Various resources and documents I have put together about a wide variety of subjects including photography, travel, volunteering, and Peru:
Map by Diego Gutierrez, 1562 – Peabody Museum, Harvard
My 40 Tips for Better Travel Photography, a handout from my lectures. It isn’t quite the same without the slideshow of example images and more complete explanations, but if you are familiar with basic photography and camera functions, you should be able to understand it.
Doug’s Guide to Cusco, Peru – recommended places to stay, eat, visit, and shop!
My essay about volunteering at Aldea Yanapay, Cusco in June, 2007:
archived version of that essay since it seems to be gone:
And the site for Aldea Yanapay:
Volunteering in South America
This is the best website for researching free and low cost volunteering opportunities in South America:
The South American Explorer’s Club is also a tremendous resource for traveling and volunteering in South America, although you have to be a member to access some content. If you plan on spending an extended period in South America, or making return visits, a membership will be invaluable. Their clubhouses are a true home away from home for me:
Fruits of my Labor:
(A downloadable, Word version of the following collection of lists is available here: http://www.dojoklo.com/FruitsofMyLabor.doc)
Within the Frame by David duChemin – a photo book focusing on vision and creativity rather than f-stops and apertures.
Visionmongers by David duChemin – a helpful guide to those who want to join the craft of photography with the commerce of making a living with photography.
David D. Busch’s Guides to Digital Photography – excellent, in depth and easy to understand manuals for specific cameras, such as:
David Busch’s Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D (or your model) Guide to Digital SLR Photography
The Digital Photography Book, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Scott Kelby – straightforward pro tips for every aspect of digital photography from lighting to Photoshop.
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition) by Bryan Peterson
Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography (Updated Edition) by Bryan Peterson
National Geographic Field Guides for Photography – There are several great books in this series, and I especially like the advice and behind the scenes stories from the pros.
Rick Sammon’s Travel and Nature Photography by Rick Sammon
Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Digital Photography 2.0 by Rick Sammon
Spirit of Place: The Art of the Traveling Photographer by Bob Krist – one of the masters of travel photography.
Waiting for the Light by David Noton – Breathtaking landscape photos all demonstrating the importance of patience and light. Also includes some great travel pictures and bits of practical advice for capturing these kinds of images.
Portraits by Steve McCurry – Stunning portraits of people from all over the globe, capturing the “unguarded moment,” by a renowned National Geographic photographer.
Peru by Robert Frank – Beautiful photos of campesinos and landscapes of Andean Peru. While the subjects are often the indigenous people, the visual approach and sparseness of the images also strongly captures a sense of the land and the environment where they lived and worked. What is also astonishing is the timelessness of these photos, in that the dress and the places remain largely unchanged in many rural areas of Peru. One could capture many of these images today – all they need is the talent, sensibilities, and eye of Robert Frank! An inspiring must-view for any photographer traveling to Peru.
Peru Related Books – be sure to purchase these through my Amazon referral link by going directly to Amazon.com here. Purchasing through this link will help support this blog and my work. Thanks!
(many of these books fit in several categories, so it is a bit arbitrary)
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann – Turns out everything we learned in school was completely wrong, and that the real story is much more fascinating.
The Conquest of the Incas by John Hemming – A historical account that is actually a page-turner as Pizarro and his tiny band make their way to Cusco and conquer Peru.
A Sacred Landscape: The Search for Ancient Peru by Hugh Thomson – A physical and historical journey through the pre-Inca civilizations of Peru. Turns out I unknowingly followed in the author’s footsteps to many of these sites, and I even met some of the people in this book!
The White Rock by Hugh Thompson – An exploration of the Inca civilization, as well as contemporary Peru, by a true modern day explorer.
Lords of Sipan: A Tale of Pre-Inca Tombs, Archaeology, and Crime by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick – Read this true story first if you are going to be visiting the Sipan site in northern Peru
The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics – A collection of writings that serves as a good introduction to many aspects of Peru then and now.
Cusco Tales by Richard Nesbit – A hilarious collection of stories about the “side of Cusco you won’t find in the guidebooks.”
Hidden Threads of Peru: Q’ero Textiles by Anne Pollard Rowe and John Cohen – A beautifully illustrated book about the rich and complex textile tradition of the Q’ero people, an isolated indigenous community in the Peruvian Andes. It includes insightful stories about the people, their lives, and traditions, as well as great black and white photos by John Cohen from his many trips to the communities.
One River by Wade Davis – The author is an ethnobotanist and an excellent writer, who tells two intertwined tales of his own explorations in the Amazon in the 1970s and those of his mentor, Richard Evans Schultes, a generation earlier. They were both interested in the psychoactive and medicinal properties of the region’s plants, and the cultures that use them. One chapter tells the fascinating story of missionaries portrayed in the books and movies End of the Spear and Beyond the Gates of Splendor.
Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire by Wade Davis – A collection of stories spanning the globe, but all focused around the theme of the importance of preserving the world’s diverse cultures and their knowledge and beliefs. Including a fascinating chapter about the history and future of rubber, including the little known Fordlandia – an entire town and immense operation set up by Henry Ford in the middle of the Brazilian jungle with the goal of breaking his dependence on foreign rubber supplies.
Captain Pantoja and the Special Service by Mario Vargas Llosa – A side-splitting book about “servicing” the army stationed in the Amazon. Also has been made into a movie a couple times (see below).
Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa – A somber story of civil guards sent into the Andes to investigate disappearances during the period of the Shining Path.
The Golden Serpent by Ciro Alegria – “…a poetic description of the daily life of a small village on the bank of the mighty Marañon River in north-central Peru. …the nineteen chapters are a series of stories or related episodes told by the narrator, Lucas Vilca, a raftsman and farmer of the Calemar Valley.” (description from enotes.com)
Fordlandia by Eduardo Sguiglia – A historical novel that takes place in Henry Ford’s actual town in the jungle of Brazil.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder – “On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below.” A monk witnesses this, and seeks to learn more about those who perished.
Inca Gold by Clive Cussler – This book from the “gentleman’s thriller” genre is not exactly historical fiction, but a fun adventure read non-the-less, with a little bit of Inca history thrown in.
Exploration and Adventure:
The Mapmaker’s Wife by Robert Whitaker – Two somewhat different but related true stories from 18th Century South America. The first follows a French scientific expedition sent to South America to measure and determine the exact shape of the Earth. The author in effect takes an old map that one might encounter in a museum and brings to life the interesting story and real people behind its making. The second part is the twenty year quest of one of the scientists and his Peruvian wife to reunite, including her harrowing ordeal as the sole survivor of her expedition through the Amazon jungle.
Humboldt’s Cosmos by Gerard Helferich – a captivating narrative of Alexander Von Humboldt’s five-year journey of exploration across South America at the turn of the 19th Century. He was a scientist with an insatiable desire to learn, chart, measure, collect, explore, and discover. He climbed some of the world’s highest peaks, traveled deep into the Amazon, and in the process advanced numerous branches of science. Exceedingly well researched and written, and highly recommended.
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard – The true account of Theodore Roosevelt’s post-presidential trip to South America and his near fatal journey mapping a treacherous river in the Brazilian Amazon, now called the Rio Rooselvelt. A well told adventure story.
Voyage Up the River Amazon by W.H. Edwards – A thoroughly enjoyable account of travels through the Brazilian Amazon in 1846. “His narrative beams with the joy of discovery,” and will leave you wanting to experience the people and places that are now long gone. His writing style reflects his time, yet is somehow still fresh and fascinating.
Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru by Tahir Shah – A generally true detective story as the author attempts to discover whether the Incas were really able to fly like birds over the Amazon jungle, or whether they were experiencing drug-induced hallucinations. A great primer on the true purpose of ayahuasca.
Spanish Language Books and Tapes
The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice by Ronni L. Gordon and David M. Stillman
501 Spanish Verbs by Christopher Kendris and Theodore Kendris – The must-have reference book whose size and scope frightens even native speakers.
Breaking out of Beginner’s Spanish by Joseph J. Keenan – The antidote to all the other language reference books.
Foreign Service Institute – Programmatic Spanish Course – Spanish tapes to train diplomats, dating from the late 1960’s. Arguably still the best course available, and free!
Plus, as you listen to the tapes, you can just imagine the government men, in dark blue suits at metal desks, cigarette smoke in the air, as they all learned to say, in Spanish:
“Really? What’s her name?”
“Her name is Nora.”
“But – – isn’t she married?”
“No. Nora is single. The married one is Maria.”
“Of course. Maria is the older one.”
Makes one envious of the fabulous embassy cocktail parties they were training for…
Baraka – An astonishing and moving portrait of our planet, “…a dazzling barrage of images that transcend language. Filmed in 24 countries and set to an ever-changing global soundtrack.” I first saw this with the kids of Yanapay, which was an amazing experience in and of itself.
The Fall of Fujimori – A wonderful documentary about Peru’s former president Alberto Fujimori: his rise to power, his successes including defeating the country’s terrorists, and his fall. I watched it three times in two days.
Paloma de Papel (Paper Dove) – A realistic portrayal of an Andean town’s struggle against the Shining Path guerrillas, as seen through the eyes of a young boy.
Fitzcarraldo – The story of an opera obsessed wanna-be rubber baron in the Amazon at the turn of the century. The director of this movie mirrors the obsession of the character, and actually attempts to carry a steamboat over a mountain, without special effects. Does he succeed? Watch and see! A very different type of film-making than what we are used to.
Burden of Dreams – The making of Fitzcarraldo, where you can witness the insanity of Herzog and Kinski, and have a behind the scenes look at the incredible jungle settings and the indigenous extras. A must see if you’ve watched Fitzcarraldo.
Pantaleon y las Visitadores (Captain Pantoja and the Special Service) – A nice and accurate version of the Mario Vargas Llosa book. Doesn’t focus on the M*A*S*H (movie) style humor found in the book, but the characters are very much as I envisioned them – with Angie Cepeda as steamy as the air in Iquitos.
Tinta Roja – Set in contemporary Lima, an intern at a tabloid newspaper learns from his rough-edged mentor and gains success, but at what cost? Then suddenly their work and their lives collide! It all sounds contrived, but is very successfully presented and enjoyable to watch.
The Mission – 18th Century South America, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Jesuits, the indigenous Guarani, Iguazu Falls, Robert DeNiro…a beautiful epic of a tragic history. Also has a great “making of” disc focusing on the indigenous Waunana actors.
The Dancer Upstairs – An intelligent, well-considered movie, directed by John Malkovich, based on the book by Nicholas Shakespeare. The story of this intense drama revolves around the pursuit and capture of the leader of the Shining Path, with several scenes based on actual events.
Soy Andina – www.soyandina.com A documentary by a friend I met at the SAE’s clubhouse when I first came to Peru to volunteer. A story of traditional dance and reconnecting with one’s roots, best described by Carolina Huaranca: “This film fully embraces Peru’s culture, traditions, and ethnic diversity. It not only helps re-ignite cultural pride amongst Peruvians-Americans from all walks of life, it encourages dialogue across all cultures.”
The Rough Guide – Music of the Andes
Fiestas: Music of the High Andes (Explorer Series – Peru)
Kingdom of the Sun: The Inca Heritage (Explorer Series – Peru)
Inkuyo – Land of the Incas
Treasures of Indio Music, vol. 1-6
Any Grupo Cinco cd, preferably purchased at Molino in Cusco