Peru 2013

Each of these photographs tells it's own individual story of the beautiful country that is Peru. From the harsh sunlight of the high Andes to the lush rainforest at the headwaters of the Amazon, from the coastal beaches to the dry islands on Lake Titicaca, I found beautiful people and ancient traditions and walked through gorgeous landscapes and over proud peaks. Although tourism is growing exponentially in Peru, I sought to capture the genuine passion and pride that continues to exist despite the influx of globalization.

Looking for a Wife

Looking for a Wife

Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca On the island of Taquile, the women spin and the men knit and one can easily tell the status of a man within the community based on the hat he wears. This boy’s hat boasts a white tip, which indicates that he is unmarried. Traditionally, he will give the identical hat tucked into his belt to a woman he is interested in. She will carefully inspect the gift for quality by pouring water into it. A tight weave holds the water and implies he is a skilled worker and ther

Spinning

Spinning

Sacred Valley, 2012

Ancient Eyes

Ancient Eyes

Lares Region, Andes Although the locals we met knew what my camera was and weren’t surprised by it, they also didn’t really understand exactly what it did. After taking a photo, I would often turn my screen around to show them the image. It was an incredibly novel experience for them to see a digital reproduction of their own face. The way that this little girl stared at the camera lens holds a beautiful lack of self-doubt that our facebook world rarely sees.

Fishing Net

Fishing Net

Cerro Azul, 2012

Old Woman

Old Woman

Cuzco The vast majority of the homeless in Peru are of an older generation and often women. As a problem that faces many countries throughout the world, there is no support network for older people who cannot work and have no children to take care of them. They typically end up on the streets, which can get quite cold in the high altitude city of Cuzco.

Worn Staircase

Worn Staircase

Machu Picchu, 2012

River Bonfire

River Bonfire

Puerto Maldonado, 2012

Amazonian Tree Farm

Amazonian Tree Farm

Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Deforestation is a very real issue in many parts of the Amazon Rainforest. It seems hard to believe when you’re there, since there appeared to be never ending trees and lush vegetation everywhere (especially to a native New Mexican like myself!). But when a local pointed out that all of the existing trees were relatively small and young, including this particular ‘tree farm’ on the banks of the river, the lack of the ancient giants became suddenly very noticeable.

Incan Door Hinge

Incan Door Hinge

Sacred Valley, 2012

Window

Window

Ollantaytambo, 2012

Amazon Blooms

Amazon Blooms

Puerto Maldonado, Amazon 2012

Jungle Fruit

Jungle Fruit

Puerto Maldonado, Amazon The wonderful little wildlife refuge we volunteered at is located in the humid Peruvian jungle at the headwaters of the great Amazon River. An ambitious woman named Megali, who was never without a monkey perched on her shoulder, ran the place with a mother’s firm hand. This fruit was soon to be dinner for dozens of monkeys, Macaws, coatis (jungle raccoons), and the loving pecari (wild pig) named Pancha.

Andes Reflection

Andes Reflection

Lares Region 2013

Through the Reeds

Through the Reeds

Lake Titicaca When my host brothers and I went to collect the scarce firewood for their cooking stove, we had to paddle a ways away in their small, man-powered boat. The young boy dropped me off up shore a bit before carefully poling his way through the reeds to dock as close as possible to the prospective wood. As we made our slow, heavy way back, I thought about how easy the on-switch on my gas stove is and how much we take that for granted.

Purple

Purple

Cerro Azul, 2012

Pacific Pier

Pacific Pier

Cerro Azul Just south of Lima, dry, empty desert hills meet the beautiful, cold Pacific Ocean. The tiny coastal town of Cerro Azul booms in the summer as a surfing destination. Even though we were there during winter months, we still found ourselves bravely pulling on our wetsuits for surf camp. Meanwhile, the flocks of giant pelicans above us would occasionally dive bomb into the water around the impressive pier.

Modern Flags

Modern Flags

Cusco, 2012

Sunset Leap

Sunset Leap

Cerro Azul The feeling of salt stinging your eyes, your fingers wrinkled from hours in the water, your muscles happily aching from the repetition… paddle, paddle, stand up, wipe out, paddle, paddle… And at the end of the long day, two of my wonderful campers still have the energy to dance happily in the breaking waves while one distant, lone surfer paddles out for one more wave.

Viva El Peru

Viva El Peru

Cusco, 2012

Shaggy Blue

Shaggy Blue

Cusco, 2012

Gate Technology

Gate Technology

Taquile Island, 2012

La hija

La hija

Lake Titicaca, 2012

Lonely Gato

Lonely Gato

Cerro Azul Just south of Lima, the small surf town of Cerro Azul is relatively abandoned in the winter months. This cat was one of our only companions as we walked along the empty seafront. And although the dry desert hills beyond only see an average of 1.2 inches of rainfall a year, the hazy gray, year-round clouds above almost never let the sun through.

Cusco Street

Cusco Street

Cusco, 2012

Gatito

Gatito

Ollantaytambo, 2012

Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley

Ollantaytambo, 2012

Mountain Commute

Mountain Commute

Lares Region, 2012

Lares Girls Drawing

Lares Girls Drawing

Lares Region, Andes Temporarily ignoring the alpaca socks they were meant to be selling us, these charming young girls focus intently on drawing. Paper and pens are in limited supply in this remote Andean town and these two didn’t hesitate to leave me wonderful little doodles of llamas and dogs in my journal.

Descendants of the Incas

Descendants of the Incas

Lares Region, 2012

Flock

Flock

Lares Region, 2012

Temple of the Sun

Temple of the Sun

Machu Picchu Resting loftily above the gracefully encompassing mass of Machu Picchu, the Temple of the Sun reaches toward the clear, cerulean sky above. This window looks eastward from a foundation of perfectly carved Incan stonework to greet the rising sun we had, hours before, witnessed appear from behind a magnificent Andean peak to bath the ancient ruins in warmth.

Best Friends

Best Friends

Uros Islands, Lake Titicaca, 2012

Oro y azul

Oro y azul

Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca One of my fondest memories of my time in Peru was sitting in this late afternoon sunshine, the beautiful deep blue of Lake Titicaca beyond, peacefully helping my host father snap the golden, seed-heavy heads off these dried harvest stalks. The serene, simple lifestyle of these isolated islanders is unique in our world of digital hyperactivity. That night, we joined our campers and locals in a spirited game of fútbol on the concrete pitch below and the next morning

Peru9-6.jpg

Peru9-6.jpg

Titicaca Catch

Titicaca Catch

Floating Islands of Uros, Lake Titicaca The native inhabitants of las islas flotantes de los uros live in a world of reeds. The islands themselves are harvested blocks of reeds, their houses, their stools, their dolls, and many of their tools are made of reeds. They even eat the reeds, in addition to these fish (that they catch from their reed boats!).

Mountain Pony

Mountain Pony

Lares Region, 2012

Attitude

Attitude

Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca I was always drawn to the kids we interacted with more than the adults. Maybe in part because I could be less self conscious of my Spanish, but also because they withheld nothing of their own unique personalities. This little girl topped them all with a cocky, confident attitude that I think this photograph embodies perfectly.

Incan Stonework

Incan Stonework

Machu Picchu, 2012

Anticipating Breakfast

Anticipating Breakfast

Lake Titicaca

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

Lake Titicaca My wonderfully isolated Titicaca host father asked me, totally genuinely, “So, in America, do you use wood or propane in your stoves?” The stove he uses here to make our breakfast of fried dough had no chimney and the smoke that poured into the tiny room was unhealthy and aggravating. Before leaving the community, we were able to help install a new chimney for the family.

Monito

Monito

Puerto Maldonado, 2012

Sheepherder's Son

Sheepherder's Son

Lake Titicaca My little host brother happily shared his life with me. He showed me how to herd their sheep with a branch and stake them down in a field to graze. Then he showed me his favorite game; stabbing a dried chunk of horse poop onto a stick, he would joyfully fling the small missile as far as possible. When I joined in, my campers groaned in disgust. But it was, in fact, quite fun.

Dirty Face

Dirty Face

Lares Region, 2012

Home

Home

Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Such a magnificent, proud rooster seemed almost out of place in our cook’s simple Amazon kitchen. The banana trees in the background were only a small portion of what the family hoped would grow into a larger farm. And although it was rustic, the place felt, undoubtedly, like home.

Condor

Condor

Lares Region, Andes The serpent, the puma and the condor represent the three very sacred animals worshiped by the Incas for hundreds of years. Traditionally admired for its ability to fly with the gods of the high mountains, this particular bird sadly had its magnificent wings clipped. Its caretaker holds the aggressive beak carefully as its wings beautifully mimic the mountains beyond.

Una naranja

Una naranja

Lares Region, Andes This Andean mother peels an orange for her child with a careful grace. It struck me as quite remarkable that these people, living a very traditional and simple life up in their dry, high-altitude mountains, are somehow still familiar with the sweet taste of a lowland fruit like an orange.

Yarn

Yarn

Sacred Valley, 2012

Mamita

Mamita

Sacred Valley Used in many Spanish-speaking countries, the term ‘mamita’ is often used to refer to women in the same we that we might say ‘ma’am’ in English. More common in Peru than other places I’ve travelled, there is a special reverence for the mother, or Pachamama, as a very important part of their native religion. I loved the endearing nature of the title and was always comforted when a local called me mamita as well.

Termites

Termites

Puerto Maldonado, Amazon Termites eat away at all wooden structures in the Peruvian Amazon. To slow these inevitable, gnawing creatures, most buildings, fences, and walkways are constructed with a very hard, specially treated wood. In this photo, a person walks behind; the fleshy, distant arm and leg blurrily creates a creepy contrast to the swarm of insects.

Sacred Light

Sacred Light

Ollantaytambo, 2012

Temple of the Earth

Temple of the Earth

Machu Picchu The famed city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, is a warren of ancient stonework. Steps worn from generations of feet lead to hundreds of small doorways and tiny rooms. The Temple of the Earth still retains it’s sacred feel, residing, peacefully half buried in the ancient mountainside.

Parrots

Parrots

Puerto Maldonado, 2012

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© 2018 by Malia Reeves