They can be portraits or urban landscapes, a slice of light, or an investigation of color. This class is designed for all levels of image-makers and iPhones and DSLR cameras are equally encouraged. Our goal will be to increase our visual and narrative capacities as we investigate the city by photographing both the processions and the preparations for these elaborate celebrations.

Colombia Workshop - Chip Kahn. 02jpg
© Chip Kahn

Bring your passions to explore and make compelling photographs! There will be hands-on, in-the-moment, on-the-street instruction, as well as daily group critiques. We will discuss ways to approach people and how to deal with ever-changing lighting situations. We will help you photograph the visual cacophony of the celebrations by making dynamic compositions that explode with light, shadow, and color and then help you to shape those images into a compelling body of work through selection and sequence.

Join acclaimed photographers and educators Stella Johnson and Tom Griggs. Stella is a recent Fulbright Scholar to Colombia, an educator, and a passionate documentary photographer who has worked extensively in Oaxaca, Mexico. Tom has been living, photographing, and teaching in Medellin and Mexico City since 2010.

© Susan Genaro, student 2019
© Susan Genaro, student 2019


Rooms have been reserved for students at both hotels. Students pay directly to hotels upon arrival.

El Retiro:

Meals: $10 is more than enough for an average meal, for a special meal in a nice restaurant maybe $20 max for food, more with drinks. We will be eating together but going Dutch, except for the Welcome and Farewell dinners which are hosted by Maine Media. El Retiro is a small, extremely welcoming town with good food choices. And of course, great places for coffee!

Currency: The official currency is the Colombian Peso and in contrast to many of its neighbors, the US Dollar – although widely exchanged – really is not generally accepted at all.

Electricity: Voltage: 110-120 Volts (Same as U.S./Canada).

Colombia Workshop - Tom Griggs 03
© Tom Griggs

Getting There

Flights: American, JetBlue, United, and others fly to Medellin’s Jose Maria Cordova (MDE) airport. Taxis and Uber are available for transport to your hotel.

When to arrive and depart: Arrival no later than Tuesday, March 26 in time for our evening gathering. Departure on April 1, or stay and explore more on your own.

Visas: All U.S. citizens who do not also hold Colombian citizenship must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and exit Colombia. U.S. citizens do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist or business stay of fewer than 90 days. You may be denied entry if you do not have a return ticket. Your passport should be valid for at least 90 days after your trip ends.

© Samantha Nieto, student 2019

Itinerary (Subject to change)

Arrive Tuesday, March 26, 2024 – Depart Sunday March 31 (late evening air return), or, Monday April 1, 2024.

Tuesday March 26, 2024 Day 1

 Welcome Dinner in Medellin

The first night we will stay at:

Rooms are reserved.

For those who arrive earlier in the day, perhaps a visit to the Museum of Modern Art and drinks at Tom’s place.

7:00pm: Welcome dinner in Medellin, TBD

Wednesday March 27, 2024

Day 2 

10:00 am: Portfolio reviews of former student work
1:00pm: Lunch TBA

3:00 pm: Visit to Botero Square, to see both the Museum of Antioquia and the Uribe Palace of Culture. It is also an incredible Sculpture park, always challenging to photograph.

5:00pm: We will leave together in private taxis for El Retiro, Antioquia and stay for three nights at: 

Rooms are reserved.

7:00 PM dinner TBA

Thursday March 28, 2024

Day 3 – El Retiro

7:00-10:00 am: Morning Photography TBA if students are interested.
1:00pm Lunch TBA

3:00 pm Children’s procession, 1-3 hours including preparations

6:30 pm Dinner TBA

8:00 pm Adult’s procession, 1-4 hours including preparations

Friday March 29, 2024

Day 4:

7:00-10:00 am: Morning Photography TBA if students are interested.
10:00 am: Portfolio reviews
1:00pm Lunch TBA
2:00pm-10:00 pm (exact time TBD)

Photograph in a vereda near El Retiro called Nazareth where they have Semana Santa with live actors, a live Jesus on the cross etc.

 Saturday March 30, 2024                               

Day 5: EL Retiro and Medellin

7:00-10:00 am: Morning Photography if students are interested.
10:00 am: Portfolio reviews
1:00pm Lunch 

Time TBD
Return to Medellin to photograph processions

Sunday March 31, 2024

Day 6:

9:00 -12:00pm Photograph San Javier procession in Medellin. Time to be determined. Photography and procession in San Javier and travel that night or stay on in Colombia. (Most flights back to US depart around midnight. We leave luggage at hotel and /or reserve a room for the early evening and depart around 10pm for airport)

4:00-6:00 pm Final Lunch/Dinner in Medellin, time and place TBD based on procession

8:00 pm- 10 pm Critique and stay the night or depart around midnight.

Monday April 1, 2024 Optional Departure

El Retiro is 20 kilometers from the International Airport.
2pm-12 am departures (most flights returning to the US are late night)

© Chip Kahn
Terms and Conditions for Travel Workshops
  • 1. Reservations & Payments
    A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop. Final payment in full is due 45 days prior to the start date of your workshop unless stated differently in the course description. Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.
  • 2. Cancellations
    Please review our cancellation policy.
  • 3. Basis of Rates
    All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.
  • 4. Insurance
    It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries, or illnesses. See our travel insurance recommendation here.
  • 5. Itinerary Changes
    The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.
  • 6.  Passports and Visas
    A valid passport is required for all international travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered.  Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.
  • 7. Medical Issues
    All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.
  • 8. Liability Waiver
    Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.  Click here to download.
  • 9. Responsibility & Photography
    To ensure a safe experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive, or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop.

Header Image Credit: Tom Griggs.

Instructor: Tom Griggs

Tom Griggs is a photographer, editor, educator, writer, and curator living between  Colombia and Mexico. He works in the field of fine arts, with an emphasis on  photobooks and text-image books. His latest photobook Ghost Guessed was named the best photobook of 2018 by  Alejandro Cartagena in Photo-Eye and named among the best of the year by Mariela  Sancari (LensCulture and The Britsh Journal of Photography), Brad Feuerhelm  (American Suburb X), and The Humble Arts Foundation. He has exhibited his photographs internationally including exhibitions in New York,  Berlin, London, Arles, and Belfast.

Instructor: Stella Johnson

Stella Johnson is a photographer and educator known for her passionate and honest documentary projects. She received a Core Fulbright Scholar Grant to photograph in Mexico in 2003-2004, and Fulbright Specialist grants to teach in Mexico in 2006 and in Colombia in 2018. The University of Maine Press published her monograph, Al Sol: Photographs from Mexico, Cameroon and Nicaragua in 2008. Wild Greek Press published her second monograph, ZOI, in 2018. Johnson’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally.