Sunday, 26 November 2017

Delphine Blast | Cholitas Project

Photo © Delphine Blast | All Rights Reserved

And for a total change away from Asia, I'm featuring photography out of South America,; a continent I've visited a number of times but neglected on this blog.

A French photographer, Delphine Blast was on a two month journey in Bolivia, and met dozens of cholitas; Aymara and Quechua women in layered skirts and shawls, with the distinctive bowler hats atop their heads, and learned of the social and racial discrimination they had faced for as long as anyone could remember.

She decided then to produce a series of portraits in a gallery titled The Cholitas Project to feature these women's identity affirmations and to reflect the social changes in the country following the 2005 election of Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous president.

A possibly apocryphal tale about the bowler hats worn by these indigenous women is that in the late 1800s, two brothers in Manchester were manufacturing a line of bowler hats, and planned to sell them to the British railway workers who were working in Bolivia at the time. The hats turned out to be too small, so the rumor was started that fashionable European women all dressed in these hats...and the trend in Bolivia was set.

Delphine Blast is a French documentary and portrait photographer, based between Paris and South America. Her work draws primarily on an emotional response and engagement with her subjects. She focuses on the personal and private aspects of people's lives and is motivated by a strong desire to get under the skin and straight to the heart of the issues they strive to deal with. 

She works regularly for the press, NGOs and various institutions in France and abroad, while she working on personal projects. Her work has been exhibited in France, Bolivia and more recently in Georgia where her two projects about the women issue in Colombia were exhibited at the Kolga Festival, in Tbilisi.