Gran Poder

UNESCO Wold Heritage event (Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity)

Inevitably it is necessary to give a historical perspective of this yearly festival that takes place in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. The celebration transforms and stimulates the social life of La Paz every year, emanating from a particular way of understanding and living Andean Catholicism.

The Parade begins with a procession through the western part of the city. This procession is central to the event, involving 40,000 devotees who dance and sing in an offering to Jesus of the Great Power. The dance has a sacred significance for the sixty-nine fraternities involved, which are greeted in the streets in a euphoric atmosphere where the music of 7,000 musicians resonates.

The image venerated with dance and music is believed to have arrived in the city at the founding of the convent of the Mothers of the Sacred Conception on the 8th of December 1663, representing the Trinity: a single body with three faces. Because of its heterodox nature Pope Benedict VI prohibited its worship. To continue to venerate it, being considered miraculous by its followers, it was decided to paint over the Trinity, leaving only one face and without the triangular ribbon held by the hands of the Christ.

The first organised manifestation of the festival goes back to 1926 with the first fraternities of dancers, mainly the groups of embroiderers. Each group starts with a banner indicating a fraternity, followed by the dancers in their varied costumes, and followed by the brass band belonging to each group.

Masks
Women’s costumes
Men’s costumes
The musicians

To Serranía de Murillo

This collection of 11 images are the result of two walks high up in the Bolivian Andes.
I arrived on a Wednesday to one of the highest airports in the world at 4061.5 meters over sea level. The air is very thin at that altitude.Three days later on Sunday, two friends invited me to walk to view the great mountain range Serranías de Murillo, you can see it on the third image.We left at 4:00AM and drove to the furthest accesible road, several kilometres below the first image. We climbed in a slow ascent up to 5100 meters over sea level. Remembering what I was told when exercising to push over the pain, I tried that… bad advice at that altitude because of the lack of oxygen: I felt my heart stop for a couple of beats and my lungs seemed to freeze… not a pleasant experience. 
A few weeks later we walked the section at the foot of the mountain range: the marshlands or bofedales.I have very many more images of both of these journeys, I selected this few to share with you.

The sun rising behind the viewer
On the way back
Bofedales or marshlands
A section of Serranía de Murillo and valley
Serkhe Khollu: we walked past the laguna to the right to the edge at the side of the furthest snow mountain
\A stream on the valley below
On the valley…
Almost at the top, the view to the left
Two sacred mountains: Mururata and Illimani
Mururate behind the hills
Illimani as the sun rises …

Somewhere in the Andes: Serranias de Murillo

This is one of the landscapes of the upcoming collection on another section of The Andes: Serranias de Murillo

Serranias de Murillo

To Cairoma along cordillera tres cruces, La Paz

Not long ago when returning to the country of my birth I decided to visit the lands where my grandparents’ properties were located: Cairoma and Araca, south of the city of La Paz (-67.538221 -16.902729 approximately from Google Maps).
The stories I heard as a child of long journeys my mother, her brothers and sisters undertook as small children, travelling on baskets either side of mules through mountains, fertile valleys, high altitude planes and multi coloured lakes, on narrow paths, through wind swept canyons so windy that often the pack mules would be pushed to the precipice below. 

As adults my father and uncles rode horses whenever visiting their lands. They journeyed from west to east, following the valley. My journey was from east to west.
These childhood images have stayed with me and I have travelled in my imaginations with the images in this collection.


The monochrome photograph shows my father to the left wearing riding boots next to his father, wearing a hat third from the left; my uncle Alberto (my mother’s brother), third from the right and his wife to the left of my grandfather Molina. This seems to be a marriage of two young locals.

A remote dwelling… Imagine living so far away!
Cordillera Tres Cruces
The lakes is truly that colour due to the minerals in the hill
A woman washing clothes by the stream to the right of the frame

Somewhere in the Andes

One of the snow peaks of Cordillera Quimsa Cruz. To perceive the magnitude of this panorama it is worth pointing out the herd of llamas and alpacas (minuscule dots) to the left of the laguna. (Possibly 16°58’23.8″S 67°30’32.6″W)

Returning to La Paz: four aspects

I present 45 photographs on La Paz that I have taken in the 70’s. All film, analogue work, scanned recently for the on-line exhibition with the same name. This selection was done by Albumen Gallery‘s director Stephan Schmid.

These are the subjects covered:

Albumen Gallery, Fine Art Photography, has the pleasure to announce the publication of the exhibition images of Returning to La Paz in book form.
Please follow this link to view the description and to order your copy:
https://albumen-gallery.com/index.php/books/returning-la-paz/

Returning to La Paz: THE BOOK

 

Albumen Gallery, Fine Art Photography, has the pleasure to announce the publication of the exhibition images of Returning to La Paz in book form.
Please follow this link to view the description and to order your copy:
https://albumen-gallery.com/index.php/books/returning-la-paz/

La galería Albumen que expone las fotografías sobre La Paz en los años 70, Returning to La Paz – imágenes paceñas, tiene el agrado de ofrecer la publicación del libro con todas las 45 imágenes en formato de tapa dura.
Por favor seguir este enlace para comprar el libro:
https://albumen-gallery.com/index.php/books/returning-la-paz/

Returning to La Paz – Imágenes Paceñas

Albumen Gallery, Fine Art Photography is showcasing 45 of my analogue photographs taken in the early 70’s.
Please follow this link to visit the exhibition: Albumen Gallery. https://albumen-gallery.com/index.php?cID=1460
Returning to La Paz‘ is an hommage to Javier Molina’s birth place.  After living in the USA for a number of years the Bolivian photographer returned to La Paz in the early 1970s. Living abroad gave him a perspective that allowed him to see the city with new eyes.

Two Andean sunsets

Achachila Mayor: el Illimani

Achachila: To locals, the high mountain peaks are more than just breathtaking natural phenomena. Known as achachilas in Aymara and apus in Quechua, they’re also considered living beings inhabited by powerful spirits. As controllers of weather and the source of vital irrigation water, these mountain gods must be appeased with constant offerings and worship, since if angered they’re liable to send hailstorms, frost or drought to destroy crops.

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