Peru and Bolivia - Ryan Kost


Silhouetted Miguel stands above the valley keeping an eye on his horses and burros. As an Arriero (Horsemen), these animals are paramount to his livelihood. Unfortunately, this night we lost 3 burros who roamed a bit too far. In the early morning. Miguel and his brother Hilario scoured the mountains looking for them to no avail. They continued on with certain preoccupied despondent countenances. Two days later after we completed our circuit, Miguel and Hilario would return to the area to continue the search on their way home to Huayallpa. They were hoping the burros decided to return to familiar pastures on their own but weren't optimistic. After all, these animals are their lifeblood and furthermore companions and integral part of survival in such a rugged milieu. I won't know if they found them until I return because they don't have internet.

This is life in the Andes. We tend to romanticize it with odes to a simpler way of being and a truer connection to the land (which is in large part true), but we often overlook how physically demanding and often isolating and uncomfortable life can be here trying to make ends meet and find admirable work. So while this photo was and still is beautiful to me, it holds more power. It holds a modicum of melancholy. Miguel's shadow reflects the trials and tribulations, and also the painstaking beauty found in the Andes