Register Saturday | July 13 | 2024


In 1990, Chile regained its democracy and began to undergo a significant economic transformation. This dramatic transition bore different impacts on the various people and places of the South American country. Valle is an ongoing photographic body of work with a focus on the communities that were left behind following this shift.

Photographer Cristian Ordóñez and Eduardo Ordonez-Ponce, an associate professor in business at Alberta’s Athabasca University, began the project after a visit to Chile in 2022. The two visited the Huasco Valley, accompanied by a group of researchers who interviewed locals and conducted surveys. The valley is surprisingly fertile, particularly as it’s nestled by the Atacama Desert—the driest non-polar desert in the world. Sometimes referred to as the Garden of Atacama, the valley region has also been wracked by a variety of environmental, economic and health concerns for more than thirty years.

These selected photographs from Valle were inspired by research and conversations with locals in the valley, but also by the undeniable beauty of the landscape and the ways intervention continue to change it. These photographs are a record, yet one with a subjective perspective. They reveal the continued concerns around regional access to basic services and the lives of those in local communities, and raise questions about what human development of the environment means and represents for this territory.