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Karen Miranda Rivadeneira July 29, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ecuador.

Matilde and I. Vinchoa, El Bolivar, Ecuador 2012

Karen Miranda Rivadeneira (b.1983, United States) graduated from the School of Visual Arts before beginning her journey in photography. She has participated in numerous residencies such as Fondazione Ratti’s in Como, Italy, The Wurlitzer foundation in New Mexico and Pour L’Image in Niort, France and Lightwork in Syracuse, NY. She has worked with the Mam in Guatemala, with the Mandaeans (from south of Iraq and west of Iran) living in Sweden and lately in the Andean Mountains. She is the recipient of multiple awards and fellowships, including a NYFA Fellowship in photography,  EnFoco New Works Award, and two awards by the Queens Council of the Arts. Karen has recently been invited to participate at the third Latin American Photography forum in Sao Paulo, Brazil . Her work is part of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Photography Collection.

About the Photograph:

“Matilde Cunalata is a yachaj or what is commonly known as a Shaman. We met a couple of years ago, and since then, I visit her every year sometimes for months at a time. Through her knowledge of plants and singing, people come to her for physical and also emotional healing. The art of a yachaj is fast decaying in part because not a single relative wants to carry on this tradition. A tradition that has been alive for thousand of years, predating the Incas, relating closely to Mongolian shamanism in a sense. This image was taken the morning after after a ceremony that went throughout the night. We left her house and I saw this beautiful wall of plants, I was leaving the next day back to New York and wanted to have an image of us that will conclude our nightly ordeal. I set up the camera, and we manage to climb through the steep greenery, I asked a passerby to press the shutter and gave him one instruction; to press the shutter when we seemed relaxed and this was it.”


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