Harvest, the ongoing series by photographer Luis Fabini, is a deeply meditative and profoundly humanistic account of the symbiotic relationship between a community, the land, and the crops they produce.
High in the Peruvian Andes, local people retain age-old practices that have been central to their existence for centuries. Undervalued, poorly understood and unbounded by the forces of market logic, the fragile systems they have created nevertheless remain fundamental to the reproduction and preservation of agro-biodiversity.
Uruguayan photographer Fabini, an intrepid soul, has spent much of his career undertaking long-term documentary projects across the Americas and found inspiration for his latest through an unlikely source.
“It is difficult for any photographer to find a subject matter that he can become passionate about, one that will nurture him. Harvest came to me while horseback riding in Ecuador, Guido my guide, a Chagra (local cowboy) told me as we were riding by his small family farm that he was going to pay for the school of his kids with his potato harvest.” – Luis Fabini
Believed to have first been cultivated some 10,000 years ago by the Incas who, in the words of Fabini “were masters of their harsh climate who founded a civilization that still has a lot to teach us”, this humble vegetable once grew wild on the slopes of the Peruvian Andes, and it was here, in the nation of his mother’s birth (and where he had spent time as a child) that Fabini would begin his journey.
Skilled permaculturists, who possessed an excellent understanding of the land, the Incas created complex systems that sustained the largest empire in pre-Columbian America for over a century, but, following the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1526, this knowledge was all but lost.
However, remnants still live on through their ancestors, the Andean communities whose lives are defined by a series of ‘movements’: social, cultural, economic, and symbolic practices, passed down through generations and repeated each agricultural cycle, with great assiduity.
Through total immersion in these communities, Fabini was able to capture this rich, cultural heritage with great clarity. A tapestry of color and texture his forthright and arresting imagery portrays the intrinsic relationship between land and people; reciprocity; reverence, and respect.
In our globalized age where monocultural factory farming further compounds environmental destruction, and where such emphasis is placed on technological progress, Harvest, is a powerful reminder of the value of traditional methods of production and a compelling tribute to the enduring tenacity of the human spirit.
“If we look away even for a moment from the agitation and urgency that fills our days and witness the different temporalities far and near, these new realities enrich our comprehension of the world and ourselves in it. They broaden our conception of the planet we inhabit and allow us to perceive the magnificence underlying our everyday existence as individuals and communities and how we can make a difference.”– Luis Fabini
All images © Luis Fabini