A native of Lima, Javier Silva-Meinel is one of Peru’s leading contemporary photographers. Since the 1970s, his work has concentrated on the indigenous populations of Peru’s Sierra and Amazon regions. The religious and mystical aspects of their lives, as well as the sacredness of their practices and the role that indigenous culture plays in Peru fascinate him. Silva-Meinel shoots exclusively in black and white. His pictures are richly cultural and luminous. In them lies a juxtaposition of time, as he often places his indigenous subjects ironically against a contemporary backdrop in his studio. This technique raises many questions concerning the relations of these two very different worlds, aboriginal and modern.
He was one of the founding members of Secuencia Fotogaleria and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990 for his work about Andean ritual practices featured in El Libro de los Encantados (1993). He published the book, Acho, altar de arena (1993), about the bullfighting backstage of Lima followed by a third book which includes the images from the Qollor-Ritti pilgrimage in the Cuzco highlands. His work has been exhibited across Peru and Latin America, as well as in the United States and Europe.