Donuts in Potosi and back to Cerro Rico

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

I decided to go back to Potosi for some days, mainly because I wanted to photograph a politician and an unionist (which was, lucky me, no problem and I guess the photographs turned out well). I also met Marc Antonio again (Polaroid). Marc Antonio has been working in his sisters pastry shop for 9 years now, and his job is mainly to deliver the donuts etc. to the many street vendors and small shops all around Potosi. He proudly told me that they are the only pastry shop in Potosi that produces donuts.

Photographer Alec Soth said in an interview with Joerg Colberg:

” JC: Something that we talked about before is how to approach people for portraits. How do you go about this? In particular, if you are interested in doing nude work?

AS: It isn’t too complicated. I drive around. I sit in donut shops.(…)”

So donuts allow you to make great art work. And finally to do nude work. And that’s why I had to photograph Marc Antoni again. Maybe that brings good luck in the future. That day was also my birthday, and Marc Antonio had a great gift for me that saved my day and gave me a big big smile (my dad was a pastry chef, too!).

I tried to eat them all alone but that was just way to much.


So as there were still loads of sweets left over I decided to visit the miners at Cumbre II on the Cerro Rico. I had photographed them soon after arriving in Potosi for the first time and thought it would be nice to meet them again, allthough I knew this would cost me again a bunch of polaroid material. Anyways, I went up the mountain again and shared the sweets with the miners.

Some impressions from that second visit. First, the entry of the mine.

Detail shot of the minerals they are mining at the moment.

Women are not allowed to work in the mines, because that would cause bad luck and the god of the underworld, el tio, would get upset. But they are allowed to work outside, so often you find 1 woman with every mining team that stays outside, cooks, watches the equipment that nothing gets stolen etc. The following picture shows a woman “cleaning up” after she has separated different minerals / qualities from each other.

At a nearby mine, miners bring trolleys out of the mine. Usually, especially in the smaller mines, trolleys are still pulled and pushed manually. A trolley filled with minerals can have the weight of 1000 kilos.

When their mothers work for the mines, even small kids are more or less left alone, and they play around the mines or on the mountains. Older kids do take care of their smaller siblings, but cleanliness and hygiene are less important. Or just not possible.


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