Shapes and shadows of Santa Catalina…

Come in, I'll show you the bluest world possible

Come in, I’ll show you the bluest world possible

Weeks ago I had published some photographs in film about this monastery in a visit with my friend Melissa (they say this monastery is the biggest on the world, probably because it certainly is a small city)

I process my photographs to match what I see and what I feel, sometimes I’m driven by a certain color or meaning, shooting at the same time with film helped me to understand better the colors. I hope you enjoy the trip.

Built with blocks of blue sky

Built with blocks of blue sky

Some of the buildings have a blue so intense that even the sky with its intense blue of the desert can appear almost invisible.

Sometimes a heart of flowers can be harder to break than a chain of iron

Sometimes a heart of flowers can be harder to break than a chain of iron

I wonder if that heart is product of a sensible gardener, or just product of my imagination…

Head portrait

Head portrait

There is a trend to use HDR techniques in photographs; put it in a quite simple, and unfair because it can get nice and natural images, way it’s a technique to get the most of details in shadows and highlights. But I love deep shadows, and under the sun of the desert in Santa Catalina the shadows are almost solid, turning the architecture in a sort of old watch pointing the path of time in the slow procession of the shadows.

feline eye

Feline eye

A city without windows

A city without windows

It’s a crowded place with tourists, as I was in that moment, but being a city covering a large area there are always moments of ancient silence, that language that the ashlars of volcanic origin whisper after the heat of the day.

The photographs were shot in July, in winter; the season in the desert means clean blue skies.

If the ashes could talk...

If the ashes could talk…

I love kitchens, they are the place where a home has the strongest amount of familiar memories, conversations, moments, true life.

A red color trying to cross the blue wall

A red color trying to cross the blue wall

The photograph lines below is a place I’ve taken before so it could be familiar to you. But what I can say, I like it a lot and certainly to me it would be a wonderful place to read or just simply rest to the warm of the afternoon.

Enjoy the light and take a sit

Enjoy the light and take a sit

volumes and shapes of santa catalina

Volumes and shapes of Santa Catalina

blue and white

Blue and white

And that’s all, in a certain way it’s a sort of street photography of a city whose life now endures in a little (although quite comfortable and modern) corner. Although that’s good, I think it was a sad destiny to be in such a beautiful place but not by choice but for the cruel rules of tradition. In colonial times rich families used to send one daughter to buy influence from church. Now fortunately seems that heaven doesn’t need money ;-)

Remembering a time when it had fire

Remembering a time when it had fire

Late afternoon in the market

 

Late afternoon in the market

In Juliaca there are different types of market:

  • There are the new malls where people likes to buy and walk with their children, I don’t like them because you need to wait in long queues and even worse for your privacy cashiers ask for your ID or cards
  • There are the older markets as pictured in the photograph, this is called Santa Bárbara and I think it could be really ancient, I mean as several centuries long. In the highlands there aren’t fruits (remember we’re at more than 3800 meters/12000 feet) but the jungle is near so we eat fruits from the whole Peru and the jungle, the problem with these markets is that the sellers want you to be loyal to their stands and they can be a bit jealous if you buy from another person.
  • The last type is my favorite, usually it’s in fairs with peasants or people from smaller cities as sellers, they have the products over a textile in the ground and they are indifferent to you until you ask or buy. Until then you’re comfortably invisible.

Once I posted big and super red apples, I bought them from one fair, probably in the market they could have cost a lot.

Santa Catalina – An adventure in color

another tale of another princess in hope of a green prince

Another tale of another princess in hope of a green prince

The photographs of today were made with a film camera, a Samsung ECX-1, and a roll of Kodak Ektar 100. There aren’t skilled laboratories around me so I had to take a photograph of the negative and invert it in a special program, because if you just invert it simple turn to a bluish image. It take a lot of time and it’s my first processed roll, I hope you find one of your taste.

taking a sunbath in the patio while talking about old times

Taking a sunbath in the patio while talking about old times

These photographs were shot inside the cloisters of Santa Catalina de Siena Monastery, a colonial small city for the aristocracy. It’s said it’s the biggest of the word but I cannot find references to confirm that data.

blue bliss in the light blessing the stair

Blue bliss in the light blessing the stair

Among the several rolls of film Ektar 100 is the most saturated so ideal for colorful compositions. Santa Catalina is a place of walls, mostly reds and blues. as a religious building I think it success in transmit an idea of peaceful meditation.

a carpet made with a shadow a wall made with trees a sky made with red and a space in blue

A carpet made with a shadow, a wall made with trees, a sky made with red and a space in blue

The little city, with its streets and plazas is a touristic attraction. The monastery still works but in a smaller corner. You know, there are no much demand to be nun these days. In colonial times people to get influence used to send their children to the church and the military, so it was mostly a monastery for the aristocracy.

a beautiful photographer in fields of a blue poem

a beautiful photographer in fields of a blue poem

And I saw this woman with red hair contrasting as a flower against the blue sky; so I felt in the urgency of take her portrait for, err, academic purposes. And this beautiful girl was for coincidence my friend Melissa! you can follow her chronicles in melissainthemiddle across the world in a way not so touristic and instead more experiential.

my respects jk

My respects (j/k)

I took the obligatory selfie but in a more original (I hope) way, a shoelfie! XD

mystic red

Mystic red

The whole city is built with ashlars of volcanic rock, painted with special paintings with eggs in the colors and with ship skin as a brush.

and one day the mankind simply vanished

And one day the mankind simply vanished…

butlers of blue uniforms and white shoes

Butlers of blue uniforms and white shoes

say o with me

Say “O” with me

there is no more food please somebody help me

There is no more food. Please, somebody help me :/

chiaroscuro of savage with red skin and green crown

Chiaroscuro of savage with red skin and green crown

three caravels navigating a blue ocean

Three caravels navigating a blue ocean

I shot two horizontal photographs to stitch this and get away of limitations of format.

the forbidden city of the red walls

The forbidden city of the red walls

And well, there were some more photos but this publication is already longer so see you another day ;-)

Stellar jewels – And a review about photographic sites

Stellar jewels

There was a marvelous view of the coast at sunrise in Ilo city, I hadn’t my camera so I grabbed my old cell phone with two megapixels, I edited the picture in the app for tablets Snapseed and got the quality of the soft light reaching the shores while they were touched by the music of Pacific Ocean waves.

I can’t avoid to think that it’s a marvel to have tools in our pockets that can help us to document a feeling or save a memory. The rest is vanity.

***

Photographic sites I see for information

I had an Olympus camera, but I was reached the limit of its capabilities so I investigated which camera could satisfy me without mean a hole in my skinny pocket. After reviewing several models I ended knowing several review sites. Perhaps you already know them, and if not they could be useful for you. The most I see are:

He’s a smart man, he knows he’s driving a spectacle so knows how to get his audience interested. He uses to write in a clever way that people fall in his traps and thinks he is saying contradictory or false statements, meanwhile he laughs and have a great time seeing the buzz of the passionate crowd. As a US citizen he explains clear and directly.

From him I learned to use my equipment as tools, not ornaments; I learned everything I know about filters, tripods, cameras, accessories, terminology, etcetera. Actually I know a lot of English words related to photography but I unknown their equivalent in Spanish.

About his side as a photographer I like his naturalness to compose and the bright colors, but to say the truth I’m more attracted to his opinions.

He is a professional photographer. From him I learned to be careful with my equipment to extract the most of them; the importance to have a language in our images, doesn’t matter if you’re shooting a cell phone or medium format; and his most important lesson to me is to choose always a title for my pictures, sometimes I got good titles, sometimes not.

About his side as a photographer actually he is the perfect reason I don’t want to be ever a photographer, so my link to my pictures is called “my pictures” and not “portfolio” for that motive. It’s not that his photographs have an imperfection, far from that, actually they are perfect, doesn’t matter if he uses his iPhone or his Pentax 645Z. But when I see his photographs I feel that he’s not interested in the subject or object portrayed beyond a medium to get a photograph to show. In my case a camera just matters to save memories and to express feelings of the moment. so: No, I don’t want to be a professional photographer.

His passion for photography don’t translates in a photography with soul.

  • Trey Ratcliff from http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

He is an adventurer. He travels the world and get amazing views. From him I learned to don’t be afraid of software as a tool to get the photograph in the way I see with my eyes and not in the way the camera, an object, see it. He is amazing because he didn’t study photography so in a certain way he’s a Texan that has built his name with a very personal way to be not related to other photographers in the past. If you search online for “HDR” you’re going to find him for sure.

As a photographer I like very much his photographs of landscapes, but I’m not much attracted when his HDR technique is overdone (what was more in the past and sometimes in urban landscapes) because I feel like I’m having an overdose of candy. But the man is cool.

The legendary photographer. Actually is perhaps the only professional photographer I really, but really, I’m fan. From him I learned to be humble and natural, the important is what you see, not what your camera see.

Besides I purchased my Sony R1 because I saw a TV spot in youtube with him grabbing the camera in India. Of course I know that he uses a Nikon but to me was enough to see what a master like him could make with a camera accessible to me.

***

And that’s all. To take the photograph I had in my mind from Ken Rockwell the confidence to use my cell phone as the important tool it is; from Ming Thein a careful way to shoot with a composition; from Trey Ratcliff the liberty to edit the photograph until it matched what my eyes saw; and from Steve McCurry to capture a meaningful moment for me.