Peru: Behind The Scenes of a World Nomads Scholarship

In 2015 Photography scholarship winner Ingo Bjargmundsson and a World Nomads film crew went to Peru. This is some of what happened.

The crew shooting for World Nomads Photo © World Nomads

In 2015 World Nomads sent the photography scholarship winner, Ingo Bjargmundsson off to Peru to be mentored by Nat Geo photographer Jason Edwards. Along for the ride went a film crew to shoot some documentaries for us. Andre Borlouchi, who'd also been to India with us, was the central character and the crew from Where Next was Gregg Bleakney and Julian Manrique, and me - keeper of brand voice, runner and "get on the fricken bus or we'll be late" ringmaster.

First stop, Cusco.

This is actually the last day of our 2 week assignment, our last moments together before we boarded planes to go to the four corners of the earth. Ingo and Andre, brothers in arms.

Our first day was a mini bus journey down into the Sacred Valley, through Pisac, a visit to the salt ponds at Maras and to get a taste of traditional life.

Peru's Sacred valley - high in the Andes mountians and on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Ingo getting his first lesson from mentor Jason as Julian gets his own shots.

Ingo is an amateur photographer and here he is on the first day of the scholarship being mentored by a Nat Geo master while someone pokes a video camera in his face - no pressure.

We visited the Laraypas Indígenas de Amaru Association community to learn about the traditional way of life. Rather than leave their community to find work in the city they have teamed with ExploreAndes, a sustainable tourism operator, to build a visitor centre that brings an income but maintains the integrity of their way of life.

Julian Manrique shooting film.
Andre taking notes and preparing for the next filming sequence. Yes the traditional costumes, made from Llama wool, are very cosy.
Despite the film camera in the face, and Jason's impersonation of a garden gnome, the pachamamma ceremony was very spiritual.
Andre sharing his images with the Amaru women.

After an overnight stay at a very luxurious hotel in the valley (thankyou Aranwa Hotels - yea life on the road is tough) we made the climb to the fabulous Machu Picchu. Don't expect solitude, but apart from that the experience is everything you expect it to be.

After the luxury of our overnight stay, this turned out to be a 20-hour working day. Up at 4am and we weren't back in Cusco till after midnight. So it's important to get some rest when you can - although being photographed snoozing became a game.

Gregg catching a few zzzz's while Wilferdo plays traditional folk tunes on his flute (he's a super-talented man!).
Taking a break after climbing that peak you see in the background, and getting soaked with rain.
Many thanks to our guide Wilfredo who made this an amazing experience.
Was it the altitude, was it the Cusqueno beers? The oxygen in the hotel was dang good either way.

After 10 days in around Cusco we flew over the Andes to Puerto Maldonaldo in the Amazon basin. Our new hosts Rainforest Expeditions built an itinerary where we could encounter the Amazon's teeming wildlife.

Looking for wild giant otters while floating on a pontoon on Lake Tres Chimbadas
Pirhanna - catch and release.
Interviewing rubber farmers in the Amazon.

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