Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Eyes



PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL: We are back from traveling in Peru and Ecuador. As I begin my review of thousands of images shot while traveling, I wonder if any single shot will better express my feelings from the trip than this. It is as though I have not merely peered into the best, but tumbled into it headfirst, and been greeted by the eyes of a continent looking back.

But it was here, at the end of our visit to the Larco Herrrera Museum in Lima, at the beginning of our trip, after learning about and communing with Lima's extraordinary collection of Pre-Columbian pottery, after we had already seen and been moved by the finest pieces in the collection, that I gasped aloud at the dense archive of the museum in front of me. It was all here, not hidden away in storage but arrayed on shelves, case after case, each fifteen feet high, thirty feet long, rows of clay pots arranged by subject, size, and style in variety and unity almost inconceivable. And eyes looking out of the past.

 I would be aware of many more eyes. How were these related to the eyes I caught at various markets and walking by a town meeting in Pisac where people live at a self-sufficient remove from 20th century commerce and preserve what is left of indigenous culture? Were theirs the voices I heard on the wind through the ancient granaries at Ollantaytambo and among the peaks of Machu Picchu where a ruined city balances on the tips of mountains and outlasts earthquakes? What glances do these eyes share with the eyes of the Galapagos paradise where one learns not to touch the animals, though the animals are never shy, look back thoughtfully and put themselves in easy reach.