Once i got in the lost village of Quehue, it was no easy job to find the Andean priest that, with the help of two more guys, was supposed to ask the Holy Ghosts of the Mountain (the “Apu”) for their protection on the rebuild of the Q’eswachaka Bridge. I found a motorcycle as my last hope and i got up to a “comunidad campesina” that was placed at 4000 meters above sea level and where this guy was living, in a farm apart from the village; there i had to be taken there by his daughters, to wait on his doorstep (needless to say that cellphones do not perform so well up there).

Since the beginning, this priest wasn’t very cooperative, on the contrary he’s started to make things hard for me, using jealousy of his neighbors and other laughable reasons. But he, as all of his fellows “comuneros”, was in charge of making 40 fathoms of cordage for the bridge, starting from cutting that mountain straw right outside his house.

I had to cough out 50 New Soles (approx 15 USD) so that he could get rid of his fears and allow me to take pictures of him. I’m not accustomed to pay my subjects, but sometimes the fear of wasting all my efforts is bigger that the expense. Plus, it’s also the media’s fault. When they come, they buy everything and everyone.

I had to turn a simple action, as cutting grass and shaking it to get rid of unwanted soil, into a spectacular one. So i tried to shoot from a lower angle, but i realized that the typical veiled andean sky was there, in full effect. The sun was never fully out, it was all a variation of intensity of light behind the clouds, so i chose to hide the sun behind the subject; luckily i had both my flash and the TTL cable with me, so i managed to give the pictured a 3D effect and a pinch of dreamlike touch. Year 2012. Camera Nikon D700.  Diafragm 18  Speed 1/250. Lens 17-35 f 2,8 AF ED

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