Gran Poder: a colourful festival

Gran Poder book cover

It is difficult to imagine a cultural event such as the festival represented in this book if one has not previously witnessed a similar  Andean religious/folkloric manifestation. What catches the eye is the abundance of vivid colour as the groups dance their way down from the streets on the hillside  to the commercial centre of the city of La Paz in an organised and relentless fashion, singing to the sound of wind instruments, cymbals and large bass drums. The parade begins early in the morning, at about 6:30 with the votive offering to the Ancestors to end past midnight. There were about 40,000 participants representing 16 types of dances when I witnessed this event.

The origin of the celebration of Jesus of The Great Power dates back to December 8, 1663, with the foundation of the convent of the Immaculate Conception and sister Genoveva Carrión who brought the image of the three-faced Jesus representing the Holy Trinity. Interestingly enough Pope Benedict VI banned this image in the XVIII century.

There is much to be said about this cultural event: the modality of Andean faith,  community spirit, the Ayllu concept, etc. etc.  but perhaps this is not the place to expand.

This e-book can be found at: (the reader might take a little time to load…. please be patient)

Imágenes Paceñas

Imágenes Paceñas

Imágenes Paceñas

Para los hispano-parlantes (English text below) : el libro recientemente publicado de Imágenes paceñas  en su tercera edición.

Esta edición está siendo entregada a cada alumno de  secundaria en La Paz, gratis, por la Alcaldía paceña.

Esta version es en forma  de libro digital (e-book):

Imágenes Paceñas

For those that appreciate a bit of Latin American literature and culture, this book: Imágenes Paceñas refers to the city of La Paz it’s traditional places and people. The text was written by an outstanding author and luminary of Latin American literature: Jaime Saenz. (This Wikipedia article is not complete but will give you an idea of his character).

This third edition was sponsored by the municipality of La Paz and is being given to every high school student for free to enhance their appreciation of their city.

This link will take you to the book in an e-book form. There is no present English translation I am afraid, but at least you can look at the pictures:

Where ideas originate – 2

After Paul Nash

After Paul Nash from Landscapes and Dreams

I was paging Landscapes and Dreams by Paul Nash at the exhibition of his works at Dulwich Picture Gallery some time ago and liked the composition and concept of Landscape from a Dream (1936-38).

Late summer in England

Ketish marshes

The beautiful English countryside in this prolonged summer we’ve had…

Some more photos:



One of my best


Allá por el 1974 cuando el Jaime y yo preparábamos la publicación de Imágenes Paceñas y después de una mano de cacho, (siendo él Jurjizada y yo Moiferquín, no recuerdo quien ganó) mirábamos las estrellas con un viejo telescopio. Se me ocurrió quitar el lente de mi Nikon  y acoplarlo al telescopio, apuntándolo a los cerros de Bologna con la ceja del Alto en la distancia. Más o menos a eso de la medianoche.

Pienso yo que es una de mis mejores fotos. Claro está que muchos dicen que esta fuera de foco… Y yo digo: por supuesto! Y además que el grano es intencional.

Back in 1974 when Jaime Saenz and myself were preparing the first edition of Imágenes Paceñas and after a swift game of cacho (his pseudonym was Jurjizada and mine Moiferquín) we experimented with an old telescope. I replaced the lens of my Nikon with it and pointed at the far distance.

The result is one of the best photographs I’ve ever taken. Some say that it is out of focus. My reply is: of course! Furthermore the grain is intentional.

Where ideas come from…

Alicia en el pais de las maravillas

Alicia en el pais de las maravillas

I saw a similar idea somewhere, but what caught my eye was the structure itself. It was Alice in wonderland when she meets the worm smoking a water pipe: there is a path to follow with a castle at one end.

The path is in fact a rampart turned on its side, Oxford and Cambridge in one image below and a palace taken on a visit to Venice. I bought the image of a waterfall from Dreamstime (

It is an unfinished idea because what is needed is the picture of Alice looking at the waterfall.

Origins of an idea

ArtThis image manipulation originated in a fresco by Andrea Mantegna, a section of the Camera degli Sposi: The Meeting Scene.

I used a picture of Notre Dame  from my collection, a Thames tugboat, Westminster in profile and a number of textures, brushes, layers and masks.

The characters in front will be substituted at some point by real people.

You can view more of these Photoshop manipulations here:

Further post

Cementerio andino

“The events of the waking world are forced upon us and the narrative is the unguessed axis along which they must be strung. It falls to us to weigh and sort and order these events. It is we who assemble them into the story which is us. Each man is the bard of his own existence. This is how he is joined to the world.”

First Post

For all of you who like black and white photographs, well, here are some. Landscapes that I took some time ago. It is difficult (not impossible) to go back to seeing the world with a new eye…

A photograph acquires it’s identity when stripped of colour. Similar to the concept ‘chair’, for example, which can be applied to an infinite number of objects that might have the qualities of a chair, the concept encompasses all of them in abstraction.

Colinas-4O en castellano:

Para todos aquellos que gusten de l blanco y negro, aquí tienen algunas. Paisajes que tomé hace un buen tiempo.

Me parece hoy difícil (no imposible) regresar a ver el mundo con un nuevo ojo.

Una foto adquiere su identidad cuando se le quita el color. De la misma manera que el concepto “silla”, por ejemplo, puede aplicarse a un sin número de objetos que puedan tener los específicos de una silla, el concepto los incluye a todos.

CampanasA beautiful metaphor for the final approach:

…Holding himself close that he not escape from himself for he felt it over and over, that lightness that he took for his  soul and which stood so tentatively at the door of his corporeal self. Like some light-footed animal that stood testing the air at an open door of a cage. He heard the distant toll of bells from the cathedral in the  city and he heard his own breath soft and uncertain in the cold and dark of the child’s playhouse in that alien land where he lay in his blood. Help me, he said. If you think I’m worth it.               Amen.

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