Thursday, January 29, 2009

Inca Stone

Funnily enough I think that this is going to be the photo that makes it into a frame on my wall. The large stone is named "The twelve angle stone", and can be found in the Hatum Rumiyoc street of Cusco. The wall it sits in is a famous example of Inca architecture, widely known for its fine masonry, which features precisely cut and shaped stones closely fitted without mortar.

The streets of Cusco


Nr. The Plaza San Blas, Cusco, Peru.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kelly


Taken on the Island of AmantanĂ­, Lake Titicaca.

The birthplace of the sun


Lake Titicaca is situated on the border of Bolivia and Peru, lying 3,812 m (12,500 ft) above sea level, which makes it one of the highest navigable lakes in the world. Ancient myth has it that the first Inca, Manco Capac, rose from a crag on one of the Islands, and that the lake is the Sun's dwelling place.

Primarily Titicaca is known for the Uros, a group of 42 or so inhabited artificial islands made of floating reeds. However there are also natural islands on the lake, one of which, AmantanĂ­, I visited, staying with a local family. The Island is truly stunning, with no cars or roads, overseen by two mountain peaks with Inca ruins, called Pachatata (Father Earth) and Pachamama (Mother Earth). The hillsides that steeply climb up from the lake from the lake are planted with wheat, potatoes, and vegetables, the fields still worked by the hands of the local Quechua speaking community. Cattle, sheep, and alpacas graze all around.

I don't have many photographs of the lake as I was on a moving boat most of the time, nor of the scenery of the Island I stayed on. But I do have photographs of the family I stayed with, who were wonderful smiley, warm people. My favorite is of Kelly, a little girl of 6 who wants to grow up to be a dancer, peeking through a door when I went off to watch a game of Islanders v Tourists high altitude football (tourists won, apparently a rare occurrence!). In my broken Spanish we got on very well, and I was showered with hugs and kisses when I left. Our 'Mama', Gladys, looked after us well, cooking amazing locro soup and vegtables and rice, with a ready supply of cocoa tea to help with the altitude sickness, all under the watchful eye of Grandmama (pictured in my previous post) and the solemn gaze of Kelly's cousin David.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Traveling


It's been over a month since I last posted anything, reason being I took a month out to do a bit of traveling. I promised myself I would keep away from the interweb as much as possible to try and regain some sense of what it was like to experience things through reality rather than through virtuality, sick and tired of the emptiness of virtual conversations, emails with no body language, and viewing life through the computer screen. The effect has been that I now feel much more grounded with life, who i am, less preoccupied with presenting a virtual image of my*self*, more skeptical of those who do so (as you can see traveling was not just done in the physical sense!).

I think this traveling has had a bit of an effect on my photography. In the images that will follow over the next few weeks (I took over 2000, it will take a while to get the good ones which I imagine will amount to about 50, together!). I've tried to capture how landscapes feel rather than how they look, and get to personalities through portraits. Technically, I now know all about the my camera and I've even experimented with RAW (the image of Machu Picchu is a RAW conversion to try and get that Ansel Adams effect). I hope you like what I've come back with, I'll be posting a few of the best on Flickr but I'm also keen to build an online exhibition, probably in SmugMug. As always critical feedback means a lot to me so please do tell me what you think, how I could improve etc.

Stay tuned....plenty more to come!

----Photographs above----
1. Mach Picchu (Peru)
2. Grandmama (Isla AmantanĂ­, Lake Titicaca, Peru)