I like to think of myself as a photographer, by which I mean that I often go out with my digital camera, point, shoot and hope for the best. Then I come across the work of a real master of the art and realise what a ham-fisted amateur I really am.
On the left is a perfect image of a wedding party taken by Martin Chambi in Peru almost a century ago. You’ll need to enlarge, but for me, the composition and lighting is perfect.
The tiny smile of the bride, the seriousness of the groom, the texture of the clothes, the bridesmaids perfectly positioned to the right and the faces of the women in shadow behind.
Chambi was one of the first photographers based in Latin America to make his name. Born to a peasant family in one of the poorest regions of Peru, he learned his skill from the photographer of the Santo Domingo Mine near Coaza.
I came across the photo in this week’s Sunday Times magazine and it makes me realise just how easy we have it with the ‘endless film’ of our digital cameras compared with the pioneers who worked with plates.