|One of the best parts of being a photographer is being invited to document fun and interesting things. The idea of traveling to document huge descents and culture, in a place that has thousands of years of history, was an exciting one. In 2005 I was fortunate to go to Peru as a photographer for a Bike Magazine feature. With a crew consisting of Lou Mazzante (writer), Adrian Montgomery (Scott Marketing), Niki Gudex (rider), Walker Ferguson (rider), myself and KB our local tour guide and host, it was sure to be an eventful 10 days. I hadn't spent too much time researching the area, I like going into new places fresh, but I also knew the others had spent ample time researching. This feature was shot on slide film, Fuji Velvia 100F, so might have a bit of a different look then you are use to on Pinkbike, but that's how we did it not so long ago.|
|Most trails that you ride, send you through a town or three. Coasting through a foreign land, slowing on a bike is a pretty cool way to see the world. At the tail end of this trip I had booked a few extra days to stay and do some riding without a camera. I was able to ride a decent that we had tried to get to with the crew and it was my favorite single experience from Peru... maybe from anyplace I've traveled. The day, the ride, the towns are all still very vivid and I don't have any photos of it. Maybe, had I brought my camera, I wouldn't have had the same experience.|
|Walking the streets in town was a like walking through a movie set. It's a living and breathing community that has so much history and character it was humbling. The labyrinth of narrow cobble stone sidewalks, parallel with working water aqueducts, was such a contrast to anything I had seen. I spent a lot of time wandering them by myself looking for photos.|
|Shooting the action on this trip was challenging. I didn't have a lot of time for set up and often I would have to ride ahead when I saw a shot, jump off, compose and let the crew pass. Here I found a small pond near a few very remote stone homes. It's my favorite riding shot because when I close my eyes and think of the riding experience this is what I see.|
| How they built these roads I do not know? We spent a lot of time traveling by KB's van to near by towns and new trails. While sitting in the back sipping large road-pops you had to be careful. Any pothole or obstacle could cause a sudden bump and your teeth were at risk of being taken out. |
Driving in Peru is an experience in itself. A few days after these shots were taken we were driving on a road, an "out and back". The way out was fine, but while biking the road back we had a situation with a "small landslide". The road was blocked courtesy of baby head rocks piled deep, they were under the influence of gravity from a very long way up. I thought we were stuck for the night. We watched for at least an hour as traffic backed up. That is until a huge truck stopped. Out from the box jumped guys probably 10 yrs old to 50 yrs old and they began to clear the rocks by hand. It was crazy... from our perspective. They always kept an eye up the slope for rocks. I could barley watch, thinking of what it might look like if they got hit. Every few minutes they would scatter as rocks rained down. You could barely see them as they came from the peak, but you could hear them. It was such a raw experience of what life is like for the people here.
|I love this kind of photography. From-the-hip. I could see these two locals walking towards our van so I set up and waited for them to pass by. I was pleased when I got the photos back to see the child looking right into the camera. I like that he has a very comfortable expression and came closer to check us out, but the man in the background stayed further away and looked more concerned. A van packed with 26 inch machines is not a daily sighting.|
|Working hard seems like the only option for the people here. Because of my lack of Spanish skills I couldn't communicate with the locals as much as I wanted. I would love to be able to talk with them to see who they really are. This happy fella didn't need to say too much for me to understand that he's all good.|
| This lady was living on the side of a trail in this very authentic looking mud home. I like the old bike rim hanging on the wooden beams that spanned through the entire house. Maybe it was a childs toy or a tool used for some daily chore. In her hands were potatoes that she was peeling as she talked.|
The women I noticed are always working with their hands. It's really common as they are walking to be spinning wool, which makes sense because some people are walking 10 hours a day. Yeah 10 hours! I was told some live high in the mountains and have to walk to market, which is 5 hours each way. Tough to grasp that kind of daily commute.
| This was one of many river crossings we did. When we had an opportunity to jump out of the Van and onto the bikes we did. Might as well be shredding the road on your bike than in the vehicle.|
You could imagine that this crossing is impossible at certain times of the year when that river in the upper left is raging.
| This was the drop-in-point from a ride we did just out side of Ollyantaytambo, after a horse-back-shuttle from the river below. If you stand back from that doorway it perfectly frames a mountain called Mt Veronica in the background, which is a comfortable 19000ft. |
We were able to see a lot of ruins and they seemed to incorporate a balance with their surroundings, I appreciated that.
| This image is burnt into my mind. When I close my eyes and think about the places we saw in Peru this one pops in a lot. I had the opportunity, in this area, to get this backdrop with a beautiful young child and her timeless looking doll in one hand. She stared into the camera. I took the photo and thought I had my best portrait of the trip. But when I got the film back from the lab I had underexposed the slide pretty bad... not sure how, it used to happen...|
Maybe I'll scan it some day and see if I can pull more out of it. I still really like this picture because it opens fond memories...
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