Past Present Peru: Photos, Music, Films
John Cohen is a photographer, musician and filmmaker who has cultivated a fifty-year long fascination with the people, cultures and landscape of Peru. Cohen took his first photographs in Peru in 1956 and has returned many times since to continue documenting, adding musical and film recordings to his still images. Cohens photographs, stored for years in boxes in a barn near his home, and the music, today archived at the Smithsonian Institute, have not been published in their entirety until now. Past Present Peru combines photographs, textiles, music and film in an ambitious book object. The photographs are for Cohen a fragmented collection of visual insights, a record of deepening awareness that depicts the diversity of Peruvian life including religious festivals, potato farming, and the recent introduction of hydroelectricity. The textiles, reproduced in luscious colour, embody pre-Columbian craft traditions more than 5,000 years old. Cohen began recording music in Peru in 1964, using a portable tape recorder to capture performances wherever he could: at festivals, in villagers homes, even waiting at a bus stop. Cohens films are about a sense of things that werent expressed in words, and are themselves a unique historical record.
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