Jul 9, 2013


Martín Chambi



Playing 'Sapo', Chicheria on Pumacurco Street, Cuzco, 1932.—Martín Chambi

Playing ‘Sapo’, Chicheria on Pumacurco Street, Cuzco, 1932.—Martín Chambi

Deemed the father of indigenous photography in the Andes, Martín Chambi was one of the first indigenous photographers to capture the beauty of the Peruvian highlands through a native lens. Renowned for the profound cultural and historic documentary value of his photographs, Martín Chambi was a prolific portrait photographer in the rural villages and countryside of the Peruvian Andes.

Famous author and former Peruvian presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa has always been an admirer of the Cuzqueñan photographer. Speaking in regards to Martín Chambi, Vargas said “his magic pulses through his photographs, the unmistakable magic that distinguishes him from all the photographers with whom critics have wanted to compare him. When Chambi got behind a camera, he became a giant, a true inventor, a veritable force of invention, a recreator of life.”

Those interested in witnessing Martín Chambi’s works and gaining a better understanding of the indigenous photographer can visit the Martín Chambi Exhibition of the second floor of the Scotia Bank in Cusco. There are more than 50 of Martín Chambi’s most impressive photographs on display including the iconic image of the giant.

Indian from Paruro, Cuzco studio, ca 1932.—Martín Chambi

Indian from Paruro, Cuzco studio, ca 1932.—Martín Chambi

Organist, Chapel at Tinta; Kanchis, ca 1934.—Martín Chambi

Organist, Chapel at Tinta; Kanchis, ca 1934.—Martín Chambi

Musician playing "Zampona"; Puno, 1925.—Martín Chambi

Musician playing “Zampona”; Puno, 1925.—Martín Chambi

Adam Weintraub, an expert photographer, promoter of Peruvian arts and president of the Blue Earth Alliance, is an enthusiastic follower of Martín Chambi’s works and often leads tours of the exhibition. Weintraub is extremely knowledgeable of the history behind the photographs and sheds light on the meaning of each individual piece on display. Weintraub brings the photographs to life, explaining Martín Chambi’s rare ability to manipulate light and his spectacular black and white images of the Andes.