Magic Eyes: Scenes from an Andean Girlhood

Magic Eyes: Scenes from an Andean Girlhood

by Wendy Ewald
     
 

Nonfiction. Latino/Latina Studies. Photography. MAGIC EYES is a collaboration that grew out of Wendy Ewald's experiences in the village of Raquira in the Colombian Andes between 1982 and 1984. The book combines photographs taken by Ewald and her students with stories told by two local women, Maria Vasquez and her daughter, Alicia. Together, Ewald's students and

Overview


Nonfiction. Latino/Latina Studies. Photography. MAGIC EYES is a collaboration that grew out of Wendy Ewald's experiences in the village of Raquira in the Colombian Andes between 1982 and 1984. The book combines photographs taken by Ewald and her students with stories told by two local women, Maria Vasquez and her daughter, Alicia. Together, Ewald's students and the Vasquezes present the images and experiences of what Barbara Majuica has called "the rich Andean folk culture, in which magic and nature are inseparable components of equal value." The magic eyes belong to Alicia, who recounts her story of the evil eye, which she associates with the camera lens. Alicia and her mother powerfully convey the difficult life in the squatter settlements outside of Bogata. Great poverty and violence are seen through eyes taught from early in life to notice the magical; the results are deeply poetical. The New York Times has called MAGIC EYES "moving, intimate, and unsparing."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1982 Ewald, an American, settled in Colombia to teach photography and take photographs, and met Alicia Vasquez, a woman whose history seemed particularly dramatic. This book is a compilation of life stories told by Alicia and her mother, Maria, and complemented--not illustrated--by black-and-white photographs taken by Ewald and her students. This hybrid provides an unusual but frequently absorbing narrative that shifts between country and city, mythic history and modernity. Alicia's lot has been a hard one, and she tells her stories directly and colloquially. Her father was sent to prison for murder and her parents' marriage ceremony was discovered to have been conducted by an impostor priest. In Bogota, the poor squatted on undeveloped land: ``We learned a lot about justice and injustice. We had proof that to get a piece of land you had to fight for it.'' Alicia maintains that she has encountered the evil eye; she was raped and her husband abused her, but she survived to see hope in her more politically aware children. Ewald has a good eye for details that reveal the dignity of ordinary life, such as the hands of a woman holding a crucifix, and she captures the irony of shantytowns in the shadows of skyscrapers. However, this book is hampered by some of the students' mediocre photographs and an often paragraph-less layout that makes the pages difficult to read. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780941920216
Publisher:
Bay Press
Publication date:
08/01/1992
Pages:
180
Product dimensions:
7.78(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.80(d)

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