This was the 4th year in a row that I participated in the 24 Hour Project. The challenge is to document humanity in the span of 24 hours in your city by uploading one photograph taken in that hour to social media. The purpose is to bring attention to various causes and NGO’s chosen by the 24 Hour Project team. It all started in 2012, when Renzo Grande and Sam Smotherman decided to document each other’s cities in one day. This led to what is a now an international event, one close to my heart and one I hope to be a part of until my eyes can’t see no more.
Back to the Pacha Mama
I left Peru when I was 10 years old. My family decided to start a new life in a country that would give us a lot more opportunities and so we came to the United States in 1986. After 18 years, I went back to explore as much of my country as possible. I toured Lima and ate everything. My touring started with a stop in Ica, Nazca and Paracas. Flying over the Nazca Lines was an exhilarating experience, and scary at the same time. The trip continued as I headed south, backpacking through Cusco and of course the ruins of Machu Picchu. I met a couple of girls from Israel and together we explored Arequipa and saw condors flying in the Colca Canyon. We then went to Puno and cruised Lake Titicaca. We stayed the night in one of the islands with a local family. There is so much more that I’ve yet to explore. I think I’ll head north next time.
Having worked in the TV industry for 20 years, my mind is accustomed to thinking about the main character and the plot of the story. Therefore, I frame my images as such, allowing the observer to identify the protagonist and give them enough information to concoct a scenario. In this process, the viewer becomes the storyteller.
Puerto Rican Day Parade
I have been supremely lucky to have had the opportunity to cover the New York Puerto Rican Day Parade for three years in a row. It is one of my favorite events to attend because the vibe that runs from 44th street through 79th street on Fifth Avenue is one of pride and patriotism. These "Boricuas" come out and celebrate their heritage chanting "Yo soy Boricua, pa' que tu lo sepas!" and the floats carrying prominent Puerto Rican celebrities, politicians and singers, all blasting salsa and reggaeton...it's a block party like no other! I get to walk up and the down the parade capturing the "orgullo" of this colorful event. I love seeing the diverse population that makes up my Latino brothers and sisters.
International Women's Day
During the 2015 International Women's Day, I began posting images of girls and women I had photographed during my trips. A friend pointed it out as a great campaign for this day. With that in mind, I took the time to look through as many albums as possible to pull all these women together and create a gallery that will inspire other women to keep fulfilling their dreams because if there is one thing I've learned in my 40 years on this earth is that anything is possible...
When in Rio...
DTLA may 2016
Barcelona y todo su encanto
This past summer, June 2015 to be exact, my wonderful parents decided to treat us, their children to a trip to Barcelona. It was a great experience to spend so much time with them and my siblings and my nephews and to create to new memories that will be with us forever. At the same time, I was excited to shoot with my new Sony a6000 as well as my good old reliable Canon 7D. These images are mixture of both cameras and I feel like they both gave me great images. Upon return from my trips, I attempt to go through the thousands of pictures and cut them in half, and then again another half until I get to a number that I'm able to manage in Lightroom. It's a long process but at the end, I love to sit and look through these and remember the little details: squatting in front of the market to get the first picture of the girl walking towards me, carefully aiming and walking to get the picture of the old men sitting in front of the bar without disturbing them, and remembering the breeze and the sounds of this great city. I hope to inspire you to continue to travel!
Sisters On The Run
My little sister had never been to Europe so we decided at the end of 2014 that we would take a sister trip for her birthday. So on May 2015, the two of us flew across the ocean for her first European vacation! This was not my first time in London, but it was the first time in London with my sister. Seeing the city through her eyes was an unforgettable experience. This body of work reflects what this trip was all about, discovering new streets, tasting new beers and seeing all the sights from another angle. And since Paris is only a train ride away, we said "on y va!" and we found ourselves drinking a cafe au lait at the Jardin des Tuileries. We had the time of our lives!
In 2013 after quitting my job, I decided to travel. Part of that journey was meeting up with my parents and exploring many other cities, Prague being one of them. A friend once told me that when he was in Prague he picked up a postcard from a souvenir shop, he held it up and as he was putting it back he realized that the same structure was there in front of him, live. It was a magical moment. And it is a magical city. It's as if time stood still. The rain and the cold weather added to this feeling of being in some sort of fairy tale as you cross the Charles Bridge into the streets where castle like houses surround you. Black cobblestone, yellow walls and red roofs, this combination of colors is so embedded in my mind. Likewise the taste of my favorite beer Velkopopovicky Kozel, best dark beer to date! And lastly, the smell of the Trdelnik, a dough rolled onto a steel rod and toasted, then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. So sweet, I had a bee chase me down the street! I hope to revisit this city soon.
Thanksgiving in Japan
Thanksgiving 2013 was spent in an Italian restaurant in Tokyo. There were seven of us and we named ourselves the 7 Samurais. Eating in Japan was difficult because few restaurants had English menus, and being a pescatarian, it was especially difficult for me. However, we managed and quickly figured out how to say "no meat" to my servers. And that's why we ended up eating Italian on Thanksgiving...you really can't go wrong with spaghetti.
We didn't have a tough time finding beauty in Japan. We arrived into Kyoto first and enjoyed the peaceful landscapes and the quiet streets. It was a mellow introduction to what was to come because Tokyo really blows your mind! I don't think there is anything that can prepare you for it, but I've never wanted to go back to a city as badly. And one thing is for sure: 7 days were not enough.
These images are a very small sample of what caught my eye while visiting these two cities. I appreciated the way the Japanese take care of their country. It's clean, efficient and everyone is willing to go above and beyond to help you. It was an unforgettable experience and one we hope to repeat a few more times in our lifetimes.
A Day in Berlin
I can tell you right now that one day in Berlin was not enough. In order to see as much as possible, I did get on one of those tour buses with stops throughout the city. It was the only way to take advantage of the 24 hours I had there. I walked from East Berlin to West Berlin before boarding and stopped at the East Side Gallery. I could have stayed there all day admiring each piece of art and reading the messages on each wall. On the other side of the wall there was an exhibit called "Walls on Walls" and enlarged prints were adhered to the walls depicting current borders between countries like Mexico/USA, North and South Korea, among others. It's disturbing to think that to this day we still carry on these ideas.
Berlin is a city filled with history. Its citizens are diverse and the food is spectacular. I ate well and from many different parts of the world. I hung out with locals and went to see an art film in the basement of a bar that shared a space with a thrift store. My day there was unforgettable and it's important that I go back to pick up where I left off.
Italians love to talk! Coming from a place where everyone stares down at their phone, it was refreshing to see people taking the time to have conversations. It also helped that Italians walked everywhere and there was a piazza in every corner, so it becomes easy to bump into a friend, neighbor, or co-worker and chat. My favorite was catching the little girl in the blue shirt saying out loud "ma che dice" holding her little hand out and having a conversation with two adult women...she made my day!
Keep Austin Weird
And then there is Austin, Texas. How do you begin to describe this city? It's an ideal combination of New York, LA, Nashville and Portland...in my humble opinion. The weather in April is fantastic, warm like the people who live there. I ate deliciously! This city is definitely on my top 10 list of places and it is one of the few cities who tempted to sell everything and move! But don't take my word for it...please go there already, but do keep Austin weird!