Chambi Martin
El gigante de Cusco
La cosecha de papas
Chicucha y policia, Cusco

Martín Chambi

About the artist

1891 — 1973

Martín Chambi, born in southeastern Peru, said in 1936 while exhibiting his work in Chile that he photographed indigenous peoples — his people — to change perceptions. Through his photography, Chambi assembled a portrait of early 20th century life in the Southern Andes. He started taking pictures at 14, and within three years had become assistant to Max T. Vargas in Arequipa. Under Vargas, Chambi became skilled both in studio portraiture and community photography, and by the age of 26 he had founded his own photographic studio.

In addition to a focus on indigenous peoples and the working classes, Chambi turned his lens on well-off families and vibrant city society in Cusco. At a time in which Peru opened its doors to tourists and internationals, Chambi's photojournalism — now widely published and exhibited across the globe — documented a diverse, proud country whose heritage would not be lost. Chambi's stark imagery left a vast legacy in Peru and across Latin America; he remains one of the most influential indigenous photographers of all-time.

Technical information

Image 1: El gigante de Cusco, 1935
Size: 50 x 40 cm 

Image 2: La cosecha de papas. 1934
Size: 40 x 50 cm  

Image 3: Chicucha y policia, Cusco. 1924
Size: 50 x 40 cm
Print techique: gelatin silver