Martín Chambi

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MartínChambi was born into aQuechua-speaking peasant family in one of the poorest regions of Peru, at the end of the nineteenth century. When his father went to work in aCarabayaProvincegold mine on a small tributary of the River Inambari, Martin went along. There he had his first contact with photography, learning the rudiments from the photographer of the Santo Domingo Mine near Coaza(owned by the Inca Mining Company of Bradford, Pa). This chance encounter planted the spark that made him seek to support himself as a professional photographer. With that idea in mind, he headed in 1908 to the city ofArequipa, where photography was more developed and where there were established photographers who had taken the time to develop individual photographic styles and impeccable technique. Chambiinitially served as an apprentice in the studio of Max T. Vargas, but after nine years set up his own studio in Sicuaniin 1917, publishing his first postcards in November of that year. In 1923 he moved to Cuzco and opened a studio there, photographing bothsociety figures and his indigenous compatriots. During his career, Chambialso travelled the Andes extensively, photographing the landscapes, Inca ruins, and local people.



Martín Chambi (Perú) 1891 -Born in Coaza,Puno(Peru) to a Quechua-speaking indigenous family. 1905 -Father dies. Travels to the banks of the Inambarito work in the gold mines, meets photographers working at the Santo Domingo Mine owned by the Inca Mining Co. 1908 -Apprentice in the photographic studio of Max T. Vargas, inArequipa. 1917 -Opens his first photographic studio in Sicuani, Cusco. 1920 -Establishes himself in the city ofCusco, photographing in the “painterly” style he learned in Arequipa. 1927 -Beginning of his mature photographic style. 1938 -Opens studio gallery 1950 -Cusco earthquake. End of the “Cusco School”. After this, he gradually ceases to work actively as a photographer. 1958 -Exposition in his honor on the occasion of 50 years of his career as a photographer. 1964 -ChambiExposition enMexico(“PrimeraConvenciónde la FederaciónInternacionalde Arte Fotográfico”) 1973 -Chambidies in Cusco, in his old studio on CalleMarqués. 1976 -Documentary,El arte fotográficode MartínChambi, by José Carlos Huayhuaca. 1977 -First work in cataloguing and restoring Chambi’sphotographic archives, financed by the EarthwatchFoundation(Belmont, Massachusetts) marks the beginning of international recognition of his work. 1979 -Retrospective exposition atMOMAinNew York City. 1981 -Latin American photography exhibit in Zurich. 1986 -BBC Arena film “Martin Chambiand The Heirs of the Incas” distributed on television worldwide. 1990 -Exposition dedicated to Chambiat the Círculode BellasArtesinMadrid. Book of his work published to coincide with exhibition.