Martin Chambi
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Martin Chambi Family Archives:


To preserve and make available the images of Martin Chambi, allowing public access for further understanding of his oeuvre. Create opportunities to enhance educational and preservation interests of artistic photographers in their Andean culture and history.


1) To electronically archive the negatives and restore existing vintage prints to exhibit in Museums and loan for traveling exhibitions.

2) To purchase the building which held the original studio of Martin Chambi in central Cuzco and create a museum/gallery for photography and permanent archive collection on the 1st floor; school for photography and cataloguing on the 2 nd floor; and 3rd floor for research and residencies, where the original sky-light was installed by Martin Chambi.


Teo Allain Chambi, grandson

Chambi family

Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle

Marita Holdaway, owner Benham Gallery, Seattle

Adam L. Weintraub, photographer

Laurel Schultz, negative and cataloguing

Steve White, technical consultant, imaging Microsoft

Claire Garoutte, Head of Faculty, PCNW

Walter Bodle, founder Youth In Focus

Andrés Garay Albujar, Universidad de Piura - Perú

Minister of Exterior Relations of Perú

Edward Ranney, Fine-art photographer

Nelida Mendoza, Founder & Director, Centro Cultural Hispano Americano


A Short History and Journey of Support and Education Nov-Dec 2005:

Recognizing the value of his work, Martín Chambi , the Indiginista artist and high-society portrait photographer of Cuzco bequeathed his photographic legacy to his family in order that his legacy not be lost. The Archivo Fotografico Martín Chambi (Martín Chambi Photographic Archives, or AFMCH) belongs to Martin's six direct descendents. Understanding both the frailty and significance of their holdings, they have been investigating opportunities for preserving and providing broader access to their grandfather's archives. The archives consist of negatives, original prints and ephemera, including photographic equipment, notes and publications, all of which have been held in trust by the family.

In 1977 , work on preserving and cataloging Chambi's work was initiated by United States photographer and anthropologist Edward Ranney . With the support of the Earthwatch Foundation he investigated the content and condition of the work. This project, which culminated in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, lead to an international appreciation of the artistic, cultural and historical significance of Chambi's oeuvre.

Since the time of the exhibition, the Chambi family has been keenly aware of the need (and considerable expense) to preserve and archive the collection and house it appropriately. With that in mind, the current goal of the AFMCH is to create an institute located in the original studio of Martín Chambi on Calle Marquez, in the historical center of Cusco. The Instituto Martín Chambi would house the Martín Chambi collection, serve as a center for research into the work of Martín Chambi, and act as a center for the education on photographic preservation in the region.

In March of 2005 a group of people from Seattle, led by Adam L. Weintraub, met with Teo Allain Chambi, the president of the AFMCH, and discussed the way they might support the efforts of the family to preserve the work of Martín Chambi. It was immediately clear that there was substantial need for funding and expertise. AFMCH had several interested organizations in the USA who had expressed a desire to work with the archives. Other organizations were later identified as potential advisors or partners. This Seattle based group created "Friends of Chambi” (FoC) in September, 2005 to help AFMCH catalog and preserve the archive and establish the Instituto Martín Chambi.

As a first step toward fund raising for the project FoC and AFMCH set about creating a non-profit entity in Peru that could administer funding to preserve, archive and house the holdings, and thereby provide research and public access to the archives. This process has begun in Peru and the by-laws for the corporation are being finalized by the AFMCH without direct familial interests. Legal council has also been retained in Seattle to advise about USA counterparts for direct donations and contributions.

As a first step toward identifying potential partners in the USA, FoC funded a visit by two representatives of AFMCH to the USA. In November 2005 , meetings were set up with several organizations and businesses which had been identified as interested parties and potential partnerships. The trip began in Seattle, WA were Teo Allain Chambi met with master printer Claire Garoutte, Head of Faculty at the Photographic Center Northwest to work on the first print in the limited edition portfolio consisting of 5 images, 11 x 14 inch, two-toned, bleach bath, fiber-based prints. There were also three fund/awareness raising dinners and a meeting with an attorney to help form the nonprofit component in the USA (if necessary) and the legal structure of the Peruvian entities. Several curatorial and exhibition related meetings were also held to determine local interest in the project and presentation.

In Los Angeles, there was a meeting with three members of the Getty Research Institute: Barbara Anderson, Department Head of Exhibitions, Claire Lyons, Collections Curator, and Teresa Mesquit, Conservation. The group spent over three hours with the Institute talking about common interests with the archives and reviewing the Getty's preservation systems. The meeting ended with the offer of informational support from Getty, and an expression of interest in new topographical images from the archives.  

In Rochester, NY the group spent three days at the George Eastman House (GEH) . After meetings with students and curatorial, archival and preservation faculty, and two discussions with director Anthony Bannon, AFMCH determined to further explore the possibilities of a stronger relationship with GEH. AFMCH then invited three members of GEH, Grant Romer, Alison Nordstrom, and David Wooters to visit Cusco and review the archive's condition, curatorial opportunities and cataloging challenges. GEH will then formulate a proposal beneficial to both organizations on the condition and holdings of the archives and suggest any potential future collaborations regarding educational, research or exhibition ideas.

In NYC, the group met with the Brian Wallis and Joanna Lehan of International Center for Photography (ICP) who expressed interest in collaborating with the GEH and/or to exhibiting vintage Martín Chambi's images at some point in the future. Other meetings with Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography for MoMA and gallery owner Howard Greenberg expressed support for the project. The directors of the Throckmorten Gallery , and Kim Schmidt of the Marlborough Gallery expressed to AFMCH the desire to see Chambi prints in their respective organizations. FoC was excited with the commercial and educational opportunities that arose during this trip. 

We held one final meeting in NYC with Antonio Muñoz Molina, organized with the help of Anthony Geist of the University of Washington , at Instituto Cervantes , a non-profit organization with a goal to make available the cultural contributions of the Spanish language worldwide. Translation, contacts and exhibition opportunities would be the focus of their support, which would make AFMCH accessible worldwide. The openness and directness of their interest was encouraging and will serve as a basis for a long-term collaboration in order serving more markets.

In conclusion, this trip to the USA reconfirmed the interest in Chambi's photography. By partnering with the appropriate organizations, the center may be able to serve as a nexus of preservation and access in South and Central America by serving both as a model and as a center of education on photographic preservation and access. We believe that such an approach can make the Instituto Martín Chambi not only viable but necessary to our cultural heritage worldwide for decades to come. With the right vision, Martín's work has inspired not just FoC but already countless educators, curators and art-lovers across the United States, which is just the beginning. We are excited to bring this vision to the next level and create a secure, self-sustaining institution with strong partners throughout the world.






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