This past November I was able to fulfill an item on my bucket list, travel to Peru. I was able to spend a week in this wonderful country; sample its food, meet its people, see its many sights, hike the Inca trail, and experience Machu Picchu up close.
I have been an avid photographer for years, and decided to document my journey using my new Leica Q2 Monochrom. I am in the process of creating a photobook that documents all of this, 50 Shades of Peru.
On the second day of our trip, we traveled to the remote Quechuan town of Huilloc. Huilloc is located outside of Cusco, at the northern end of the Sacred Valley. It is a small Quechuan weaving community, truly off the beaten path.
Traveling to Huilloc is like taking a trip back in time. Its people continue the traditions and customs of their ancestors. Ancient Andean traditions are evident in the weaving, dance, meals and customs which are in full display.
We were able to witness a community dance, and at the end of our visit, a display of their weaving. If you liked something, you held it up and whoever made it approached you and gave you a fair price. No haggling, deal done. It was truly an experience I will never forget.
Unfortunately, photos such as these may be difficult to obtain in the foreseeable future. On our first day in Cusco we witnessed peaceful demonstrations against the Castillo regime. He has since been removed from office after trying to disband Peru’s congress. Castillo was a leftist from a poor rural farming community. Many of his supporters are also from poor, rural areas. According to the New Youk Times, they feel excluded from the political process, marginalized, and taken advantage of by Peru’s tourist industry.
Upon Castillo’s removal from office, these people have begun to protest in an effort to shut down the country. Protests have since turned violent, buildings burned, airports closed, and people killed. Machu Picchu is now closed to tourists until further notice.
Looking back on my pictures, and remembering the wonderful times I had, the people I met, and the experiences I enjoyed, I am saddened at the current situation and pray for a quick peaceful resolution for all the people of Peru.
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