Lindos Paisajes, Valiò La Pena Gallery
Cuzco, Peru 2014
® Sandra Pereznieto
Photographing in the Sacred Valley is like having the key to freedom, letting the gaze get lost in the clouds and valleys to infinity.
The prying eyes of alpaca, llama, faces burnt by the sun and the air that freezes the skin, the air that is missing while walking along the ridge of the mountains. Magic moments sodden of light rain and billowing clouds of cotton passing hastily in the vast sky. Smells of flavors of the earth and of moist potatoes from an elapsed time. The silence and simplicity of life in these parts of the sky is almost complete. You can go for miles without seeing almost anyone, and the silence allows you to give a break to your eyes and your soul, and feel at peace with yourself when it comes time to grasp a bit of that incredible beauty in a framing.
The dream of the mountains, it can also become a mirage. Coming down from the mountain I tirelessly look for these images that I recorded in my memory, but the camera seems to have forgotten that these are not my memories but others and thus begins a new journey, a bit similar to that of life, in which I believe that I’m the character that I’m, although looking for him in I find myself. And in this going I learn to look again and to search through the images something I have just left behind.
This continuous return to Ernesto’s workshops is perhaps what makes you feel the need to go deeper and deeper, and the certainty of arriving, easily becomes a chimera. Where am I going? If in the end what I like is to walk, without mattering too much where to, but without getting tired of walking. And with a teacher who knows how to lead me, the road is sweeter, more solid are the steps, the final destination doesn’t have to have the name of a city, can be what you want that it is at each particular time. And the more I follow his courses, the closer I get to the beginning, the more I feel that the journey has just begun. Sandra Pereznieto
® Chad Anderson
Vast. Unchanging. Always renewing. Moving further into the mountains I find a different Peru. Different each time I return to this amazing country. Peru is lost in time. Peru is struggling with modernity. The Valle Sagrado rolls past our car window, a river lined with verdant fields, a moto taxi laden with corn stalks and passengers, a new car decorated with crate paper and balloons newly blessed and fresh from the church at San Sebastian. The Urubamba river falls away as our driver navigates the mountain roads, chasm on the right, cliff on the left. Adobe homes with thatched roofs and corrals for llama and alpaca dot the treeless landscape. We climb 14,000-foot passes as we follow the shepherd, his wife, and the flock. The landscape is treeless but not lifeless. Life here is hard and stunningly beautiful. Prayers are offered as we reach new geographical and spiritual heights. To photograph this land, this people, I am blessed once again. Four times now with Ernesto and I would return tomorrow if life would permit. Sandra and Ernesto, thank you. Chad Anderson