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Archive 2021 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador

  
 
graytrekker
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


I am a landscaper and do not often take portrait photos. However, someone recently posted an older Kodachrome image which made me think - I have a few of those from 6 months I spent in Ecuador in the mid-nineties. I originally posted this in the Nikon Manual Focus lens forum, and beg your indulgence to cross post here.

Salasacan Weaver by Doug Stevens, on Flickr
Nikkormat FTN; Nikkor 50mm HC f2; Kodachrome ASA 64, scanned on a 15-year old Minolta Dimage

Here is "Victoria", a weaver from the village of Salasaca, central mountains of Ecuador. She graciously posed for me in her traditional Salasacan dress while carding wool by the light of the window of her studio/shop. Upon my return, 6 months later, I was able to catch up with her and give her an 8x10 print I had made for her - she was very appreciative, but you could tell that she was rather puzzled that an American "tourist" would make the effort to do that for her. I only took one photo of her.

As a side story - when the Incas conquered an area, they would bring in "settlers" or "pioneers" from other areas of the empire. The Salasacans came from what is now the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca. Some 500 years later, many still dress in a manner that is tradition from their home area. For the Salasacans, the most noticeable is their specific hat (you can tell which area of Ecuador someone is from by their traditional hat), and the fact the men wear their ponchos not straight across like most indigenous people, but rather with the corner down in from of them.

Thanks for looking - Doug

Edited on Mar 12, 2021 at 09:32 PM · View previous versions



Mar 12, 2021 at 04:53 AM
Danpbphoto
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


Doug..Thanks for the story that accompanied your fine image! I love the hats that the Ecuadorian, Bolivian and Peruvian women wear.
I understand it is a "holdover" from Portugal influences.(?)

Again great image!
Dan



Mar 12, 2021 at 10:35 AM
zuikolens
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


Thank you for sharing this with us Doug. Very powerful image and story that goes with it. The modern equivalent of taking a portrait and sharing a link to an Instagram feed will never have the same impact as traveling with an 8x10 print to share with someone.


Mar 12, 2021 at 10:45 AM
graytrekker
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


Thanks for the nice comments.
Since you enjoyed the story, I will complete it.

While we were waiting for Victoria to come back, we were taken in by her family. Her father is also a master weaver (a family trade, I guess). We were offered some light refreshments and then participated in their processing of the wool they use. This involved bringing large quantities of wool out of a vat where it was being dyed. Then about 6 of us, sitting in row on a simple bench, rolled the wool with our feet to squeeze the excess dye out. Gosh, I wish I had a photo of that! (but I couldn't do both). Her dad then showed us his loom and how he wove the tapestries that his family sells (I know it isn't the best photo):

Victoria's Dad by Doug Stevens, on Flickr

This was a full day's outing - all due to a small gesture of coming back with a photo to share.

So - the point of this story? For me it shows that a little consideration, effort, respect, generosity, especially of your own time, goes a long way - especially with indigenous communities. Indigenous views of the world are so different from that of many white Euro-Americans. Generosity and sharing is their way of life. Maybe that is why I chose to live on an Indian Reservation, here in Montana. I think we all could use a little of what they are offering. [just look at that very genuine smile!]

Thanks for reading - Doug

PS - I have a few more portraits from my time there that I will roll out. It was really the only time I spent photographing people - more as a way to document their ways of life. I like to think that it hasn't totally vanished in the last 25 years - hope to go back soon



Mar 12, 2021 at 11:57 PM
zuikolens
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


Wonderful documentary work. Your personal relationship with the subjects really shows in the portraits. Very powerful and moving. Thank you for sharing! This is what photography is all about. I feel like it is sadly very very uncommon now.


Mar 13, 2021 at 10:30 PM
dalite
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


Do post more photos of indigenous people, especially with their native costumes.


Mar 15, 2021 at 11:31 PM
graytrekker
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


zuikolens wrote:
Wonderful documentary work. Your personal relationship with the subjects really shows in the portraits. Very powerful and moving. Thank you for sharing! This is what photography is all about. I feel like it is sadly very very uncommon now.


Thanks so much - your kind words are very much appreciated



Mar 15, 2021 at 11:54 PM
graytrekker
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


dalite wrote:
Do post more photos of indigenous people, especially with their native costumes.


I had planned to post about 4 series of photos from Ecuador - so stay tuned!

Thanks

Doug



Mar 15, 2021 at 11:55 PM
nate.2346
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


Got Paul Simon's Kodachrome in my head now



Mar 25, 2021 at 10:33 PM
graytrekker
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Victoria from Salasaca, Ecuador


nate.2346 wrote:
Got Paul Simon's Kodachrome in my head now


haha - yeah, hard not to!
[but, unfortunately, they did "take my Kodachrome away" ]



Mar 26, 2021 at 09:45 AM





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