Alessandro Cinque

Freelance Photojournalist

Visual Identity


I actually live in Lima for more than 4 years already. I moved to Italy to Peru because I wanted to get deeper into my long-term mining project and understand Peruvian culture and society more closely by living it every day. As I traveled through the Andes I visited a lot of homes, I dwelt on the photos that people had hanging in their homes that represented them, they were enlargements of their photo cards. I wondered a lot about how people here perceive their image and I wanted to understand more about it. So in the last few months I started a photographic project on visual identity in the Peruvian Andes. I have been working with a local photographer (Yhon Alex Huachaca López), comparing our two photographic visions, our image culture, and the way people are represented. More and more, I am asking myself if it is right to represent the Andean subjects I photograph with my European culture, and I felt the need to work on this. My father, a small-town photographer in Italy, for 40 years photographed people for their identity cards. As a child, I used to spend whole afternoons in his store, and I remember people would come to be photographed in fancy clothes, some even after going to the hairdresser. Ferdinando Scianna says that the most important photo for a person is the one he has in his wallet. So I went to an Andean photographer who takes passport photos and photographed the same subjects that he photographed, but with my own vision, European and sometimes, maybe, a bit exotic. In the Andes, it's very common that after the photographer has photographed the subjects against a white background, he Photoshops elegant clothes to the people. Reflecting on this at first I thought it was all wrong, even illegal. If we understand photography as a memory, by doing so you are creating false memories, you are, through photography, trying to establish yourself socially and you are creating an illusion of belonging to a different class. I thought about all this, but then I remembered the people who used to come to my father's store, dressed specifically to be photographed. And I thought it was exactly the same thing.

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