National Geographic : 2015 Apr
PROOF A PHOTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL | proof.nationalgeographic.com the northwestern Altiplano, the northeastern Mesopotamia, the Gran Chaco, and Patagonia. During that research period we produced this series of photographs. I was tired of pictures that depicted farmers—which all of these people are—as poor, as digging in the dirt. Because I wanted to portray them differently, I chose to focus on their cultures. That’s why I asked the Suri girl and the two Diablos to dress in traditional ceremonial or carnival apparel for their portraits. Ultimately, Biophilia’s goal is to help these indigenous groups preserve their cultural heritage by developing their own local econo- mies through native products, like potatoes, quinoa, and vicuña wool. Eventually we hope to help them develop brands, so that they can commercialize their products and participate in the fair trade market. The trick is to connect each group’s productive potential directly to the enhancement of the natural landscape. At the same time, it is crucial that we take into serious ac- count cultural identity, which is so important to Argentina’s diversity. Working with these communities has been an enriching experience. If we keep our hearts open and respect every culture, there are lessons to be learned every day. j Jujuy Province Dario González and his son, Carlos, belong to a group called Los Diablos— part of the Quechua community. They believe the devil has the power to both curse and protect.