Travel & Vacation Images
Guatemala - February 2005
Photographing the Mayan People

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A very late decision in January 2005 resulted in a trip to Guatemala the next month to participate in a workshop entitled "Portraiture / Photographing the Soul of Indigenous Guatemala."  The title over-reaches, but the workshop, under the auspices of Art Workshops in La Antigua Guatemala and taught in La Antigua and other Guatemalan locations by the talented young Canadian photographer, Nance Ackerman, exceeded expectations.  To say much more would delve into the very insightful and helpful lessons in inter-cultural relations at the core of the workshop, but suffice it to say I think that Nance provided a milieu for some extraordinary portraiture, both up-close-and-personal and at a distance, of a fascinating people.

The workshop covered various types of portraiture of indigenous peoples:   (1) formal, (2) travel, (3) documentary, (4) environmental, and (5) art, among them.  My work is of course primarily artistic in content, but I've tried to incorporate other styles in the work shown here.

So this gallery is largely about people, the indigenous people of Guatemala, descendants of the ancient Mayan civilization, by which name they are still known today.  In many cases these people are portrayed in their natural surroundings, while in others the portraiture is more formal.  In many cases, the portraits were in exchange for payment, to which some may object, but to paraphrase Nance, "Do not impose your values on your subjects."

The Mayans themselves are often poor in possessions, but they are truly rich in soul, and are among the most welcoming subjects I've ever photographed.

This gallery is divided into four sections, shown below.   Explore each -- they link together for easy navigation.  Please note that photos are sometimes annotated with a note appended beneath the title.

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Three Families

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Religion & Processions

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