CHILDREN OF THE INCAS by David Mangurian


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Photographer Mangurian, who introduced us to Lito the Shoeshine Boy in 1975, now shows us the hard daily life of highland Peruvian Modesto Quispe Mamani and his family--who raise their own food as sharecroppers and otherwise earn about five hundred dollars a year, all told, by sheep tending, knitting sweaters for a government handicraft center, selling fish and potatoes on market days, and keeping a small store (though most of the merchandise was stolen once and the family can't afford to replace it). Between Mangurian's first person accounts of two four-day visits, he has Modesto, who is 13 but looks very small, tell his own story. (Mangurian has pieced it together from recorded interviews in Spanish.) Modesto tells of his toiling parents' and grandparents' constant chewing of cocoa leaves (""they say coca makes the pain go away""), about the New Year's Day and occasional birthday slaughter of a sheep, which provides the only meat the family eats, about his own dissatisfaction with his small village (""it's as if the people were standing around in a daze"") and his ambition to go to the city and maybe become an engineer. Others in the family, who smile at the camera with none of the engaging charm we've come to expect from photographed children, do not share Modesto's high hopes. Again Mangurian gives us, without comment or manipulation, a close look at a kind of life not often brought to our attention.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Four Winds