Anything Can Happen

Cuzco and Sacred Valley, Peru 2008

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® Willard Plate

I love Peru and his people; I love their joviality, their attachment to traditions, their land, and the belief in their ancient past. This why I keep returning to Cuzco and the Sacred Valley to photograph over and over again the simple, incredible and unchanged rural life.
In this particular workshop Anything Can Happensaid one of my students. When I heard him saying that I knew that this had to be the name of our group. Indeed, every year we stumble into some very special circumstances.
As some of you might recollect, two years ago a student and I literally run into an autopsy being performed at 4000 meters above sea level in the middle of nowhere. Last year we found ourselves with some gravediggers surrounded by skulls and bones making room with their shovelsto new comers in a very beautiful cemetery.
This year’s highlight was a truck loaded with llamas that we followed for miles taking pictures form our car pursuing them to their final destination. It was a unique spectacle to see those very noble animals descend one by one from the truck. We gently photographed the two women embellishing the animals by piercing their ears to insert colorful cotton threads. Many beautiful situations took shape before our eyes. Without getting into each other’s way we all photographed respectfully the event unfolding.
How to forget the young llama that became skittish while his young keeper tried to keep him under control? It must have lasted a few seconds but it felt magical as he was standing in his rear legs. One of the students took a beautiful image of that.
In another occasion we were invited by some locals to drink chicha. Breaking all the rules we all drunk it and to our great surprise nobody suffer any unpleasant consequences. Our hosts were so gracious to have invited us in, to have shared their favorite drink with us. We all felt that it was very special to be drinking, smiling, talking with them, taking pictures and simply letting Peruvian daily life sip in.
Willard, my most dear and loyal student (she was taking her 15th workshops with me) finally realized her dream of coming to Peru after so many years. It was her cup of tea considering how much she loves rural life and long walk in the countryside. Her sensitive pictures show the connection she has to simple farm life.
Baron was at his 4th workshop with me. I can say with great pride that his work continues to grow in a moving way. In each workshop his ability to see “moments” is honed even more.
Barry was the new comer of the group. His passion and love for life helped him make very gentle and intimate pictures. I greatly enjoyed his presence and his great knowledge in photography.
As always, we loved our companionship, our time together, and our talk about life and image making. The students were greatly helpful with the editing on the audio visual on my book that I’ve been working on.
It’s a privilege to feature their images in the students’ gallery. EB


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