Earthy Bolivia

As I have written before, the photo workshop I taught in Bolivia in the end of September and the beginning of October was a great experience for all, for the participants and the organizers alike.

Bolivia is a splendid country for a photo workshop. The people are open and hospital, the majority of which live a simple and down-to-earth life, their culture rich and colourful and not the least the nature they are surrounded by, with breathtaking mountain ranges, spectacular valleys and lush forests.

As soon as the participants had acclimatized, they captured amazing images, and better and stronger for each day of the workshop, as could be seen in my post Excellent Photography a couple of weeks ago.

Here are a handful of images I was able to capture myself. They don’t come close to what the participants were able to produce. But that’s how it should be, they were in Bolivia to learn and photography, while I was there to teach and guide. I am only happy they got home each with a strong portfolio of Bolivia photos.

68 thoughts on “Earthy Bolivia

  1. The light and shadow in the first photo is striking! I too, like the gaze of the woman in the last photo. Kudos to this selection of intimate glimpses of life in a country much poorer than ours.

  2. I’m struck first of all by the lighting in these images. Most of them look to me like the presented difficult lighting situations with backlight or focus point in the shade of a tarp or something. The first image looks like you’d have had to be there at the perfect moment of early morning sun to illuminate the inside of the woman’s room. Did you have to do a lot of post production to get these images to look so good?
    Secondly, I’m intrigued by your high POV on the one with the boy on the horse. I don’t think you’re a giant of a man, but that looks like you’re shooting from several feet above the focus area. Were you standing on a step or just able to hold your camera that high? Love them all.

    1. I almost always do a lot of post production. I shoot RAW files and they look dull and gray without any processing. The advantage is the amount of information available in difficult lighting situations, as indeed some of these were captured in. As for the boy on the horse, I was standing uphill in relationship to the father and son and horse. It was a natural hill. No steps.

      1. Ok. Thank you. I feel better now. I look at your images and puzzle over how you could possibly manage such contrasty light. Post-production –the second half of the artistry of photography. Love them all, Otto.

  3. These are wonderful pictures Otto. They give you very warm feeling from lighting and the emotions that were captured as part of the images. The first picture of the post is so balance that just keeps me looking at it.

  4. What wonderful photos, Otto. You find a way to share the energy and personality of the people, and that’s a gift to those of us who have the privilege of viewing them!

  5. I always enjoy the accounts and products of your workshops. In this selection I particularly like the first picture. It is a strong composition that exudes energy. It captures the atmosphere of the scene perfectly.

  6. Your images have given a glimpse of their lives. The little girl looks too young to be working. It is heartening to see artwork on the walls.

  7. These photos are really impressive, Otto. Apart from the composition and the light & shadow, I especially like the earthy tones, and the stories these pictures tell. I can feel the generosity and the warm of the people. You are a great visual storyteller.

  8. Being from Brazil, I feel a great connection with South American countries and would love to explore more. I have not visited Bolivia, but it is on my wish list. I love these pictures depicting everyday life of country folk, living in small communities with little home comforts, yet they have broad smiles and a generous heart. My favorite is the one with the women on the porch, her expression of pride and a very subtle smile. Every picture tells a story, I love it.

    1. You point to something that has always been the greatest pleasure of meeting people in small communities, who doesn’t have much of anything: Their generous heart. I hope you get to see Bolivia one day. 🙂

  9. The title of this post “Earthy Bolivia” looks to me the best you could find. These photos made in that community show us a region of Bolivia, very specific, different of other regions of Bolivia.Santa Cruz, where I’ve been for a marriage, is different from Cachabamba, for instance. And even more in the mountains’ villages. The diversity of languages spoken in Bolivia makes us also understand the diversity of people and communities.
    Your work in the community where you stayed is quite impressive. The capture of the light and the post-production help us understand better which life the people there are living.

    1. Thank you for those poignant and interesting words. Yes, the eastern part of Bolivia is quite different than the higher areas, whether in the south or to the west. You obviously know Bolivia very well. Unfortunately a political turmoil has once again hit the country.

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