The Blessed Ones (CSI Cuzco), Peru 2006
The name of my fifth Peruvian workshop: The Blessed Ones (CSI Cuzco) perfectly conveys this unforgettable trip. Sara and I had the incredible experience to witness an autopsy in the middle of nowhere. We were unexpectedly given permission to partake in this very difficult moment. A day later, Marc and I stumbled upon a wedding. It turned out that they were just the preliminaries of the celebrations. Little that we know, we were all invited to the reception to be held in a hamlet at 4000 meters above sea level. Upon arriving we were welcomed by a storm of wild green parrots flying over our heads. What a spectacle to see how happy they were fluttering free in the clear sky.
The light was magical and so were many of the moments that flowed in front of us. We all worked hard to capture interesting images. After parting from our hosts we returned to Maras. The van slowly made its way back on the narrow dirt road flanked by majestic mountains. The snow-capped Andes laid unconcernedly vast in front of us. To our great surprise, approaching the village we stumbled upon the funeral cortege of the man that we had seen being dissected by the coroner the day before. I made the decision to follow the crowd slowly walking towards the cemetery in the outskirt of town. It was not easy task to document the crying of the desperate children mourning their father’s sudden death. But nobody seemed to mind our presence. One man gently pushed some people out of my frame to allow me a clearer angle. The light had slowly faded as the coffin was finally put to rest. I moved toward the widow. I offered a bit of money for the difficult future of raising six children alone. She embraced me tightly for a few moments. At that very moment I felt that all these incredible epiphanies were the clear sign that Peru had to become the country that I’ve been destined to probe next in my photographic life. I’ll pay attention to these divine signals and I’ll try to make sure to return to Peru as often as possible in the years to come. More workshops are being planned to discover and share with my students this captivating country.