Harsh realities of Latin America documented
THE SANTA CLARA
January 30, 2014
Four years, 14 countries, 19,000 miles and two bicycles.
Photographers Marc Hors and Indira Urrutia finished pedaling from Alaska to Puerto Williams, Chile in 2012. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Hors and Urrutia presented “Latin America by Bicycle: A Photographic Project” to Santa Clara students and faculty.
Hors, originally from Spain, and Urrutia, from Chile, saw their trip across the American continent as a way to promote art, culture and the environment through the camera lens. Urrutia said that it started as an adventure and a dream, but once they reached Mexico, it became an educational project.
Along the way, they shared their discoveries and insights to schools and communities, and they are still continuing those presentations today. Their website 2Greenprints online displays their photographs and the 76 journal entries from their trip.
“More and more people are recording images, but there are less and less people who try to say something”
“More and more people are recording images,” said Hors. “But there are less and less people who try to say something. Photography means to write with light.”
Hors and Urrutia’s guiding principles of solidarity, respect and cultural diversity mirror Santa Clara’s social justice mission. Alberto Ribas-Casasayas, assistant professor of Spanish, encouraged his class to attend the event because the presentation illustrated many of their classroom topics.
“Their presentation teaches us about the fundamental respect that is owed to the people who live in the places you visit,” said Ribas-Casasayas.
The most difficult part of the trip was seeing the harsh realities of the Latin American countries. They witnessed poverty, corruption and struggle daily. They also observed how the devastation extended to the wildlife and the environment.
“You appreciate things differently,” said Hors.
The couple also addressed non-governmental organizations. They emphasized how these organizations are not adequately helping the Latin American communities.
For example, Hors said that painting over a run-down house may not be in a family’s best interest because it shows that they have money. There has been an unfortunate trend of nonprofit organizations aiding communities for a short time and leaving without teaching them how to advance.
Senior Keli Demertzis saw this as the couple’s main message. Her favorite story was about a young boy in rural Ecuador who had asked them for one of their homemade bracelets.
“Instead of giving him the bracelet, they taught the young boy how to make his own,” Demertzis said.
The journey was not a completely smooth ride. From bicycle reparations to unsafe drinking water, Hors and Urrutia had to quickly adapt to the circumstances.
Ribas-Casasayas became acquainted with 2Greenprints in an exhibit at the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center last September.
“Their images attest both to their artistic talent and their capacity to observe and meditate beyond the merely folkloric or picturesque,” Ribas-Casasayas said.
Hors and Urrutia hope to travel throughout the Mediterranean. But for now, the duo will continue to spread the knowledge of Latin American cultures.
Contact Eryn Olson at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.