BEHIND THE LENS
THE ALTIPLANO, BOLIVIA BY ALDAHIR FLORES
Aldahir Flores is a young Bolivian talent who has quickly become a recognized name in his country. Currently an art student at the Universidad Autónoma Gabriel René Moreno in Santa Cruz, he specializes in photography and artistic production. His visual work combines elements of fashion, street photography and contemporary art. While collaborating with the Museo de Arte Originario y Popular de las Tierras Bajas, in Santa Cruz, he explored the cultural wealth of his country, specifically in the East, which piqued his interest in further discovering the country. Precisely this curiosity led him on a trip to the Bolivian Altiplano where he toured iconic Andean landscapes, including the Island of the Sun, the Valley of the Moon, the Salar de Uyuni and Lake Titicaca– an idyllic experience captured from his unique perspective.
Can you give us a brief background on this trip?
In mid-October of last year, I was invited as Art Director for the production of a photographic project that took me on a trip through a significant part of the Bolivian Altiplano. It was a three-week journey through a series of unique destinations. This photographic and literary project was proposed to create an edition of The Little Prince translated into Aymara, with the purpose of generating a children’s book, in which the translation is not only textual, but also of all the visual content from the original book.
What does the Altiplano smell like?
What does it taste like?
Mate de Coca.
Better discovery of the trip?
Copacabana trout (Bolivian salmon), the second best discovery after America.
If you had to choose your favorite Altiplano activity, what would it be?
Lake Titicaca and having packed extra socks.
What was your first sensation when arriving at the Altiplano?
Dizzy with enthusiasm!
If the Altiplano had a filter, what filter would it be?
UV Factor 80 filter. But if we are talking about Instagram filters, we should create one called: “El Alto”, with little saturation, little contrast, some overexposure and remove the white balance, depending on the season.
If the Altiplano had a soundtrack, what songs would it include?
Definitely the entire album Jallalla from * Lagartijeando!
When you travel to the Altiplano, you cannot forget _______.
Your aspirin, nor your coins for the minibus.
A typical food or drink?
Jawitas (empanadas made with a mozzarella type cheese), Api (a hot drink made from purple corn), llajua (a spicy sauce prepared with ground locoto).
Something everyone should know before visiting the Altiplano?
That the Sun is really very close! Do not buy pasakallas, it’s a trap, it’s only pororó (advice for those who live in Santa Cruz like me). Also, you should take it easy (If you don’t want to lose your breath).
What is the most unique thing about the Altiplano?
Because its landscapes are difficult to consume, the Altiplano does not allow you to be just another tourist, you have to earn your permission to explore it and really know all of its splendor and beauty.
Any local words or slang?
Estido, which means wildcard in the Bolivian language, which is used to refer to the new state of a thing or person, whatever it may be.
What is beauty to you?
Beauty for me is found in the act of giving free passage to your senses and your heart to truly perceive everything that we experience.