Misk’i Kachi Runakuna, Feb 15 through May 29

Sweet Salt People // Gente de Sal Dulce

Photographs by Laurence Salzmann

Text by Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga

“The duality of the cosmos and the world that surrounds mankind is an idea basic to Andean thought: day and night, man and woman are so distinct, but together are they able to create harmony”

Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga, text from Misk’i Kachi//Sweet Salt// Sal Dulce.

Reception, April 30. Learn more here

Sign up slots are available to limit the number of attendees to a maximum of five (5) people. If you need assistance signing up as a group, please contact Taller at info@tallerpr.org or call 215.426.3311.  Mask must be worn in the gallery and building and social distancing observed.

In 2021, the Philadelphia-based artist, ethnographer, and documentarian Laurence Salzmann (b. 1944) celebrates 50 years of photography.

With scenery photographed in black and white, Salzmann’s captures the ethereal and abstract, inviting rumination of the Salinas’ landscape and salt formation. Yet, his work does not exist solely in his photographs. It is also with Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga’s aid, a collaboration with the region’s indigenous people. Carbajal, a Cuzco citizen and Quechua-speaker, added weight and inclusion with her captions to his photographs written in Quechua and translated to Spanish and English. Her informed words and insight present the “duality” that Salzmann sees in these people who embody both an ancient culture and one planted in a Postcolonial present.   

In 2016, Salzmann received a Fulbright grant for photography to go to Peru. His proposed project was to observe and document the traditional ways that the native Quechua speaking people maintained their traditions from the pre-Hispanic era. On his stop to Maras, a town near Machu Picchu, he became captivated by the salt ponds, “Salinas de Maras.” These famous salt ponds, known as Salinas or Salineras in Spanish, precede the Inca Empire by more than 800 years. Since that time, being in continuous use, they offer a window into what Salzmann describes as “the extraordinary symbiosis of natural beauty and human history.”

In the context of today’s United States political climate, where a question of citizenship takes on the appearance of a threat, his photographs and Carbajal’s words call attention to the indigenous people of the Americas and, in so doing, challenges contemporary ideas of nativist privilege that came into being with the end of colonial rule.

Salt Ponds of Maras; Salineras, 2017 Maras,  pigment print.  24″x20″

Cuzco’s Yolanda Carbajal Zuniga, an anthropology graduate and translator, has collaborated on this project by writing captions for each photograph that adds weight, inclusion, interpretation and context to every image. These captions, written in Quechua before being translated to Spanish and English, bring her perspective as a woman of indigenous descent to the project.  

Laurence Salzmann has been working as a documentary photographer and filmmaker since the late 1960s. His photographs and documentary films are well known and in the collections of many museums. With Misk’i Kachi// Sweet Salt, he broadens the understanding of Latinx culture and adds another dimension to his documentary photography