Robert Clark’s extraordinary photos of Peru

I wrote earlier about Hiram Bingham’s 1911 expedition to Peru that led to the discovery — or re-discovery, or mere publicizing — of Machu Picchu, the jewel of Peru’s past.  But the modern form of such expeditions is undertaken by photojournalists like Robert Clark, whose extraordinary images in National Geographic show something of Peru’s present and in their own way hint at the endurance of the past.

The photograph (above) of women waiting for transport at Abra Malaga looks, at first glance, impossibly timeless and nostalgic, but while the weave and patterns of their clothing is local the hats are derived from ones that came from Spain and were adapted to suit local tastes and needs.  The mummies (below) are also temporally deceptive: they call to mind the 5,000-year old pharaonic mummies of Egypt, though they are only one-tenth as old and date to the time of Leonardo da Vinci. Interestingly, their contorted poses are not a sign of disease but of practicality: it made them easier to transport.

Click here to see all of Robert Clark’s Peru photographs at National Geographic.

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