Steps carved from huge rocks, boulders used for the sides of buildings, windows precisely aligned to capture the first rays of the solstice sun, and other amazing features of Peru's Machu Picchu are captured in this collection of Torrey's detailed photographs. An architectural photographer, Torrey finds that the ancient Incan city "framed the implicit harmony between nature and humans...forming an underlying skeleton that signifies our interconnectedness. " Approximately 120 pages of photographs from the "Ancient Peak," sometimes called the Lost City of the Incas, will captivate armchair adventurers and spur travelers' imagination. What is known of the city's history is related in the introduction: built in the 15th century, abandoned not long after, "lost" for several centuries, and then rediscovered (and plundered) in the 19th century. To capture the city drenched in sunlight and etched in fog, Torrey visited Machu Picchu at the summer and winter solstices. Dazzling views of stone terraces against the green mountainsides reveal the intricate, mortarless construction of each, built from thousands of stones carried and set by hand. Photo captions are spare and far between, but Torrey concludes with a useful long shot labeling the site's points of interest.
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Accomplished architectural photographer Torrey assembles over 100 color photographs of the stone terraces of Machu Picchu, all carefully executed in reasonably good light over the course of a few days during two trips to the site, one during the summer solstice and a subsequent visit during the winter solstice. Torrey manages to capture a sense of solitude in a fairly cohesive photo-essay with images ranging from majestic views to haunting stone formations-no small feat given the number of people who swarm to this popular tourist spot. Marie Arana (Lima Nights) provides a worthwhile introduction to Machu Picchu in both English and Spanish. In reading the text and looking through the photographs, however, one longs for greater substance, perhaps a little more insight into the lives of those who once peopled this sacred place. It would have been helpful, at a bare minimum, for each of the photographs to be captioned. Still, this can be recommended as a solid introduction to Machu Picchu.