S E C T I O N
ick in bed with a fever, 5-year-old Guillermo Rivas flipped through an old family photo album to pass the time. Entranced by the portraits of his family members, he began a lifelong passion for photography. Mr. Rivas was born in 1948 and raised in Peru, a country where he spent his life as a network television executive, political activist, economist, professor and artist, including as a professional photographer. His photographs have been exhibited in venues from Chicago and Sydney to Beijing. About 18 months ago, he moved to Menlo Park with his wife Zoila to live closer to his daughter Andrea, a medi-
cal student at Stanford, her husband Andrew, an American mathematician, and their newly born grandchildren. A volunteer at the Cantor Arts Center and Bing Concert Hall, Mr. Rivas looks to open a professional photography practice here. On Saturday, July 13, he will talk about his life’s work and show his photographs of his native Peru in a presentation in the Menlo Park council chambers. His photographs will be on display at the Menlo Park Library during July. A professional photographer for about 30 years, he says he has a new theory on how to teach photography.
Photographer sheds light on his native Peru in a Menlo Park talk and exhibit By Tara Golshan |
Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac
Seeing what others don’t
These Uro children were photographed by Guillermo Rivas on one of their native islands in Lake Titicaca in the Puno region of Peru.
Special to the Almanac
“Most of the photography courses in the world are more on technique ...,” he says. “I teach my students how to see first, and then how to manage the camera.” The trick, he says, is to see what nobody else sees. “When I was very young, when I was 7 years old, I started to cry the whole night because I saw a very poor old man in the streets,” he says, describing his poverty-stricken homeland. Today, he says, for many, poverty is hidden, seen through the influence of the political establishment and selfinterest and accepted as “part of the landscape.”
“People who don’t see the things around them ... forget that 30,000 children die every day in poverty — we avoid that in our world,” he says. “One of the little works of a photographer is showing that.” According to Mr. Rivas, a great photograph defies three realities: the fact that a photograph is a single moment, two-dimensional and static. A “great” photograph, he says, has history, gives the illusion that it is a “window into another world,” and introduces movement. See RIVAS, page 23
June 26, 2013 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 21
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A R T S C E N E
Crossing Lake Titicaca in the Andean Highlands, Guillermo Rivas captured the Peruvian flag in this landscape photograph in Puno, Peru.
Through his experiences, he says, he learned that a “photo can change the world,” shed “Good photography is a photo light on struggles and bring that surprises you,” he says. For hope to the masses. Mr. Rivas, part of this surprise “I am trying to get some hope involves bringing light to the in my country and not be so wealth-disparities and political negative,” he says. “I have found corruption in his home country in my photography that you can and around the world. see hope in the faces of the poor“The eye of the photogra- est.” pher is to look for the places To date, he has more than and the situations 100,000 photothat most people graphs, and he are hiding from wishes to share ‘The eye of the because it is too them — as he far, too poor, too has done with photographer exotic,” he says. his most recent is to look for the book, “Mi Patria “That is the type of photography I A Colores” (My places and the like most.” Country in ColTwent y-eig ht ors), a large-forsituations that years ago, he took mat volume with on this same task, bilingual text. most people but as the genThe book are hiding from eral manager of demonstrates a Peruvian stateonly how because it is too not run network telemuch he loves vision station, far, too poor, too his country, but Television Nacioalso how much exotic.’ nal del Peru. He pain he feels says he decided to about it, he says. GUILLERMO RIVAS broadcast propaSuch work, he ganda-free news adds, highlights and promote trathe contradicditional Peruvian culture. His tions in life. actions, however, were met by Photography for him, he says, opposition. is like driftwood that you grasp “They shot my car and put a for salvation — “... it is my way bomb in my building,” he says, to live, it is my passion.” describing the moment he decided to change careers and live off of his hobby: photography. About the cover He transitioned quickly, he This photograph by Guillermo Rivas was says, to becoming one of Peru’s taken at the Festival de la Candelaria, most successful advertising pho- one of Peru’s biggest cultural, musical tographers. Then, after a battle and dance events. Mr. Rivas used the with cancer, he decided to pur- motion of the dancing women to create the effect of a Renoiresque painting sue photography as an art. continued from page 21
Above: Guillermo Rivas photographed the sunset in Huaraz, Peru. Right: At the Festival of Candelaria in Lima, Peru, Mr. Rivas captured a troupe of sicuris dancing and playing their zampona flutes.
TOWN OF ATHERTON Notice of City Council Vacancy Notice is hereby given of a vacancy on the Atherton City Council. The Atherton City Council will hold a special meeting to interview interested applicants for the vacancy on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. at Atherton City Council Chambers, 91 Ashﬁeld Road. Interested parties may submit an application and a resume to the the City Clerk’s Ofﬁce by Monday, July 8, 2013. Applicants must be Atherton residents and registered voters of the Town of Atherton.