San Antonio and the black ants

Added on by Jaime Permuth.

Yesterday we drove out to the marketplace in San Antonio Aguas Calientes to soak up the small town vibe and get some last minute gifts. Also because Olin is fascinated by the bright colors of huipiles and other native weavings and objects.

As they always do in Guatemala, our twin babies created quite a stir around them.  Women drifted over from their stalls to have a peek at them, others even got up from their looms mid-weaving.

One woman confided in me that her brother and his wife had twins born to them: a boy and a girl.  Tragically, the girl passed away twenty days later.  The young couple looked towards religion for solace.  The surviving baby boy would sometimes sigh and tear up unexpectedly and the whole family would follow suit and wail with grief. 

Following Kak’Chiquel tradition, they planted carnations in a pot and helped the infant water and care for them, giving him a companion to grow up with in her absence.  A sense of peace was gradually restored to the household.

She also cautioned me that when you get angry with or scold a twin, they have the power to summon ants from the ground to bite your skin.


And a little postscript: this afternoon I was sitting with Olin on my lap and teased him about his trousers fitting a bit too snuggly.Next thing I know, a big black ant appeared on my forearm! 

New Publication: “Lenguajes de Luz”

Added on by Jaime Permuth.

“Lenguajes de Luz” is a recently published anthology of Guatemalan photography. Its timeline stretches from the earliest days after the invention of the medium to its state-of-the-art contemporary manifestations. My work is represented with this image from YONKEROS.


“Lenguajes de Luz” es una antología sobre la fotografía en Guatemala. Su cronología abarca desde los primeros días de la invención del medio hasta sus manifestaciones contemporáneas más recientes. Mi trabajo está representado por esta imagen de la serie YONKEROS.

A sense of belonging to a different city, in a distant land

Added on by Jaime Permuth.

Six years ago, I had a solo exhibition for YONKEROS at the beautiful, zen-like Ryugaheon Gallery, only steps away from the old Imperial Palace of Seoul.  I was so honored to be invited by Guest Curator Joanne Junga Yang.  The show changed my relationship to the city and gave me a sense of belonging to it in a different way.


As part of the public programs, I was invited to give an Artist Talk.  I agreed but also imposed upon HRM to be my translator.  She graciously accepted.  My Mother-in-Law, who does not speak English, was in the audience that day. 

Every so often I glanced at her expression as HRM translated my words.  Looking at her, I felt as if finally, after years of knowing her, she was truly meeting me for the first time.


Con magnífica ironía

Added on by Jaime Permuth.

A beautiful photograph of Borges in his library in Buenos Aires by Eduardo Comesaña, 1971.  For the past several months, and as an extension of my project “Olmedini El Mago”, I’ve been researching the ways blindness is represented in art, particularly in photography.  The results of my inquiry are posted to my instagram account: @jaime_permuth


 “Nadie rebaje a lágrima o reproche

esta declaración de la maestría

de Dios, que con magnífica ironía

me dio a la vez los libros y la noche”.

Ferry across the island

Added on by Jaime Permuth.

A few days ago, Olmedini mentioned how he often used to take the Staten Island Ferry in the days before he lost his sight. He also said that trying to do magic onboard was a waste of time because everybody was so enamored by the views of Manhattan.


So I asked him to join me for a boat ride, after I was done teaching for the day at New York Film Academy, right down the street from the Ferry Terminal.

A single focus, two paths.

Added on by Jaime Permuth.

Through the many years of my professional practice, I have never before done a long-term documentary project that focused on a single individual.

Inevitably, this means that there are two different roads that stretch into the future: one is the path of the project, which extends as long as there are photos to be made; the second one is the path of friendship, which continues as long as there are words and moments to be shared.