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Showing posts from May, 2010

Martin Chambi (1891-1973) indigenous photographer

Martin Chambi, self portrait with motorcycle, 1934

At 14, Martin Chambi worked in the gold mines exploited by the British in his native Peru. He learned the rudiments of photography from the same foreign bosses. He became a professional photographer working on commissions, specially portraits, and on his own, photographing the land and his people. As Alfredo Srur observed in a recent note (Radar Libros - here), the commissioned works served to fund his passion for registering his time and culture.

In the works of Chambi, photography will be both the medium and the index, tool and testimony of the modern developments affecting the Peruvian nation and its peoples in the early decades of the 20th century.
Chambi' s works capture and re-display moments of coexistence between the past and a present in transition, that is, a time internally divided between what it was and will soon no longer be, and what will come. Split between being and becoming, the present is no longe…

Martin Chambi (1891-1973)

photograph by Martin Chambi, 1929

"Martín Chambi Jiménez or Martín Chambi de Coaza, Puno, Peru November 5, 1891 – Cuzco, September 13, 1973) was a photographer, originally from southern Peru. He was one of the first major indigenous Latin American photographers.

Recognized for the profound historic and ethnic documentary value of his photographs, he was a prolific portrait photographer in the towns and countryside of the Peruvian Andes. As well as being the leading portrait photographer in Cuzco, Chambi made many landscape photographs, which he sold mainly in the form of postcards, a format he pioneered of in Peru.

In 1979, New York's MOMA held a Chambi retrospective, which later traveled to various locations and inspired other international expositions of his work."