Documenting the Water Crisis in Peru

There‘s been a place missing in my workflow for awhile. A space to pair photos + words, to weave narrative images together in longform. My interests and perspective on photography have shifted significantly and then again. This will be an outlet to document and inspire those evolutions. I‘ll start with some work that is meaningful to me.

Water.org is working to provide clean water access and sanitation across the world. I‘ve been fortunate to photograph their efforts for a number of years, finishing each project more inspired and passionate about this cause than before. Solving the water crisis is important in the abstract, as a general idea. It‘s important and seemingly plausible. It becomes critical and necessary, though, when you meet the families this crisis impacts and momentarily place yourself in the daily struggle of life without water, carrying the solemn comfort that you are just a visitor.

Our most recent project ended a few weeks ago. We traveled to Lima and worked in that city, Huancayo, Piura and Sullana.

 

It works like this: Water parters with local lenders who lend money designated for water and sanitation improvements to those in need. This loan of one-to-several hundred dollars is almost always lent to a woman, who holds primary responsibility for water supply. When the improvement is made, there is less time spent collecting water. Free from that burden, the woman is able to gain and retain employment. Income generated goes toward loan payments, providing for the family, and independence. 

 
 

It's inspiring to photograph the results. Quietly photographing as monitoring interviews are conducted, I see pride on her face and hear excitement in her voice.

 
 
The way home from school.

The way home from school.

Ana wants to be an artist. I asked her favorite drawing and this is what she shared. I wonder why she chose to depict someone in a wheelchair. A friend maybe.

Ana wants to be an artist. I asked her favorite drawing and this is what she shared. I wonder why she chose to depict someone in a wheelchair. A friend maybe.

Homework in the kitchen. 

Homework in the kitchen. 

Nancy reviewing her loan statements at the counter of her store.

Nancy reviewing her loan statements at the counter of her store.

Mother and daughter. 

Mother and daughter. 

At the market. The salt used to cure these fish caught my eye. The big flakes looked like snow. The seafood in Peru is top rate.

At the market. The salt used to cure these fish caught my eye. The big flakes looked like snow. The seafood in Peru is top rate.

He didn't like me. 

He didn't like me. 

Marta posing with a portrait of her parents. She makes and sells clothing from her home, a business her parents started.

Marta posing with a portrait of her parents. She makes and sells clothing from her home, a business her parents started.

After ten days we left Peru, exhausted and satisfied. This work is intense, but very rewarding. I always hope my images can make a difference, in whatever small way, for this cause.

More of my photographs documenting the work of Water.org:

India

Indonesia

Kenya