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.
In my last trip to Peru I stumbled upon a ceremony where people came to have their vehicles blessed by a priest in the parking lot of a 200 year old church. The priest from the church was going car to car and showering cars, people, engines, tires and grandmas alike with holy water as well as blessings to ensure the people safe travel. The church, located up a mountain from San Salvador in a tiny enclave named Huanca, hosts the ceremony every year and the 200 or so people had driven from all around Southern Peru.
The 200 year old church which hosts the ceremony is an hour East of Cusco, the city in the South of Peru that one goes to before venturing on to Machu Picchu.
Just returned the other day from my second jaunt to the land of my girlfriend. Spent 3 weeks, a couple in Lima then a week in the south where my moms and I tackled a day on the famed Inca Trail and then took in Machu Picchu. Twice in 9 months..never thought that would happen..so don’t need to go there for about 5 years but lots more to see in Peru. I would like to visit a more recently discovered ruin in the north named “Kuelap” that is said to rival Machu Picchu and gets just a handful of tourists. Also, the deserts of Ica are amazing for paleontology. Take a walk back in there and u will literally stumble on exposed whale skeletons.
All the images here are from my G9 Point and Shoot. I shot 20 rolls of film but haven’t gotten them souped yet. The images are actually in the chronological order I shot them starting on Dec 21 to Jan 11th. Lots more to come…
Bugs. All sorts of bugs. I am not sure what specific little bastards ate us raw during the 4 workshops that we conducted in the Amazon but they surely had their way with us. I only caught it in the neck and back and feet but the rest of the group had a plethora of suffering in different spots… We were told it was the “white mosquito” that was tormenting us, a tiny, quiet feaster. This is just one of the reasons I am not upset I will not be returning anytime to soon to the Bajo Urubamba.
The Holga camera is a 120 or 2 1/4 film camera with a plastic lens. It vignettes, distorts and falls apart while using it. It is generally used to impart an antique, artful vision to your photographs. I started to use them in school in the early 90′s and continue to as their simplicity is a respite from the hyper-techincal side of photography. The camera has virtually no functions..a focus dial with little pictures of one person, two people, a group of people or a mountain and shutter speed settings, normal (60th of a sec.) and Bulb (which is setting for holding open the shutter indefinitely). It has recently had a crazy resurgence in popularity and now comes in multiple models, colors and the lens are being made to fit DSLR’s. Their is even an iPhone app to make your photos appear as if they were taken with one….You never know what ur going to get with a Holga, one of its simple beauties.
The last time I was in the community I am working with in the southern Amazonian region of Peru, there was a ceremony for kids graduating from kindergarten. It was at this weird event (natives listening to french waltz, children dressed in western garb, baked goods!) that I was a witness to an array of jungle cakes the world has seldom seen. Either baked in one of the few mud ovens around the community or just sealed up in molds and cooked over heat on gas burners, the cakes were walked thru a heavy rain to the community building. These funky looking, nuclear colored American totems struck me as an interesting note showing the current waves of globalization washing over our shrinking world.
and here is a short video of the proceddings:
The Andes out of the 8 seater plan I was lucky enough to take for the last two trips to the jungle forgoing the triathlon of nausea I was getting sick of.
The downside of flying to the amazon is being stuck at the base camp of the oil company we are being sponsored by. Its called Nuevo Mundo (New World) as is the community they rent the land from a 1/2 mile away. Fuckin missionaries. It’s tiny and ur confined to little aluminum boxes for rooms with bunk beds and not allowed to leave the little wood walkways. This is the runway.
I went to the disco in our community to get a light and was scarcely greeted in the dark by this monster. These two bar-backs did not know what lurked just above them nor would they of cared though this huge spider is quite poisonous. They most likely would have walked around and smacked it dead with their hand.
Anyone know the way to Pgirukotanwu Pwiyawaka?
On the last days of our trip the students took us fishing. We stopped by the farm of one of my students who had stopped attending class as he had to help out on the family farm. These shots are from that land which was unlike anything I had seen in the amazon; rolling hills, cows, lots of birds, tons of fruit trees and serious traditional living.
The ants are that big. The voracious insects are one thing I won’t miss about the jungle.
fucking Cameron. Though in defense of my student, who carved this on his handmade oar, his last name is Lima.
I walked up a ravine for about 45 minutes feeling like I was the first man to do so and that I would come upon a giant snake at any moment. No snakes but did see this butterfly with transparent wings.
This is the living room of the family whose upstairs we used for our tent city each month. Watching one of the daughters make a cake gave me another inkling about how I may have gotten sick. I also watched the adorable baby in the background (who we lovingly called the “gorda nina” or “fat baby”) be bathed in a bucket in the kitchen which then after our fish was dressed in before dinner.
I have been told from quite reliable sources that the reasons a lot of the kids had orangish-blond hair was a lack of nutrients in their diet but I am not sure how that would explain the eyes.
This woman is looking at a photo one of my students took of her working in traditional Amazonian ceramics. That was one of the topics a student choose as there are only 3 woman left in the community still practicing the craft and it surely will die out as the kids get more wooed by the likes of Hannah Montana and what not. Was a nice moment. Almost got a smile out of a community member which was quite a feat.
This guy, who is mute due to falling out of a hammock as a child, is our good buddy when we go to the community. He has an amazing spirit, smiles a lot and likes to break into spontaneous body-building poses. I think he may have been drunk here as it’s during a Sunday afternoon futbol match (though he always does this..) More of him can be seem per ur request.. While talking to him he makes this wonderful, high-pitched squeal. His father communicates with him with a unique sign language.
Here is a video of an amazing electrical rainstorm unlike any I have ever witnessed. The lightening was not striking down (as far as I could tell) but it was continuous, lighting up the sky and surroundings every 20 seconds. We were just advised if it happens again to leave our shelter which uses as a roof corrugated steel. Whoops. Where should we go? To someone elses house with a thatched roof in the middle of the night? The video could use an edit but there are some big flashes in there… The roof also accounts for the incredible volume. And the darkness was amazing. The kind of darkness where you literally can not see your hand in front of your face. It was kind of freaky actually. My eyes where straining to focus on something. In the tent it is completely black.
Here is one more slightly boring video. It is of this cool car barge boat thing we go over everytime we go into the Amazon. It loads up cars and then uses a bunch of outboard motors sideways to push across a river crossing. I found it romantic in a primitive sort of way..