A Huancavelica Portfolio

Most folk are familiar with the Peru described by evocative Inca ruins, traditional Quechua & Aymara cultures and so on. There is also the Peru that is simply regular life for the inhabitants of the towns, villages, and ‘campo’. I was fortunate enough to explore that former aspect many years ago, beginning all the way back in 1998, and while I still find it interesting and attractive, I find myself more compelled to explore the ‘ordinary Peru’ that is not in the tourist brochures. It is a far from ordinary place however, and  the slow, slow pace of journeying by bicycle is perfect. I’ve been in Huancavelica a few days longer than planned; I picked up a cold and, with the lasting consequences of the events of two years ago, it went into my chest. Rather than push on to Ayacucho and risk making it worse it has been instead an opportunity to tune in to the place and enjoy some street photography.. and stuff my face of course.

Chasing pigeons…

Huancavelica is a lovely town. Without the big money draws of places like Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley it remains a genuine highland town essentially untouched by tourism. I’ve only met a couple of other visitors here, all of them cyclists passing through.  Sitting at an altitude of 3676m / 12,060ft, and with very little in the way of the traffic the air is clear and the surrounding mountains are crisply defined in the perpetual sunshine. The centre of the town, streets around the Plaza de Armas essentially belong to the people rather than cars; it’s something I like very much and gives the place a ‘tranquilo’ feel. UK town planners could learn a lot.

Now, I get that street photography isn’t everyone’s mug of the proverbial, but I don’t really seem able to get to grips with ‘travel photography’ as such, and show you the churches, the markets and so on, so I have to leave that to those more dedicated than I. I can however have a crack at showing you some of the street life. I love this stuff, tuning in to those spontaneous little moments in time that can never be planned for, and never be repeated. With that in mind then here is my “Huancavelica Portfolio”…. such as it is.

It’s absolutely about the hats.

I love the hats, and the colours, and the textures..
The shopkeeper.
It all makes home feel very dull indeed.
Last light.
This chap repaired my riding shorts. I love the mending economy in these places… doesn’t matter what it is.. shoes, clothing, electronics, bicycles…, go down to the market and there’ll be someone that can fix it. I think at home if certain things were more expensive, people were less obsessed with always having the latest crap, and learned to value their stuff more then this sort of thing could pay a reasonable wage…. especially if manufacturers stopped deliberately making stuff that was hard to repair. I’d like that.
Plaza de Armas
The plaza is fronted by the Iglesia San Antonio, construction of which started in 1572. It’s a popular spot for photos.
That purple hat..
High step. Peruvians love their marches – he wasn’t practising however, but rather was kicking a bottle top.
Green hat.
Iglesia San Antonio.
The town produces a wonderful combination of colours, shadows, and life in the late afternoon.
Last light… 2.
There are street vendors on pretty much every corner.
Plaza de Armas is a good place for people watching. So much texture in the stonework, and so much colour in the people.
During the day the fierce sun is generally to be avoided but the soft light of late afternoon brings people out of the shade.
I liked this one too… it’s the hands.
Cleaning up after a fresh coat of paint.
The cyclist.
Community noticeboard.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas
Still life.
Huancavelica. It’s definitely the hats.


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