The hats! The skirts!

I had to ask around to see if it was OK to photograph members of the Andean indigenous population in Cuenca, Ecuador. I LOVE their brightly colored traditional clothing so reminiscent of Peruvian style.

Sometimes indigenous communities have very strong feelings against being photographed, or they want something in return. Once, in my earlier, more inexperienced, years of travel, I asked an indigenous woman in Oaxaca, Mexico, if I could take her photo.

At the time, I was a newspaper journalist, and we had ethical problems with “paying” for a photo. So I refused to pay her and she screamed at me. I could tell she was “cursing” me…literally.

Sure enough, when I was back in Mexico City, I ended up leaving my camera in a taxi, never to see it—or the photo I took of her—again.

So back here in Cuenca, I made sure to ask and several cab drivers told me “No problema.” But I still felt the need to keep my camera as unobtrusive as possible. So I sat far away and cropped these two lovelies into full view at home.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the person in the foreground is a woman, though this shot makes her look quite manly. But you’d never catch a man in a skirt here!

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