Chiapas Photography Project collection

October 9, 2019
Gurudarshan Khalsa
Kichtik - Nuestro Chile - Our Chile by Juana Lopez Lopez

 The physical materials in the Chiapas Photography Project collection have been processed and are now available for research. The finding aid to the collection can be viewed here at the Online Archive of California. The materials in the collection include administrative files, public activities files (including flyers, pamphlets, and booklets), photographs, slides, negatives, contact sheets, correspondence, publications, and audiovisual media.

Chiapas Photography Project logo

The Chiapas Photography Project (CPP) was founded in 1992 by Sister Carlota Duarte, RSCJ to provide indigenous Mayan peoples with access to cameras and technical photographic instruction as a way to express themselves artistically and culturally. The photographers use these skills to portray their lives, families, communities, and culture. The CPP remains active and is based in San Cristóbal de Las Casas in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, which is the commercial and cultural center of the Chiapas Highlands. 

Flux Gallery exhibition: Feminine Vision: Mayan Women of ChiapasSister Carlota Duarte is a religious sister with the Society of the Sacred Heart (an international Roman Catholic religious congregation for women), a teacher, and a visual artist with a Master's degree in Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. The CPP was originally funded by Sister Duarte and friends. Later the CPP was awarded significant grants from the Ford Foundation and other organizations. The additional funding allowed the CPP to hire a number of indigenous staff to help with its activities. 

In 1996 Sister Carlota Duarte was hired as a researcher by the Centro de Investigación y Nuestro Comida/Our FoodEstudios Superiores en Antropología Social del Sureste to help establish the Archivo Fotográfico Indígena which housed over 85,000 negatives taken by photographers trained by the CPP.

From 1992-2016 the CPP trained over 500 photographers of different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. The workshops and other outreach activities organized by the CPP brought together many different communities and groups.

Centro de Investigación y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social del Sureste flyer

Some of the photographers' work has been featured in books, publications, galleries, and exhibitions in Mexico, New York City, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and other locations. A few of the photographers who worked with the CPP are Maruch Santiz Gomez, Genaro Santiz Gomez, Petul Hernandez Guzman, and Xunka Lopez Diaz.

To find out more about the Chiapas Photography Project please visit

The Stanford catalog SearchWorks record can be found here:

 The finding aid for this collection is available online at the Online Archive of California: