Two years ago, in 2008, I ventured to the annual rebuilding of the last remaining traditional Inca rope bridge, the Keshwa Chaca, which spans the Apurimac River near Huinchiri, Peru. My mission was to photograph the locals as they spun q’olla grass into rope, constructed the bridge, and celebrated the completion with a festival of traditional dance and music.
Previous posts describe my journey to the bridge site and show some of my photos from the weekend. Many of my photos are also posted on my website in the Inca Bridge gallery as well as in the dance gallery. One of my very favorite photos of the weekend was of this bridge-builder:
Keshwa Chaca 2008 – Huinchiri, Peru
As I was taking images of the bridge construction, this man quietly asked me to take his photo. A crowd of fellow bridge-builders quickly gathered to see it, and when I realized I had taken it in the black and white setting, I asked to do another in color. But it was too late. “Oh, es blanco y negro,” I said disappointedly, “¿un otra en color?” I asked. “¡Un otra desnudo!” an onlooker called out – “Another one in the nude!” The men erupted in laughter, the moment was gone, and I wasn’t able to take another. Luckily this one came out well, and ever since then it has been my goal to get a copy of the photograph to this man. Many people in developing countries have few, if any, photos of themselves or their family. I was sure he and his family would appreciate such a nice photo of this man standing modestly but proudly in front of the bridge he is helping to construct.
This year at bridge building time my friend Mitch Teplitsky (director of the documentary film Soy Andina) was visiting Cusco. He got in touch with me to find out more about the event and how to get there. When I learned he and his wife Doris had decided to go the following day, I begged him to find a way to print the photo and deliver it to the man. “It shouldn’t be hard,” I said, “just find a photo place on Avenida el Sol to print it out, and when you get there, just ask around, they will know him!” At least I hoped it would all be that easy. I’m not sure how they did it, but Mitch and Doris managed to print the photo, find their way to Huinchiri, and locate the man!
Keshwa Chaca 2010 – Bridge-builder and Mitch Teplitsky, photo by Doris Loayza