Saturday, January 31, 2015

Algeria: Magnificent Sahara

Ahaggar Mountains in Algeria’s Sahara Desert, the perfect region to find one's soul. Once, for a month, I explored it on a camel with a Tuareg companion.
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Chad: N’Djamena Bazaar


A 1973 photograph of N’Djamena, Chad’s capital. A man drops a coin in the hand of a seated beggar. Bazaar shops are shaded from the scorching sun by covered walkways.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Indonesia: Prambanan Hindu Temple At Dusk



The blue light of dusk bathes Prambanan, a ninth-century Hindu temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site near Jogjakarta, in Indonesia’s Java Island. A volcano looms in the distance.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Indonesian Borneo: A Wet Village Along The Kapuas River



A mosque overlooks the village of Selimbau along the Kapuas River, in Indonesia’s Borneo, known as Kalimantan. There were no roads there, in 1968, only rivers and the surrounding leech-infested rain forest.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Ghana: Ashanti Schoolchildren Praying Before Classes

In Adukrom, near Kumasi, Ghana, Ashanti children, most of them in brown and yellow uniforms, pray before entering classes. Some of them are holding pencils.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Ghana: Girls Carrying Own Chairs To School




Many years ago, when I shot this picture in Adukrom, an Ashanti village near Kumasi, the local school’s classes had benches but no chairs. Each morning, soon after dawn, children in school uniforms carried their own chairs to school on their heads. A boy in the background is taking a bucket shower. Outside school, a woman sold the kids breakfast at a price the kids’ parents could afford. 
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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ghana: Ashanti Family Walking To Its Field


After school, an Ashanti family is on its way to weed a corn field near Adukrom, a village near Kumasi. The father carries a shotgun in case he finds a bird or a small rodent to shoot for the pot. The basket on one of the girl’s head holds machetes.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ecuador: Herding Sheep From A Horse


Fourteen-year-old cowgirl moving sheep on her family’s hacienda near the small town of Salitre, in Ecuador’s Guayas Province. When the rainy season will start, with torrents cascading down the Andes Mountains, these lowlands will disappear under deep water. Moving around will then need the canoe sitting at the foot of the corral fence.
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Ecuador: Where Soccer Is Played Even In The Jungle



In a clearing of Ecuador’s coastal rain forest, Awa Indians play soccer (football) in a warm downpour. Mud there is a way of life.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Colombia: Cali Street Scene
















I photographed this scene in Cali, Colombia, in the early nineties. Some of the city’s avenues closed to traffic on weekends to give families and individuals safe space to walk, cycle, or skate. The unicyclist was listening to his radio.
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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Canada: New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy






 New Brunswick's spectacular Bay of Fundy boasts the world’s highest tides, averaging heights of 47 to 54 feet. People kayak around the rocks at high tide and walk around them at low tide. I got there late, as guards started to drive visitors away. Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to return at high tide. The sea looked reddish from the sediments it was dragging back and forth.
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Colombia: Educating Disadvantaged Kids














Leaving home for school and a better future.

In the eighties, Russell Bloom, an American friend of mine, helped create a little school for children of a poor barrio in Cali, Colombia, and invited me to see it at work. It was heartwarming to watch how caring the teachers were, and how happy and eager to learn the young students were.                     
                                                                             








     Russell went on to devote himself to help Vietnamese boat people settle in the United States before he died, still young, of a rare illness. He left his fortune to a Cali shoeshine boy he had adopted and educated.
     In my January 17 post I showed how the day at the school started with a shower—cold but welcome in a 27 Celsius temperature. Toothpaste distribution and teeth brushing followed. Then some gym before sitting at some exciting classes.








































































At Christmas the kids reenacted the birth of Jesus. The little girl who brought her baby brother to play Jesus got the role of the Virgin Mary.

Colombia: The Thrill Of A Cold Shower











In a poor section of Cali, Colombia, these little girls burn with excitement in anticipation of taking their turn under their school’s cold shower before classes.
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Colombia: Culling Grapes

Young women culling grapes in Casa Grajales near La Unión, a small town in Colombia’s Cauca Valley Department. The good grapes will be sold as fruits, while those removed will be pressed and turned into wine.

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Colombia: Picking Cotton


Woman picking cotton under a heavy sun near Palmira, in Colombia’s Cauca Valley.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Peru Upper Amazon Region: More pre-Inca Chachapoya Ruins

My last post showed a few pictures of Chachapoya stone ruins which, in 2007, when I photographed them, had just been discovered by settlers. Buried under the moss of the cloud forest, they were difficult to distinguish from the surrounding vegetation.
     However, Chachapoya ruins, like the Kuelap citadel, have been known to exist for more than a century. Over the years many have been cleared from the surrounding vegetation to give travelers easier access to them. And though what pushed me to return to Chachapoya country was the news of the  new discovery, I also photographed several of the more accessible ones, as shown hereafter.




Pre-Inca Chachapoya sarcophagi (mummy casings) looking towards the rising sun on a cliff ledge of the Andes Mountains’ eastern face at the Karija site.  There is no way to photograph them from the front.


Chachapoya cliff mausolea at site known as Revash.



Chachapoya cliff mausolea at site known as Revash.












Chachapoya cliff necropolis known as Diablo Huasi, a day trek from Leimebamba.


Chachapoya cliff necropolis known as Diablo Huasi, a day trek from Leimebamba.


Chachapoya cliff necropolis known as Diablo Huasi, a day trek from Leimebamba.


Chachapoya ruin near Leimebamba known as El Molinete



Chachapoya ruin near Leimebamba known as El Molinete..

Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. Its protective wall rises at places to more than 30 feet. Llamas browsing.


Kuelapa Chachapoya walled city and citadel. Its protective wall rises at places to more than 30 feet. Llamas browsing.


























 Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. 

 Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. 


Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. 

Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. 
























 Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. 



 Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. 



 Kuelap, a Chachapoya walled city and citadel. The snake was one of four Chachapoya deities.



 I photographed this Chachapoya stone engraving at a hotel. The owner could not tell where it came from. The puma that it represents was another of four Chachapoya deities.


Leymebamba (Amazonas). Museum. Casing of a Chachapoya mummy  inside a glass display.




 Chachapoya bones rolled up like firewood. Was displayed at the Leimebamba Museum.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Peru: Chachapoya Lost City Hiding In The Cloud Forest

Lost Chachapoya city hiding under the moss of centuries

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Back in 1976, on assignment for Natural History magazine in northeastern Peru’s Upper Amazon Province, I came across the remains of a huge rectangular stone building, almost flush with the summit. It commanded a sweeping view of the countryside.
     “A great military observation post,” I remember thinking. I would later learn that it had belonged to an enigmatic, warlike people known as the Chachapoya, who flourished in the region from the beginning of the ninth century until their subjugation by the Inca in the 1470s. For defense reasons, they built their fortress cities and tombs in the remote heights along the eastern edge of the Andes.
     As I walked around the foot of the cliff, looking up in search for a good camera angle, I dropped into a 10-foot hole. Dazed but unhurt, I found I had landed inside a tunnel that stretched far in opposite directions. Somehow, I managed to climb out. Back at the farm where I was staying, I asked about the tunnel.
     “It was to shorten the distance,” the farmer replied. What he meant was that, according to local lore, the Chachapoya who entered the tunnel were magically transported, Star Trek-style, to places hundreds of miles away.             
     Moved by the experience, I promised myself to return, and 31 years later, hearing of the Discovery of a new Chachapoya lost city, I flew back there, this time on an Archaeology magazine assignment.
     In my yesterday post of a cloud forest picture, I mentioned how the ruins are so hidden behind the moss of centuries that you could pass near them without noticing them.









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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Peru: Spooky Cloud Forest


Peru’s moss-choked cloud forest in Upper Amazon, darker in real life than in this photograph, is as silent as it is mysterious. Nothing moved there as I looked for moss-covered and overgrown pre-Inca Chachapoya stone ruins, now as green as their surroundings and nearly invisible. Not a twig snapped. Not a bird sang. Not a snake slithered away. Not an insect peeked from under a dead leaf.
     The ancient Chachapoya there had rested untouched for many centuries. But settlers had discovered their ancient village and they would soon go treasure hunting before archaeologists could find support for their own digging.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Peru: Riding Home From The Market


Young farmers riding home in Peru’s Andes Mountains of the Upper Amazon after selling their families potatoes at the market in a valley below.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Madagascar: Carrying Home The Corn Harvest

Barefoot women carrying corn from the fields near Sambaina Bara, Madagascar.
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