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Pure Peru

My Scholarship entry - Pure Peru

Peru | Friday, 11 January 2013 | 5 photos


As an artist, my passion is to create honest, evocative work, free of pretense. The same desire motivates my photography: reflect the world & it's emotional impact on me as honestly as possible. To MOVE people, something very hard in a generation so anesthetized & oversaturated. A NatGeo cover of AngkorWat was all I needed to embark on a pilgrimage thru SE Asia. A photo of a Shipibo shaman all the motivation required to explore Peru. Other than memory (eroding away) Photography is the closest thing I have to an emotional bookmark, one to share with others, to evoke wonder. It maintains the purity of the NOW, untainted by bigotry or opinion.
Billions of lives, each as vivid & complex as my own, with their own dreams, routines & rituals, exist. Some star as background extras, or as minor speaking roles as waiters serving tea. Some have changed my life immeasurably. Photography becomes reason enough to engage with these lives in a real way, or a motivation for adventure in the untamed wild - to record not for you alone but for everyone who would see that photo. To share a seemingly mundane scene with someone to whom it is unfamiliar & enchanting. A lost moment in time, restored.

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The inscription below this crucifix implores the passerby to venerate this ancient symbol. What is going on in the life of the man who walks by it? Is the book in his hand a bible or a journal? Is he a believer in God? Where is he going, and why does he wear that expression of contentment? What songs play in his ears as he walks the streets of the city? Is it his, or is he one of the many who come to Lima seeking fortune? Despite widespread poverty, pollution and social inequality, the city continues to attract many from the countryside seeking a better life, another passerby in this sprawling metropolis. Another bookcover to a story I'll only have read a line of.

Catholicism, brought by the Spanish Conquistadors, left a deep mark on Peruvian society. The city center of Lima, home to almost a 3rd of Peru's 30 million inhabitants, radiates outwards from the Plaza De Armas, the central square from which all points in Peru are measured. Catholicism played a major role in Peruvian culture and society since conquest and  in some respects it's introduction wiped clean thousands of years of knowledge and belief, leading to the death and persecution of many, and as a justification for the Spanish conquest (

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