Peru Journal

As you know, I’m off to Peru for several weeks of teaching. As you also know, I’m a journal keeper. I was putting together a few images for the Peru journal I will carry with me and had them out on the cutting board in the kitchen. These are just a few of the black and white, 35mm images from last year. I put these in a book like this to help trick myself back into the mindset of “photographer in Peru.” As I’ve said many times in the past, one of the biggest misconceptions of photographers today is that great photography happens often and easily. It doesn’t. It’s VERY difficult to get on a plane, land in a foreign place, turn off your normal life and turn on your life as a photographer. It normally takes me a few days to even get my head straight. I use these images to relive what I was like to be in these places and also what it required to MAKE these images. Luck, light, timing, composition, speed, elements and YEARS of mental and physical baggage accumulated in the trenches of the photography world.
What is strange is that I just took a moment to REALLY look at one of these images, the one that is in focus in the photograph above. I’m not REALLY sure if I had ever REALLY looked at this image. I can tell you all the details of when and where I took this, but I can’t tell you all the details of what is IN this image. This reality, of perhaps not really even taking a close look, is a great example of what being too busy does to ones photography. What caught my eye was not the line of priests in the image, or the church in the background, it was the LIGHT on the umbrella tops that made me stop and stare. Didn’t some joker say “It’s the simple things in life,” or some other joker said, “The devil is in the details.” Those jokers might have been on to something.
I can tell you right now….I’m thinking I know a remedy for this…the darkroom. So next year, by this time, I’ll perhaps have another set of images, and this time I’m hoping to know them a little better.

12 responses to “Peru Journal”

  1. One of the most difficult part of photography, for me, is stopping and staring at the images I’ve taken. I mean really look at them in a objective way. I seem to do it better one month or more after I taken the actual image. Thats the benefit of analog BW film. No meta data, no color, no post processing, just imagery in raw form.

    • Smogranch says:


      I totally agree. I’ve missed WAY too many images moving quickly. Time with work is the key, at least for me. Not ALWAYS but most of the time.

  2. moritz says:

    I love looking at my own images again and again, gradually discovering them and getting surprised by my own photos. I believe it is an effect of your autonomic nervous system taking over while shooting – maybe similar to dreaming, when your subconscious starts telling you stories that you try to unravel the next morning.

  3. Eric Jeschke says:

    Happy Holidays, Daniel! Have a great trip. Looking forward to seeing some of your output from the trip on the blog.

  4. Missy Callero says:

    Will miss you over the holidays (one of those holidays being your birthday of course). Have an interesting fulfilling lovely time in Peru. Good luck and merry merry! Missy and gang

  5. gregory peel says:

    Have a great workshop! Bring us back some exposed silver salts.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Have a great trip, you’re heading there with some excellent photo karma, I have no doubt you’ll be back with a boatload of exposed film, and wonderful images to look at and study for years to come. That’s the best. I’m also inclined to enjoy my time in a place without feeling the need to make pictures every second… hope you’ll do that, too! Being in Peru… safe travels…

  7. Gregory says:

    As I finally looked closely at the umbrellas I realized that maybe you don’t like the lighting on the umbrellas? Upon repeated examination, I really like it.

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