Travel enthusiast and professional photographer Tom Robinson embarked on a six-month trip through Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru in 2012. During his journey, he captured an eclectic blend of South America’s cultural diversity, striking landscapes, and varied lifestyles in photographs that spark imagination. We recently caught up with Tom to learn more about the untold stories and details behind some of his travel photos.
Tom spotted this man listening to his personal radio in Copacabana, a small town in Bolivia on the shores of Lake Titicaca. “This was a very impromptu shot,” explains Tom. “There’s a hill in Copacabana with a few religious statues on top and this man was taking in the sunset view. I often look back at portraits like this one and wish that I could go back and find out more about the subject.”
This photo was taken in the southern region of Bolivia’s Altiplano – the high plateau between the eastern and western chains of the Andes. Tom says: “I stayed with this boy’s family. The next morning he urged me to come outside and I followed him to the back of the house where I first saw the dead condor. I have no idea how it died…hopefully of natural causes, but the extreme cold kept the bird in very good condition.”
The Bolivian mining town of Potosi was another stop on Tom’s tour through South America. Potosi Mountain – referred to by locals as Cerro Rico, or “Rich Mountain”- is honeycombed with thousands of mines and appears in the backdrop of Tom’s photograph. The Spanish began extracting silver from Potosi in the 1500s and today mining continues to fuel the local economy. To further exemplify the town’s rich mining culture, Tom explains: “Dynamite is for sale in all of the town’s small shops!”
“I can never resist climbing a hill to get a better view,” says Tom. While traveling through the town of Tilcara in northern Argentina, Tom stumbled upon this cross and yet another breathtaking view in South America.
Tom took this photo in Chupaca, Peru at a local market that sold live-stock and textiles. Tom explains: “I came across these women making traditional Peruvian hats. The hats on the stall framed the women very nicely, so I asked to take their photo.” He adds: “I’m pretty sure my girlfriend bought the light blue hat.”
Recalling his travels, Tom says: “South America is so unlike my home in England. It sounds like a bit of a cliché statement, but what I saw and experienced along the way will live with me forever.”
Check out more photographs of South America here.
Britt is a California native who left her home to explore South America in 2013 and now lives in Peru. She’s just a little obsessed about planning getaways with her family, scuba diving, and trekking.