We arrived tired and a little bit cranky to La Paz, Bolivia. For me it was one of those travel moments when you simply want to get some sleep and spend a few relaxing days doing very little before getting back on the intense travel style I grew accustomed to.
With little time, and money to see everything I wanted to, the days had been long and concentrated with amazing sights, people and experiences. La Paz however seemed like the perfect place to relax – walking around trying to find a hostel was enough to see that I would be able to rest my finger as the sights were not particularly interesting. The city laid in that in between place of not beautiful enough and not quirky or strange enough to want to photograph catch in every sight. Prefect. I was ready for two days of sitting down to eat and spend my afternoons strolling around from one amazing fresh fruit smothy stall to another, happily enjoying the freshness a point-to-the-fruit-you-want-and-I’ll-shred-it-to-delicious-liquid-state kind of stall provides.
We fell asleep instantly and woke up to some music. I wondered what could be going on outside and looking through the window saw a few lost Bolivian souls, dressed in typical outfits, running down the street to, well, something. At that point it was not clear whether they were wrapping up the show or running to find it. There went my relaxed morning as I ran outside to see what was going on. Following the late-comers I was excited to see what would be going on, and nervous about possibly having missed some kind of street parade that would be perfect to photograph.
We arrived to a fabulous gathering of people that made clear we woke up just in time. My need for rest went down the window and I was to excited about my luck. As the parade went down amazing groups of people from different districts paraded down with amazing costumes. I could not believe my luck. The whole environment and maybe the well rested evening provided for one undeniably perfect opportunity to photograph and I was loving it.
Group after groups the clothing kept getting better. We started with a bright pink yet more simple district with the ladies wearing round skirts that made the dancing look slightly more delicate. The colour perfectly fit their skin that beautiful skin colour that matches the bright, loud colours so perfectly.
Then followed a group with amazing head pieces – always strong coloured, with feather and other elements I could not exactly identify. As they moved I frantically jumped around trying to captures what was happening in front of me.
Sometimes we are presented with such incredible exciting, amazing things that are impossible to capture. Still I have this urge to try, and usually when these things are amazing enough, you will nevertheless end up with fabulous images to show what you saw, and even if they don’t convey the feeling, the reality, of the situation they still make for great pictures and the best memory triggers you will ever have.
The band followed the animal made outfits. The material used was some kind of dry leaf, constructed together in a tapestry manner. It had that natural colour and was absolutely beautiful. And the musicians were brilliant with their hand-made looking instruments very artisanal style. And even the way they all marched together added some kind of feel to it. Everything was very special and unique.
I could not stop shooting. The two hour parade made for almost one thousand pictures – and yes I am aware I have a problem of restraint – and made La Paz infinitely more interesting. Afterwards I ended up having a relaxed, juice drinking time, but as I look back to my time there, my mind jumps directly to the parade, and the time I jumped out of bed and followed the music and in-a-not-too-creepy-kind-of-way followed a group of people.
If you like what you read check out the author’s blog – (Pre)concept – Break your journey