Marko

Every now and then you meet someone that is eccentric in such a way that upon first meeting them, you find yourself in disbelief of the their very existence. You couldn’t have imagined such a character. How could they possibly be real? This was the case with Marko.

After spending years in Bolivia as a botanist, Marko decided to use his airfare money home to purchase a piece of property in the obscure and remote town of Quime, Bolivia. This decision sealed Marko’s fate and forever tied him to Bolivia. Roughly 30 years have passed and Marko has transformed his plot of land into a luxurious (by Bolivian standards) home with a garden full of various plants. I was surprised to hear that no mail comes to Quime. Marko expressed no discouragment by this, adding that if he ever wanted to buy something like a microscope, he would just take the 6 hr. bus ride into town. With only rare visitors like myself to keep him company, Marko’s typical weeks of isolation have led to a disposition that is both eccentric and nostalgic. I felt as if I was talking with someone from a different time.


Bowler Caps in Bolivia

The bowler cap was a rather common fashion accessory in the early 1900′s. You may remember it from silent Charlie Chaplin movies or photos of Winston Churchill. Introduced to Bolivia in the 1920′s by British railway workers, the bowler cap is still popular among many Bolivian women.

Bowler Cap, Bolivia

Bowler Cap, Bolivia

Bowler Cap, Bolivia

Bowler Cap, Bolivia


Potosi

The city of Potosí, Bolivia (the word “potosí” meaning “a fortune” in Spanish) was once one of the largest cities in the world and the silver mining capital of the Spanish Empire, where an estimated 8 million miners died as a result. The silver has long dried up and what’s left of Potosí today is an impoverished city with hints of a grander past.

As I explored the city center and nearby streets, I was intrigued by the nostalgic appeal of the doors to people’s homes. The worn surfaces and faded colors give the doors a lot of character. But besides their rustic charm, I think they are also symbolic and illustrative of Potosí’s underlying spirit today.


Train Cemetery in Uyuni, Bolivia

Spending the last two weeks in Bolivia has been an adventure. This country surprisingly provided a rich variety of experiences. One of them was visiting the train cemetery near the salt flats in southern Bolivia. My favorite is the train that says “Emelia y Juan”.


Favorite Portraits from India

Going to India this past January was a great break from the city and the snow. I spent most of my time in the Thar Desert, which is along the India-Pakistan border. These are my favorite portraits from the trip.