“We photographers are changing the World. Be sure that whenever you grab a camera something interesting will happen”. That’s what I heard Russian photographer Aleksandr Belenkiy say at the end of a workshop. He couldn’t be more right.

It all started when I decided to do a story about Ecuadorian shamans but had no contacts whatsoever. So I followed Belenkiy’s advice. I grabbed my camera and travelled to Iluman without knowing what would happen. In this small town, next to the famous city of Otavalo, in the northern highlands of Ecuador, lives a population of about 7000. Around 300 of them belong to the local “Association of Yachacs” (Yachacs means healers in the indigenous language, Kichwa).

I arrived in Iluman and began to walk around, trying to find some Yachac that would let me photograph him. I was a bit lost and confused until Diego introduced himself and asked if I needed any help. That’s how he became my guide in this town and showed me where the most famous Yachacs lived.

The rest is history. I knocked on many doors but nobody would let me in. Some Yachacs told me that it was not possible because my presence would disturb their sacred rituals. Others just wanted my money. Finally I found Luz Maria Otavalo, a 60 year old indigenous Yachac, who agreed to let me photograph her. So I visited her during 8 months and this is what came out:

This is my first solo multimedia project, so please feel free to comment, critic and share. You can follow us on our Runa FB page: https://www.facebook.com/RunaPhotos.

Till next time.

Misha Vallejo