Martin Chambi

Amanecer en la Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru, 1925

Gelatin silver print (print made later, ca. 2010, by master printer and photographer Juan Manuel Castro Prieto)

17 x 22.5 inches, framed to 23 x 27 inches

Retail value $4500

© Martin Chambi Archives and courtesy Weintraub Family Collection

In 1891 Martín Chambi (1891 – 1973) was born into a family of farmers in Coaza, a province north of Lake Titicaca . While visiting a mine with his father, Martín saw a British man taking photographs with his camera and decided that he wanted to be a photographer. With his family’s support, Martín moved in 1908 to the city of Arequipa to pursue photography and spent the next nine years apprenticing at the studio of Max T. Vargas. After, he opened his own studio near Lake Titicaca, where he spent three years until 1920, when he moved to Cusco and took to the streets with his camera, capturing the stunning landscapes, the ancient and colonial architecture, the diversity of people and their cultural customs and daily life. Over the course of three decades, Martín covered nearly every inch of the region, stopping only when he felt that the magic of the place had worn off, when even Machu Picchu, discovered in 1911, was already attracting travelers from abroad.

This image was printed by master printer and photographer, Juan Manuel Castro Prieto. “Taking a photo is the ultimate stage in the photographer’s relationship with photography; next come the magnificent prints, pictures with a life of their own. They are all his, but the hypnotic intensity commanding the split second when the shutter button is pressed transforms everything: the photographer becomes the onlooker, a witness to his own life.”

Bidding for this item only available during the in-person live auction at Block 41 on Friday, October 20, 2023. 

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