This past November, Master’s students participated in a CLACS photo contest with images from Latin America and the Caribbean. Here we present a picture from each participant.
CLACS students are not only brilliant academics, but also remarkable observers and photographers!
Charlie Uruchima took the above picture in Otavalo, in the summer of 2012. Otavalo is located in the northern Andean region of Ecuador. “I went up to Ecuador that summer to practice my Kichwa after having taken an intensive summer Quechua course in Cusco, Peru. The photo was captured along my way to the town’s main plaza,” said Charlie. The young woman shown in the picture is a shoe shiner belonging to the Asociación de Betuneros de Otavalo (The Shoe Shiners Association of Otavalo). The cart on the foreground is used to transport her shoe shining equipment (shoe shining kit, chair, umbrella, etc.). The picture captures the viewer for its nice composition and intense colors. The peeling green wall resembles an abstract painting.
The following picture displays a young girl leaning on a brick wall. In the out of focus background there is another standing figure.
Antonio Manuel Tlaloc Torres took this picture in Cusco. He explained that “the female behind the little girl was her mother. The mother was selling handmade sarapes and other textiles. The girl was actually playing with her little brother and was making a stink face at him as she was being teased.”
The contrast between the details of the foreground and the blurry background, as well as the colors of the photo and the fact that the subject is staring at the viewer, are reminiscent of Steve McCurry’s pictures.
Zaira Shianne Simone’s photograph depicts a masquerade band in Brooklyn’s West Indian American Day parade in August 2012. The majority of people who participate in costume for carnival in Brooklyn are women. “This image captures this relationship between masquerade and female identity,” she explained. “Furthermore, it depicts the existence of the Caribbean diaspora in New York City. I was so memorized by seeing a sea of women, adorned in blue feathers and accessorized with different national-Caribbean flags. For me this is what defines carnival……carnival is an assemblage of materials and subjects.”
The blue feathers really catch the eye and the movement portrayed suggests the liveliness of the event.
The picture below was shot by José Raúl Guzman in the spring of 2005 in Oaxaca, Mexico. “I was on a field trip with my Latin American art history class from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. We had spent the semester studying contemporary artists and spent a week visiting galleries in Oaxaca” Guzman said.
The image shows the internal garden of an art gallery. The white walls and the corridor drive the attention towards the tree visible behind the arch and transmit a sense of peace and calmness.
Constanza Smita Ontaneda Rehman-Khedker took the next picture last year, around Christmas in Lima, Peru. Rehman-Khedker describes the photo, “I was walking through Parque Kennedy in the Miraflores district of Lima. Miraflores is a posh, tourist district where a lot of cool art exhibitions and alternative events go on. In the park were many artists and artisans and exhibitions of all sorts. There were many different mangers and when I saw this one with the Little Christ, I was taken aback. The little statue itself is typical of mangers here: Christ is White, with brown hair, but what I found quite provoking and fascinating is that in this manger they dressed him in Shipibo clothing!”
The Shipibo are an indigenous people who live along the Ucayali River in the Amazon rainforest in Peru. As Constanza highlighted, the syncretism between the Shipibo and Christian traditions is very intriguing.
CLACS offers its students the opportunity to do field research in Latin America and the Caribbean during the summer between the first and second year of their Master Program. The following photos were taken by second-year students, who captured them in summer 2013.
Kenia E Morales-Zamora photographed the picture above that shows the Panamerican highway in northern Nicaragua. “I took the picture in July 2013 when I was on my way to conduct an interview for my MA thesis with a women’s organization in Estelí. I think it captures the Nicaraguan landscape, it’s bright green and there’s always rain on the way, or so it seems during the summer.” Kenia’s thesis focused on Nicaraguan feminist mobilization to expand sexual and reproductive rights in the country. The clouds swollen with rain cast a dark shadow on the landscape that shines with its bright green tonalities.
Michael Philip Abbott shot the picture above during his field research in Bolivia. His thesis was entitled: “Imperialist Musical Chairs: Brazil and the US in Morales’s Bolivia.” He describes the city where the image was taken: “Different from other cities I know, where the pulsating lights of Times Square and the oncoming mass of freeway billboards are always selling and calling for attention, La Paz has very little urban advertising. Only Bolivian President Evo Morales breaks through the publicity silence. Through huge banners like the one I photographed close to La Paz’s San Francisco Cathedral, the government sells its achievements with Evo’s charisma and image: the construction of an aerial tram, water for rural communities, or nationalized gas. In this banner, the selling point is a bit less tangible, but no less important for Bolivians who feel that Evo’s personal story mirrors Bolivia’s as a nation once small and humiliated now rising as a ‘Patria soberana, pueblo digno.‘ “
The image is beautifully composed. It is taken from below of the square’s slope and the colorful ornaments drive the eye towards the image of São João.
John Corgan took the last picture we present here. The photo comes from Panama, where he was developing his research.
It is a view of Panama City’s skyline from the old city district, Casco Viejo. John explained: “The skyline itself has been changing rapidly over the last ten years – thanks to a lot of recent investments, Panama City now boasts nine of the ten tallest buildings in Latin America. Of course, there’s a lot of mud in the photo – the band of earth that cuts through the center is part of a construction project aimed to build a highway around Casco Viejo in an effort to alleviate some of the city’s notorious traffic. A lot of people have been upset by the project, though. Casco Viejo is a World Heritage Site and was famous for its stunning ocean views and waves that would crash right up against its walls. Now that view is spoiled by a highway…”
The photograph perfectly highlights the contrast described by John between the old and the new districts, and the two boys on the foreground looking at the skyline communicate a sense of nostalgia.
Posted by Camilla Querin – MA Candidate at CLACS / Museum Studies