Portfolio of Photographs

Photographs are a powerful way through which many people have come to know the Andes and their visual histories. Owing to his relationship with museum founders John and Dominique de Menil, Pierre Verger’s photographs of Andean people and festivals from the 1940s feature prominently in Enchanted: Visual Histories of the Central Andes. His images combine an alluring artistic romanticism with a type of distanced ethnographic documentation, but Verger’s work represent only a brief span in a long and rich history of Peruvian and Bolivian photography, which began in the 19th century. Adelma Benavente, Fernando Castro, Jorge Coronado, Keith McElroy, Natalia Majluf, Deborah Poole, Peter Yenne, and many others have produced exhibitions and
comprehensive studies of photography in the Andes and its different commercial and artistic trajectories since 1842, when the first daguerreotype studio opened in Lima, Peru. Photography quickly became an instrumental and widespread technology in the Andes. Starting in the 1920s, the cultural and political movement of indigenismo repositioned historically marginalized Quechua- and Aymara-speaking farmers and pastoralists as the embodiment of a modern Andean identity. Literature, poetry, and the visual arts—painting, printmaking, and photography—played increasingly important roles in the promotion of indigensimo. An impressive network of professional photographers and an aesthetic for imaging the Andes were well established in Peru and Bolivia when Verger first arrived in late 1930s. This section offers broader context for Verger’s images and the landscape of Andean photography with examples of work by Peruvian
and Bolivian photographers Martín Chambi (1891–1973), Julio Cordero (1879–1961), Crisanto Cabrera (1904–1990), and Horacio Ochoa (1905–78). Their studio portraits of individual sitters and groups, street scenes of festivals, and stunning images of such famous Andean sites as Sacsayhuamán and Machu Picchu circulated as postcards or in albums, exhibitions, magazines, newspapers, and books. They provide a different, possibly less foreign vision of the subjects that would later fascinate Verger and other European and North American visitors, such as Donald H. Biery and Peter Yenne. Between 1947 and 1951, Biery worked with the Ministry of Education in Peru to construct school buildings and train faculty. His candid snapshots during Inti Raymi and other festivals in 1949 are compelling documents from the same historical period as a number of the other

photographs in this section. In 1991, working with Adelma Benavente Garcia and Fernando Castro, Yenne cofounded the Photographic Archive Project, a multiyear initiative that digitized more than 15,000 glass-plate negatives of many early 20th-century Peruvian and Bolivian photographers. Peter Yenne’s own photographs are animated by the colorful processions and costumed performers of Bolivian festivals. The iconic images by Martín Chambi, recognized as one of most historically significant Andean photographers, are from the Jan Mulder Collection and were selected in collaboration with Stefano Klima. Finally, two works by Javier Silva Meinel (b. 1949), one of the Peru’s most prominent contemporary photographers, highlight the lasting significance of the Andean landscape, its people and festivals, as sources for making sacred histories visual.

All photographs are © by the photographer the year of their making.

Suggested Reading

Coronado, Jorge. Portraits in the Andes: Photography and Agency, 1900–1950. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018.

Coronado, Jorge. “Instances of Agency: Julio Cordero’s Archive and Photographic Portraits.” Bolivian Studies Journal 23/24 (December 2018): 24–45.

Coronado, Jorge. The Andes Imagined: Indigenismo, Society, and Modernity. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009.

McElroy, Keith. “The History of Photograph in Peru in the Nineteenth Century, 1839–1876.” PhD dissertation, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1977.

Kossoy, Boris. “Photography in Nineteenth-Century Latin America: The European Experience and the Exotic Experience.” In Image and Memory: Photography from Latin America, 1866–1994, ed. Wendy Watriss and Lois Parkinson Zamora. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.

Majluf, Natalia, and Luis E. Wuffarden, eds. La Recuperación de la Memoria, 1842–1942. Lima: Museo de Arte de Lima y Fundación Téléfonica, 2001.

Mulder, Jan. Chambi en la Colleción Jan Mulder. Lima: Centro de la Fotografía and Centro de la Imagen, 2018.

Poole, Deborah. Vision, Race, and Modernity: A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Trevisan, Paul, and Luis Massa. “Fotografías Cusqueñas Atravesando el Indigenismo.” Aisthesis no. 46 (2009): 39–64.

Peter Yenne. “Lost Worlds: Recent Discoveries in Andean Photo-History,” Aperture, no. 173 (Winter 1993): 32–45.

Hymn to the Sun

“Himno al Sol,” derived from traditional melodies by early-20th-century urban musicians evoking Inca references, has been played since the 1940s at recreations of the Inti Raymi solar festival. Courtesy of Zoila S. Mendoza