Discovering the Normal in San Camilo Market

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

Elliott Erwitt

Peru is undoubtedly a country for the tourist. But what happens when you want to get off the tourist trail? When you crave an interaction that goes beyond the merely service based? Even in Arequipa, a city where tourists appear to outnumber residents, it is still possible to experience a little 'normal' life.

The challenge for us was to to make normality as beautiful and interesting as the ruins and landscapes we had captured in Peru thus far.

Within the White City, the normality we so desperately needed we found was in San Camilo, one of the most photogenic markets we have experienced in Latin America.

Women in full make-up expertly hacked away at entrails of animals so recently slaughtered the blood must surely still be warm, whilst others expertly sliced up a pig carcass with be-ringed fingers and painted nails.

Chicken feet and sheep heads sat atop counter tops splashed with red. Peru, it appears, is not a country to discard much of a butchered carcass.  

An endless background sound was created by identi-kit smoothie maker ladies chopping and blending fruits for thirsty traders on a lunch break.

The afternoon we spent with our cameras here was a timely reminder that, when travelling, one should not always focus on the the well-known sites or the dry and dull suggestions of a guidebook. 

In every city around the world, you will find museums and attractions which, often, disappoint. Sometimes, simply making time to enjoy the mundane and the routine can provide far more entertainment, and a much deeper cultural understanding of place, then anything else.


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Discovering the normal in San Camilo Market - Arequipa, Peru


Want to know what else we recommend in Arequipa? Check out the post below!