It’s hard to walk around Cusco without noticing the prevalence of its street economy. You can buy almost anything on the street from cheese to electronics, used rugs to live animals, antiques to toilet seats. Ad hoc markets arise as if spontaneously coming into being to suit almost any need. Here in Cusco there are markets for secondhand goods, antiques, fabrics, produce, plants, and animals. And those are just the ones I’ve been to thus far.
There are also services offered on the streets; shoes are shined, shoes are cobbled, dresses hemmed, pants sewn, wood chopped, chickens defeathered, cuyes roasted, sandwiches sold, and soup ladled. The buying and selling, trading and haggling is endless and if it happens in Cusco it happens on the streets.
I’ve experienced informal street economies like this in West Africa, Thailand and Guatemala but each has something different about it, a unique flavor of sorts that if you try hard to understand it you may just decode some of the enigma of the foreign culture in which it exists.
So… on that note, a photographer friend and I set out on an assignment to capture the comings and goings and the happenstance frills of this phenomenon. I walk these streets daily, but I have never let myself be fully consumed by them, my thoughts always contained within my own head, rushing through to another destination. But today, I walked these streets with an open mind and an observant eye. And as a photographer my aim was to capture and tease out any meaning that may reveal itself.
There is so much to see, so many things to capture in every moment and this really is a part of the genuine everyday Cusco life that in which, once more, I am feeling more and more apart of.