Charaña is a high altitude, desolate border town at the western end of Bolivia on the Andean Plateau, a few miles from the border with Chile, home to approximately one thousand inhabitants. It is the last stop before entering Chile, along the railroad that goes from La Paz to Arica on the Pacific Coast; a route used over the years mainly for the transportation of mining products.
The town grew up around the train station and the warehouses storing goods. Today it has a main square, a couple of schools, a cemetery and some soccer fields outside town. Roads are dusty and mostly populated by dogs and llamas. Shops have no name; they do not need to. One of these shops is the only photo studio in town. It has a sign in the window: “SE HACE FOTOS AL INSTANTE”. Not only a photo studio, the single room is used as a butchers shop on one side, and as a photographic set for ID pictures on the other. A computer for post-production and a small printer for immediate delivery sit in the corner of the room.
The owner also offers a change of clothes - white, rose, or striped shirts, a man's jacket, and a pair of ties - in the event that a customer quickly needs a more elegant look. Another option, at a small extra cost, is to choose your own look from a portfolio of different options, ready to be pasted in post-production with your own portrait.
Welcome to the only, and unforgettable, photo studio in Charaña.