These are the faces of the people I met on my trip to South America. Most of them are from eastern Peru, many from the remote areas of the Lares Valley where I trekked for several days. I encountered these people going about their daily lives in their villages or amidst the mountain passes. I was struck by their heartiness, their joyful smiles, and the integrity of their traditions. I held the clothing they wove by hand and watched them herd their animals.
Most of them spoke little English, and in most cases not even Spanish. Rather, they spoke their native language, Quechua. As a travel photographer, it often happens that the people I am photographing do not speak English, and I likewise do not speak their language. Between us, however, exists the common language of humanity, a language which is spoken not with words but with the eyes, the movements of the hands, and with laughter. I find that this lack of conversation leads to something entirely special – a pure connection of two human souls. It allows me to see past mere words, because there are none. Instead, I see straight to the spirit.
Likewise, portraits lack words. It is my goal, therefore, that you will also see that same spirit of this people that I encountered, expressed in these little moments frozen in time. I loved this country and the people I met along the way. They live in wild landscapes, and work the hard ground, and trod where their ancestors trod, and I found their lives beautiful. And I hope you will too.
About the Artist
Photography is a unique art in that I do not craft anything at all. Rather, I begin with what is already crafted. I begin with the vastness of the universe: there are the eyes of every person in a sea of people before me; there is the light that illumines the wrinkles of the wise and the unwavering gaze of the young. There are, in each moment, expressions filled with mystery, and unspeakable suffering, and incredible joy.
And I must choose. I must choose what to cut out of the frame, in order that you might better see what is inside.
It is, I believe, the vocation of every artist to make something that will cause its viewer to stop, and really see, lest we forget what has been created for us by the craftsman of the universe, the greatest craftsman of all.
Danielle Lussier Photography: www.daniellelussierphotography.com