TAPSA 2017 Gallery by Chris Roche

About Chris Roche and the submission

Born in Canada to Irish parents, I grew up in Africa and around Europe. Through my photography I have found a way of combining my two passions – storytelling and exploring different cultures.

My films and photography have won awards internationally and my photographs have been published in magazines, exhibited at Royal Geographical Society in London and at UNESCO in Geneva.

Inspired by the work of Don McCullin and Sebastio Salgado, I seek through my photography to shed light on aspects of the human condition that move me and that I think are fundamental to our understanding of each other and the world we find ourselves in.

I am currently working on a long-term project, Devotion, which explores different faith traditions around the world. I have published two books on the theme – The Priest and Pilgrims of Ethiopia and Banaras, Holy City.

The photograph that I submitted to Tim Allen for his scholarship and workshop was taken in the Peruvian Andes during a festival known as Collyur Riti.  Having seen his own wonderful photographs of the festival I was inspired to follow in his footsteps there.  This particular image was taken at an altitude of 5600m at dawn. Bands of pilgrims known as Ukukus head up to the holy glaciers to perform initiation rights during the night.

The chief of this group decided to give me a great speech on how this was a holy mountain and that I should not be up there.  I gave what I thought was a great speech back on how I had come from a small island called Ireland to witness their great tradition and I meant no disrespect.  He nodded in what I thought was kinship and understanding – but was in fact an order for me to be whipped. I was not sure if it was part of the initiation or punishment but it was a memory to take home with me – and he did let me take some photographs!

Chris Roche