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April 25, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

MARTIN CHAMBI: Photographs, 1920-1950 Foreword by Mario Vargas Llosa, introductions by Edward Ranney and Publio Lopez Mondejar, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden (Smithsonian Institution Press: $39.95; 120 pp., paperback original). Born into a poor Peruvian campesino family in 1891, Martin Chambi became a celebrated photographer. This beautiful book, originally published in conjunction with a major retrospective of Chambi's photographs in Spain in 1990, provides an exquisite introduction to the work of an exceptionally talented artist. Readers will see the tragic, turbulent history of Peru mirrored in his pictures, from the mutely tragic images of Inca ruins to the harshly juxtaposed portraits of impoverished peasants and urban plutocrats. But these lovely photographs, filled with serene, silvery light, can also be enjoyed for their sheer visual beauty.

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