I just made this epic tome of my images from Peru. I built it as a book dummy and portfolio piece. Its about 160 pages and is being printed on high quality, Ilford Pearl Lustre paper with archival end pages, an oatmeal colored linen cover with this cool, wrap around cover sheet. You can view it here and even order one though its damn expensive. My concept for the book was to show different vignettes and photo stories from my 9 months of travel in Peru in 2009 and have fun, colorful chapter breaks with grids of various cultural items. Some examples below.
The PBR professional bull-riding rodeo is back gracing our shores here in NYC. I shot it a few years back for the Huffington Post but never got it up here on MPT so here is a link to the full photo-story. I’ve posted a couple images below along with the text which I penned (something I rarely do). I was drawn to the event as its quite a juxtaposition having this old Western tradition in the middle of the concrete jungle.
“The Professional Bull Riders rodeo came to Madison Square Garden January 9th-11th, and the smell of 700 tons of dirt and cow manure brought out every closeted cowboy this side of the Gowanus Canal. In its modern incarnation what with jumbo-trons, pyrotechnics and corny patriotic salute to the U.S Border Patrol (a corporate sponsor), the event was basically NASCAR with live, angry animals. The fans cheered their favorite riders to eight seconds of glory, but the Garden became eerily silent when competitors were stomped and gored by their 2,000 lb. adversaries, hands slowly dipping back into their nachos as they watched the replay of the carnage above.”
Here is a the on-line publication of A STORY I did a couple months ago for COSAS magazine about the Peruvian Basketball league. Its in Spanish but the story got a nice lay-out.
Peru has one of the oldest bullfighting rings in the world. It dates back to the 1700′s. It was my first bullfight and was an intense experience. Hot, dusty, bloody & cruel but steeped in tradition with colorful pomp and circumstance, this spectacle is a cultural relativist’s dream debate. Is it a sport? Not sure. The world’s top matadors were there, mostly from Spain. It goes like this:
The bulls are ushered out to applause as they madly dash into the ring (one lucky one was disqualified after breaking off one of his horns after smashing into a wall). The other 5 where not so lucky. They start by fighting a number of different matadors or others, some on horseback. Colored spikes are thrown into the neck which helps to tire out the bull as he loses blood as well as correct any certain ticks he has while charging. After about 30 minutes when he is good and tired and in shock , the matador tries to deliver a long sword into a small spot on the bull’s neck where it can pass all the way into his heart. This never happened and a Peruvian assistant would have to deliver a series of knife blows to the head to finally kill the bull. When dead, they are dragged out of the ring by horses and then butchered immediately. Here is some more technical info.
Yes, it was cruel no doubt, but the life these 1000 lb. animals get is a hell of a lot better than the lives the animals we eat experience on the factory farms that 99% of our meat comes from. I wasn’t too impressed with the sporting aspects of it much as it seemed by the time the matador does his little dance the bull is so tired he is barely charging. Makes me wonder what the Peruvian cultural would be like if it hadn’t been squashed and stripped by the Spanish.
I recently did two shoots for a beautiful magazine in Peru called COSAS. They are an up-scale magazine and have at least 7 different magazines in the COSAS family (food, Mens, Home, Design, etc). They were super excited about me doing some reportage for them and I submitted a long list of pitches (including Shamans of Centro Lima, the sexy policewoman of Lima who wear jodpurs, boots and leather jackets and also the bullfighting that is now taking place in Lima which has the oldest bullfighting ring in the world.). The images are already going to press for next months issue.. here are my favorites.
The first shoot was of the Killers concert in Lima. The band is one of the first big bands to come to Lima in years and the city was abuzz. Thousands of people singing the lyrics including kids, not something I have seen before.
Now this busker was AMAZING. He was playing the big hits from the Killers on the Andean flute for change. He was one of the many sufferers of polio you see on the streets here. I couldn’t believe he learned the songs for the show and was really excited about this image and his story. When I showed it to the editors everybody laughed and said he is at all the shows doing the same thing..
The other story I did for the magazine was profiling three foreigners who play in the Peruvian basketball league. Two were from the US and one from Senegal.
This guy, originally from Brooklyn but living in Toronto for most of his life, had quite a harrowing tale. He, along with a friend, came to Peru a couple years ago to smuggle back drugs. At the airport the bags of cocaine his good friend had swallowed broke open in his stomach and he died hours later in the hospital. Andrew decided go with his friend instead of getting on the plane and then confessed and served two years in jail. He says they won’t give him his passport back and the Canadian embassy won’t help him so he is basically stuck here. He wondered the streets for about three weeks before stumbling on a basketball camp (a couple blocks from my apt.) where he ended up getting an unpaid job teaching kids. He then started playing on a team in the league. Most of the foreign players here are black and and many claim to be victims of racism. Peruvian say that their society is quite prejidious. I put the halo over his head to show how he is not really a bad person and to reflect the “religion” he found while in jail…
This reflects the typical height difference these guys encounter in Peru. Even I feel kinda tall here!
This dude was a Harlem Globetrotter! Lives in NYC, has a family in Mexico whose leagues he also plays on. Seems that guys who don’t make the NBA end up playing in leagues around the world, sorta like giant nomads.
This guy is one of the best players in the league. He is from Senegal, is HUGE and plays for a private beach club with 10,000 members so thought this would be a fitting local for his portrait.