"A member of the wrong tribe in Silvia" Silvia by richiecdisc

Silvia Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 54 photos

Silvia is an unremarkable mountain town a mere fifty kilometers northeast of Popayán. This distance is a mere geographical one as it is worlds away with regard to what you will find as a person exploring. Though in a picturesque setting, there is little that would draw visitors here if not for a weekly descending of the Guambiano people who largely inhabit the surrounding region. This indigenous group is noted as the most traditional of all Colombian “tribes” and their traditions express themselves most obviously in their colorful clothing and style. But there is more to the Guambianos than meets the eye even if few will learn anything about them or perhaps even care to. For it appears the reason for a trip here is mostly to take photos, not so much of the town, but of the people whose appearance garners attention for Silvia in the first place.

Is it inevitable? Perhaps

My feelings were a bit mixed about Silvia and my guess is I am not alone. It's an odd feeling being there so obviously to do something the people there do not want. I read a few accounts of people being asked to pay for the privilege of taking photos. That's not a good thing and spells bad things for Guambiano tradition, the reason you come here in the first place. Other accounts of people that explored further afield in the Guambiano region express feelings they were objects of ridicule. I guess it is to be expected considering how our “tribe” also descends on this small town like hunters on a safari ready to bag their prize. Interactions between the two tribes can only mean a watering down of Guambiano culture. Is it a good thing? Probably not. Is it inevitable? Perhaps

  • Last visit to Silvia: Feb 2010
  • Intro Written Jan 7, 2011
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Reviews (10)

Comments (6)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 14, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    I too always feel uncomfortable about paying for photos of people but I confess I do it anyway. My urge to get a good shot is greater than any scruples. I tell myself they need the money & I "need" the photo, but I don't know that either statement is true

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Sounds like you were taking photos like some people eat chocolate, eating more and more even though they thought they had sworn off the stuff. Maybe some development organization should provide the Guambianos with cameras so they could shoot back.

  • DoreenDe's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    I am glad we went but it was a rather strange experience...good thing my camera has such an awful zoom so I was not too tempted ;)

  • Jan 9, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    ive never been confident at photographing people - even in peru i had troubles with it and hardly took any at all. these people seem very interesting and unique. nice work richie.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Gorgeous photos and such a marvellous market!! These delicious looking onlions alone!!! Haha, good that you never tried to take a photo of me, you'd be shocked! I also want money for it nowadays, simply because I don't like it :-)

  • Gili_S's Profile Photo
    Jan 7, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    This is very nice and unusual place. I like the people photos and I like their fashion cloths.


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