In the spirit of VH1, I am going to start taking time each week to tell the stories behind some of my favorite photos.
This week I want to tell the story behind the photo of the red shirt protester I took in Bangkok in 2010.
From the World Heritage inscription:
Joya de Cerén is remarkable by virtue of the completeness of the evidence that it provides of everyday life in a Mesoamerican farming community of the 6th century AD, which is without parallel in this cultural region. It was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under a volcanic eruption about AD 590. Although a warning earthquake apparently gave residents time to flee, the ash preserved their personal belongings, from garden tools and bean-filled pots to sleeping mats and religious items, essentially freezing the agricultural village in time. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American peoples who worked the land at that time.
I have visited several archeological/paleontological world heritage sites around the world. While most of them are of great scientific import, they usually make for very poor tourist attractions. The reason why the locations are important is because of artifacts long since dug out of the ground and put in museums. You almost never are able to see one of the actual dig sites and the best you can hope for is to visit a museum. I have visted two sites like this previously: the Sangiran Early Man site in Indonesia and the Ban Chiang site in Thailand.
Joya de Ceren is superior to those sites in that you can seen the actually buildings which have been excavated.
While it is often called the Pompeii of the Americas, don’t visit Joya de Ceren expecting to have the same experience you would see at Pompeii. The site is much smaller (although an estimated 90% hasn’t been excavated yet) and the buildings are much less impressive. Also, all the structures are kept under an awning to protect the structures from the elements. This makes for less than stellar photography.
The site can easily be visited as a day trip from San Salvador. It is about an hour drive from the city center.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve visited.
This May 11-24 I’ll be leading a travel photography tour through Italy with G Adventures. We will be traveling from Venice to Rome visiting many of the highlights of Italy along the way: Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Sienna, Vatican City, Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. I’ve previously visited most of the locations on the tour and have had the pleasure to photograph them already. Here is a taste of some of the photos you will be able to come back with if you join me on the tour.
I selected Italy for the 2013 tour because it is a travel photography gold mine. Almost every village and train station has some photogenic quality about it. Not only will you walk away with great image, but I’ll also be working with you one-on-one to help improve your technique.
Sales pitch over. Enjoy the photos!