Thomas Spencer Ladd – Ecuador

May 25, 2011

I found Thomas Spencer Ladd’s photographs via Conscientious. I usually don’t link to stuff I find via other blogs but I decided to break that rule for this post because I really like Ladd’s photographs.

Los Paramos, No. 42. El Angel, Ecuador. 11,864ft.

The series Los Páramos documents the cold Andean highlands of Ecuador, places above 3500m in elevation. On his website, each of the photos lists the location, date, time, temperature, humidity and altitude. I like this precision of information, especially the altitude. In tropical regions altitude, not season is the main determinant of climate and vegetation. In a few hours you can go from summer to winter. It seems natural to include this information as part of the context of the photo.

Los Paramos, No. 180. Reserva Ecologica Cotacachi Ca Xup. 12,864ft.

Los Paramos, No. 47. Cotapaxi, Ecuador. 12,724ft.

I emailed Ladd and he explained that this series is just the beginning of a long term project intending to document the fragile ecology of the páramos from Venezuela to Peru.

Descending a little lower in elevation is another series, Cloud Forest Gardens, which shows small, sustainable farming communities.

Cloud Forest Gardens, No. 37. Flores Family Garden, Pucará, Ecuador. 6,470ft.

Cloud Forest Gardens, No. 195. Ventancourt family garden, Pucará, Ecuador. 6,608ft.

Cloud Forest Gardens, No. 57. Ramos and Rosero family garden, Peribula, Ecuador. 8,125ft.

Ladd sent me a statement from an exihibit of this work in which he explains his interested in small farming communities.

My questions about land usage and gardening practices lead to poverty farming within the Andean Communities of South America. I became particularly aware of the importance of mountain agriculture in areas of the world with great biodiversity such as the Intag region in Imbabura Ecuador.

While in Ecuador, I was helped by a very knowledgeable and generous gringo living and working with small communties near his home in Cotacachi. These photographs are the result of my travels with Peter Shear, who took me to remote places where families practice sustainable agriculture within regions of great biodiversity.

Peter Shear runs an organization called The Inter-American Center for the Arts, Sustainabilty, and Action.

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