PERU

A LAND OF CONTRASTS…

PERU

A LAND OF CONTRASTS…

PERU

A LAND OF CONTRASTS…

PERU

PERU IS ONE OF THE MOST DIVERSE COUNTRY ON EARTH. IT’S GOT EVERYTHING : OCEAN, DESERT, VOLCANOES, GLACIERS, JUNGLE…ETC AND A UNIQUE IDENTITY PARTICULARLY ! I’VE HAD THE CHANCE TO EXPLORE IT FOR YEARS, AS A TRAVELER OF COURSE, BUT ALSO AS A TREKKING GUIDE. BY FOOT, BY CAR OR BY MOTORBIKE, I’VE ENJOYED EVERY TRIP I’VE DONE IN THIS COUNTRY. EMBARK ON A JOURNEY WITH ME, AND GET TO SEE THE PERU I KNOW…

BREATH OF MODERNITY

PALCCOYO COMMUNITY

BREATH OF MODERNITY – PALCCOYO COMMUNITY

In the high Andean mountains of the Cusco region, at 4,300 meters above sea level, the community of Palccoyo has lived for generations. Deeply rooted in its Quechua culture and attached to its agriculture and traditional activity of pastoralism, this community has always lived isolated from the rest of the world. Here, there was neither telephone network nor Internet. Little “Neymar” could have therefore grown up there peacefully in the affection of his loved ones, his teddy bear and in the natural light of the sun if, recently, access to electricity had not allowed the introduction of television and smartphones in several homes.

Since then, while some still enjoy moments of shared complicity and silent contemplation of the play of light on the walls of houses, more and more children and parents alike are captivated by the artificial light of this screen, which extend the day in the darkness of the night.

Admittedly, the traditions persist, always maintained by the elders, but the breath of modernity is not far away and insinuates itself into the minds, threatening a cultural identity and an intergenerational understanding preserved until now. Eyes meet less often, words sometimes come up against incomprehension, the memory of the elders, finding little echo among the new generations, is slowly walled up in silence, and parents are worried about having to protect their children against certain addictions or dangers that they had not imagined and for which they are not necessarily armed.

Slowly, the younger generations assimilate to the Western culture. In addition, the construction of roads, the proximity of towns further down the valleys, and the promise of a “better” and more comfortable life, end up attracting them. Added to all that, climate change threatens the ancestral and traditional lifestyle of alpaca breeders as periods of drought become much longer and more intense.

In response to all these existential issues for the community, the idea of exploiting their natural heritage, the insane nature that surrounds them, their traditions and their crafts in the development of local and community tourism begins to grow in their minds.

Change is underway and the community of Palccoyo will not escape it, to the detriment, certainly, of part of its cultural identity and its authenticity. Should we regret it? Maybe, who knows? Any change comes with its own set of pros and cons.

QOYLLUR RIT'I FESTIVAL

QOYLLUR RIT’I FESTIVAL

Qoyllur Rit’i is the snow and star festival of Peru. It is the most important pilgrimage in the entire Andes.

Peru is a Catholic country. Still, it is very much a syncretic one, meaning that Andean cosmology and spiritual tradition live alongside Catholic belief.

Every year, around May or June, about 100,000 people walk 8 kilometers up high in the mountains to pray the “ Lord of Qoyllur Rit’i ”, at 4,700 meters above the sea level in the region of Cusco. Thousands of dancers and musicians perform and celebrate religious beliefs during more than a week. They come mostly for celebrating the stars, the mountains (Apus), honoring Jesus Christ and the local glacier, which is held to be sacred.

THE FACE OF THE AUSANGATE

THE FACE OF THE AUSANGATE

Somewhere high in the Andean mountains of the Cusco Region, there are valleys inhabited for centuries by Quechua people who have always lived in harmony and respect for the 6,000 meter mountains that surround them, which they believe to be gods. One of them is the Ausangate (6384m), the highest and most sacred mountain in all Southern Peru.

This is a region where one can still witness authentic scenes of life, as if time had changed nothing, where traditions persist. A region of insanely colorful mountains which are among the most beautiful ones in the world…

The recent arrival of tourism has several significant impacts, both positive and negative. On the one hand, it brings a lot of new job opportunities and revenues for locals, and not only. But on the other hand, the way it is organized, and mass tourism in general, destroy the relationships between these communities, their cultural identity and authenticity, as greed and jealousy spare no human being…

The region is also developing very quickly. Roads and schools are being built every day. And climate change is clearly felt as droughts become longer and more intense. As a consequence, many dream of a much more comfortable life lower in altitude near the cities. The alpacas but above all, the cultural identity and authenticity of these Andean people are clearly threaten.

Change is underway.. Any significant change comes with its own set of pros and cons.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

In between my expeditions in the different environments of Peru, I usually come back and rest in cities such as Cusco or Huaraz for example. I’ve been intensively practicing street photography this year in particular (2023). I love the atmosphere and the life in general around local markets. They are culturally so interesting to me…

CORDILLERA BLANCA

CORDILLERA BLANCA

The Cordillera Blanca is the highest mountain range in Peru, with Huascaran as its highest peak (6,768m).
My wife and I went there for a ski-mountaineering expedition in May 2023. We climbed Vallunaraju and Pisco mountains which respectively have an altitude of 5,686 and 5,752 meters above the sea level.

HIGH JUNGLE OF CUSCO REGION

HIGH JUNGLE OF CUSCO REGION

Behind a high mountain pass and towards Machu Picchu, there’s a lush green and humid environment, surrounded by impressive 6,000-meter snow capped mountains. The nature is raw, wild, and the valleys impressive ! I’ve had the chance to photograph this stunning environment, and to meet lovely families who live there. They allowed me to document their lives…

DESERT ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST

DESERT ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST

Very recently, I’ve had the chance to cross Peru from North to South, alone on a motorcycle, along the Pacific coast. I’ve been amazingly surprised by how arid and desolate it is. But I enjoyed so much this extreme feeling of adventure ! A classic day looked like this : riding through amazing sand dunes, but always reminded how dangerous this could be being alone, on my own, in such a hostile environment. At the end of the day, I usually reached civilization along the Pacific ocean, and I could enjoy some amazing fresh sea food with a small beer…

THE PANAMERICAN HIGHWAY

THE PANAMERICAN HIGHWAY

Sometimes, some long journeys are necessary. They could be very annoying for many people. But not for me. When I have the opportunity, and to pass the time, I have fun photographing everything I can, and trying to translate my feelings, through the window. The famous Panamerican Highway never leaves me indifferent.
Here’s a series about it, shot during a three-day miserable trip…

ONE OF THOSE ROAD TRIPS

ONE OF THOSE ROAD TRIPS

After driving thousands of kilometers on the Panamerican highway, the ascent towards the high plateaus is always interesting. The weather and the quality of light are often here to remind you how wild this country is.
Photographing my roadtrips has become a nice hobby of mine…

QUECHUA YOUTHHOOD

QUECHUA YOUTHHOOD

A small photographic project on young Quechua kids. Their world intrigues me.
I try to immerse myself into their youth, so different from the one I had at first sight,
but in the end, not so much..

SEE ALL IMAGES IN MY GALLERY

MORE PHOTOS FROM MY DIFFERENT JOURNEYS…