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Machu Picchu Hardcover – September 14, 2001
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About the Author
Barry Brukoff is a photographer and designer who has published three books: The Enigma of Stonehenge with John Fowles, Morocco with Paul Bowles, and Greece: Land of Light with Nicholas Gage. Pablo Neruda is one of the world's bestselling poets. Isabel Allende is the internationally known best-selling author of the novels Daughter of Fortune and The House of Spirits.
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Machu Picchu, hidden high in the Andes, was never found by Pizarro and his conquistadors. The city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Recently, landslides have made entry much more difficult, and the whole area is at risk to being lost. Should that occur, this wonderful volume will serve as a fitting tribute.
Other than the fact that the rocks themselves were considered sacred, we know little about the purpose of Machu Picchu. Clearly, it was very important to the Incas. Otherwise, no one would have put such an enormous effort into creating a city among the clouds, carved out of solid rock. Because some walls have holes cut in them that allow light into certain interior spaces only on one day a year, it is thought that the area, in part, served an astronomical purpose.
The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, created an emotional poem called "The Heights of Machu Picchu" in which he captured our connection to the thousands who lived and toiled to make Machu Picchu . . . and are no more. In 1984, photographer Barry Brukoff hiked in over the original Inca road, to capture the scene with Neruda's poem in his backpack. The result of this trip are the remarkable, spiritual photographs in this book. You will feel like you have been there, will identify with what you see, and will make closer contact through Neruda's poem:
"True being was threshed like kernels of corn in the inexhaustible/granary of lost deeds, of memorable efforts . . . ."
"In you, like two parallel lines,/the cradle of lightning and humanity/rocking together in a thorny wind."
" . . . [Y]ou imploded as in a single autumn/into a single death."
"Today the empty air no longer weeps . . . ."
"The dead kingdom lives on."
"Stone upon stone, and man, where was he?"
"Give me back the slaves you buried!"
"Come up, brother, and be born with me."
" . . . [A]nd let my tears flow, hours, days, years,/through sightless ages, starry Autumn."
If you can read Spanish, the poem is published in both languages, side by side.
The photographs make great use of the high mountain air, changing weather conditions, and the differing light of day and night. Brukoff has also created some very stylish effects with filters and tints, in addition to breathtaking color. Many photographers are good at duotone or color, but few are masters of both. Brukoff is the rare example of this dual skill. A nice tough is the way that the book is bound in linen, and there is a rough edging to frame each image . . . to give the book an almost scrapbook-like feel. The photographic reproductions are superb and well worth the price of the book.
My favorite images included: Morning Sun and Fog; The Temple of the Moon; The Grand Rock Shrine (two views); Royal Mausoleum beneath the Torreon; Central Plaza through Three Windows Wall (first version); Sacred Plaza; Central Plaza and Fog; Agricultural Terrace; The Inti Huatana; The Condor Stone; View of the Inti Huatana Area -- Sacred Rocks Echoing the Mountains to the East; A Stone Ring; Machu Picchu at Sunset; and The Watchman's Hut at Dawn (cover image).
The book also has a helpful prologue by Ms. Isabel Allende which sets the scene for the book's contents.
The feeling of connection to the Incas, to the mountains, and to the sky are strong here. I felt a calmness fill my mind and heart as I caressed each part of the poem and each image with my eyes.
What great things we can accomplish . . . when we have a mighty purpose and connect to our sense of beauty!
of this beautiful country.
The narrative makes you feel as if you were on the trek with the author.. He has captured the whole experience.
I recommed this book to anyone dreaming or thinking of a trip tp Peru..