Chambi’s self-portrait features the artist in profile, cast in shadow but with his face illuminated. He holds a glass plate negative (perhaps an earlier self-portrait) above a photo-developing tray. From an Indigenous Quechua-speaking family of laborers in the southern Peruvian Altiplano, Chambi apprenticed in Arequipa before opening a successful photography studio of his own in Cusco. His widely distributed photographs include formal studio portraits and documentation of the city’s architectural and archaeological sites, festivals, workers, and instances of social unrest. Here, he represents himself alongside the tools of his trade, affirming his artistic agency.
Gallery label from 2022