Sharon Castellanos: Duro de Morir


GUP Author

Patrycja Rozwora


Sharon Castellanos

Artist Website


For as long as she can remember, the Peruvian photographer Sharon Castellanos (b. 1989) was intrigued by the medium of photography. It started by collecting pictures, which her father – a radio operator on a merchant ship – took while traveling the world. That playful, innocent activity, eventually transformed into a meaningful and sincere relation with the medium of photography.

Castellanos’s first long-term project, “Duro de Morir” (which can be literally translated to “Hard to Die”), came to light on a journey to Cusco – located high up in the Peruvian Andes and once the capital of the Incan Empire.

The title, “Duro de Morir”, defines the resistance and spirit of the Andes community. In her original and highly aesthetic style, Castellanos portrays the Old World – communities that live surrounded by mysterious stone structures, reminiscence of Spanish colonial architecture and at the pathway towards Machu Picchu, and for whom the time has stopped. Their lifestyle, professions and celebrations give tribute to age-old traditions.

Castellanos is interested in the surreal qualities of photography; the power of images and their ability to explore the boundaries between that what appears and that what is actual. Black and white photographs show scenes of daily rural life, the land, the mountains, and the relationships between the inhabitants of their mesmerising surroundings. Her unique use of light and shadow add to the mythical atmosphere.

This feature results from a special nomination for the PH Museum 2020 Mobile Photography Prize, for which GUP has shortlisted 3 nominees: Sharon Castellanos, LouLou d’Aki, and Vikesh Kapoor. They will be granted an online individual portfolio feature plus a yearly subscription to GUP magazine.