The Road to Potosí: Bolivian High Desert
Printed by Picto
Gwen Norton travelled through Bolivia to photograph its magnificent and most remote landscapes. His series of images is currently on view at Rogue Space, in New York, in an exhibition printed by Picto.
I dreamed of seeing Bolivia.
It is one of the highest and most remote nations in South America. Despite being one of the world’s poorest countries, Bolivia is rich in cultural diversity and natural resources. Drawn by its isolation and the difficulty of travel, I wanted to go and try to capture its essence
In 2019, I set off on my trip.
The road to Potosi is long and winding. It was a last brief stop on the way to the high desert, the Altiplano. Months of envisioning and planning were finally coming to fruition. 700 miles over two weeks by land and air. Were the exhaustion, insomnia, nose bleeds, and racing heart a result of the altitude or were they due to anxiety? I would have to trust that the weather and the light would be in my favor.
The Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve is in the Andes Mountains, located in a far corner of the country that is no easy feat to reach. My companions and I found iridescent colored lagoons, sulfur lakes, desolate expanses of desert, and rugged multicolored horizons. The Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, was blinding in its harsh white beauty. The landscape was stark and otherworldly, barren yet mesmerizing.
Our journey was demanding and arduous, the weather windy and cold. Our driver navigated by volcanic sites, while telling us mystical tales.
These photographs evoke the spirit of Bolivia and my time there.
So much discomfort. So much joy.