Throughout the last few months of 2016, Arts University Bournemouth graduate Chloe Alice Hayes travelled South America and took over the Photograd Instagram every weekend. We caught up with her in a previous blog post where she informed us of her plans and Chloe has since recapped her journey and selected some of her favourite images.
As a person who has never travelled outside Europe before and even then the longest was a 3 week holiday in France bashing down walls and painting rooms, I strangely found it much easier, much less frightening and much more similar to the familiar than I had first expected. I travelled to Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina and almost everyone I have spoken to, both there and back home have said ‘wow you’re brave’. I however, really don’t think I am, I think naïve is more the correct terminology. Coming from a little village I am pretty trustworthy and of the mindset that everyone is a nice person and ‘why would anybody do a thing like that?’ Yes I was a bit scared going to South America; as my first time travelling, as a woman, on my own, thinking I was going to get involved in drug gangs or get kidnapped in La Paz but it really truly isn’t like that and if I can do it, anyone can.
I did so many amazing things it is hard to mention just one. I think the most incredible journey and sense of achievement I experienced was doing the Inca Trail in Peru. Four days of astounding views, awesome people and amazing experiences was something definitely once in a lifetime and unforgettable, I would advise anyone to do it if they can. However the most magnificent, out of this world thing I saw was the Uyuni Salt Flats. We managed to squeeze so many things into three days; geysers, lagoons, the best sunset I have ever seen and of course the salt flats themselves. It was like driving around on another planet in our Jeeps, crossing huge expanses of nothingness. All of the countries are so different you aren't able to compare or say which place is the best. The Glacier in Patagonia, the Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina, the WINE in Mendoza, all ‘The Best’ ‘Most Favourite’ parts of my travels.
With regards to photography I found myself shooting anything and everything, I just wanted to absorb and capture as much as I possibly could before it ended. I have always had a sneaky love for photographing shop fronts and windows, and I definitely took every opportunity I saw in that respect. There were some fascinating shop fronts with great, vibrant paintwork that caught my eye, many in the same street. It is again, really difficult to choose favourite images as there are so many but there are a few I've included with this post that have stood out to me.
This is one of the first images I took actually, it was on the third day of the Inca Trail and we had stopped and a dangerous part where the rock was wet and slippery. As we waited for the people in front to slowly descend down, I realised we were stood where a river/waterfall would flow downwards when the rainy season came. It was like a vertical riverbed, I followed it down to see a mysterious, otherworldly view that I could not resist risking my life for (literally) so I whipped my phone out and snapped before we moved on.
The second was when I was back in Lima. I wanted to feel as if I had seen a bit more of the place than the tourist spots so I spent a lot of time walking around the residential streets, becoming a flaneur, although I was snapping a lot and actually, this is where most of my favourite images come from, this particular composition caught my eye. The bright pink of the paint and the little yellow poker of the flower coming right through the middle really talked to me. I actually walked past it initially, then had to turn back because I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.
The third one I have chosen is from the Isla del Sol, Bolivia. In almost every government office or boarder control there was an image of the president which really cracked me up. The style in which they were all shot was so old-fashioned and it really made me laugh that they were usually printed on really cheap poster paper. As soon as I stepped into the office I had to whip my phone out before the guy moved. The colours and placement of frames on the wall was perfect.