Ashaninka Makeup - January 2012 Peru Photo Contest

by Asier S.B.
(Sepahuya, Ucayali, Perú)

'Ashaninka make up'

'Ashaninka make up'

~ By: Asier S.B. - Sepahuya, Ucayali, Perú

This portrait was taken at Tangoshiari Ashaninka community, located in the province of La Convención.

La Convención is a famous place due to including Machu Picchu, but it is a big province and large part of it is Amazon Forest.

I shot this photograph on September 18th, 2011. I had gone to Tangoshiari because the communers were celebrating their anniversary.

Luckily, we had a sunny day.

Well, I was amazed because I could at last watch the native people dressed following their tradition, which is difficult. That day it was quite frustrating to me, because they were so curious about me: my camera and my beard.

About Tangoshiari:

I'm not exactly a tourist, and I can say that I got told this story by the 'main' characters.

Tangoshiari is one of the dozens of Ashaninka communities that have been founded after running away from 'Sendero Luminoso' terrorist movement.

But Tangoshiari is special. Because usually, the Ashaninka only fled away. This time, the Ashaninka people decided to fight back againts the terrorists.

Supported by a missionary who was living with them, they started a guerrilla against Sendero Luminoso. That was a surprise to the terrorists, and in the beginning it looked like these Ashaninka could resist.

Unluckily, at that time this terrorist group was heavily armed, and the ashaninka had to run away. Finnally, they got stuck at a place calledl 'Tsibokiroato' (land of ants) at the top of a mountain. From 700 communers at the beginning, they were then only 170.

Supported by the missionary, Mariano Gaugnon, they built an improvised airport and two pilots with their Cessna airplanes got them out between the terrorists' fire.

And, 20 years ago, in the beggining of the 90's, they started a new life in Tangoshiari, far away from terrorists influence.

Now, they have to cope with Repsol (note - Repsol is an international energy company involved in exporation and development of energy resources), as there is gas under their feet. But there's an unfinished story...

I used my Canon EOS 7D with my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS.

This is quite important because ashaninka tend to react when they see your camera by laughing or hiding. The funny thing about it is that minutes later they loved me to show the pics I had taken of them.

Lastly, I am asked to give some tips.

Well, if you arrive to a native community, take it calm. I spent three days there and till half of the second day I wasn't able to take good pictures.

Be sure you spent time chatting with them. And never ever refuse to drink 'masato'!



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Details: This special photo is in the January Inside-Peru Photo Contest.

It is also entered in the 2012 Photo of the Year - Inside-Peru Photo Contest.

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More information on La Convencion Province:

There are thirteen provinces in the Cusco Region in the highlands to the jungles of Southern Peru.

La Convención Province is the largest of the provinces in the Cusco Region:


Location of the Cuzco region in Peru


La Convencion Peru

La Convencion Province in the North of the Cusco (Cuzco) Region of Peru.


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