The eight stories of Guanacaste that Costa Ricans Photobook reveals

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español
Translator: Mari Arango

Through their lenses they have already seen the corteza amarilla trees (Tabebuia ochracea) that color the lowlands during the summer. They also shared with us their view from the sky when they flew over the landscape of the province. In Costa Ricans , their most recent photo book, the brothers Sergio and Giancarlo Pucci decided to show us who are the people who inhabit and give life to this landscape.

They worked with their crew for almost three years on their first book of portraits. It includes images of 50 Costa Ricans of diverse occupations, ages, genders and areas of the country. Eight of these stories take place in Guanacaste.

On the hunt for stories

Long before the Pucci brothers went out with camera in hand to find these characters, they enlisted the help of a social researcher to analyze data from the State of the Nation and the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC). They wanted to understand the people living in Costa Rica in order to choose people who, overall, represented those descriptions.

In Guanacaste they found people who work in nature conservation and tourism positions, long-lived people who have seen 100 years and counting, and people who have come to live their lives in Guanacaste and feel it as their own.

One of the protagonists is the chemist from San Jose, “adopted by Hojancha”, Andrea Leiva. Her story is that of a young woman who moved from the city to the countryside and decided to become a brewmaster.

We wanted to [photograph in] a place like Hojancha, because it represents indicators of social progress. So, Andrea’s case is perfect because she is in Hojancha and she is a woman in a non-traditional position,” explains photographer Giancarlo Pucci.

Leiva was very confused when she was approached to appear in a photobook, but was quickly excited when she heard more about the project. 

[The book reflects] the reality of people, that we are not perfect and that many people go through situations similar to yours. [Look] for inspiration from regular people,” she says. 

Andrea Leiva
She is a chemical engineer and environmental manager for the Municipality of Hojancha. With her husband José Gutiérrez she created Guanabeer, a craft brewery that started making 48 beers per week and now has the capacity to produce 6,000 bottles per month.Photo: Pucci

The photographs of the 50 characters are accompanied by a story that deeply marked their lives. To achieve this, they had a crew of 28 writers of all ages, occupations and backgrounds.

The journalist María Fernanda Cruz wrote the history of the brewmaster. Cruz praises the book’s effort to portray people’s day-to-day lives as they are, and not typical stories of self-improvement that may mislead people.

If you don’t portray these other stories of ordinary people, you are excluding a large part of the population,” she says.

That same diversity is captured not only in the Costa Ricans book, but in the production work involved. The photographer says that it is a work that transcends the Puccis because of the number of people involved in the work process, the photographed and writers.

It has been like a gift to be able to get even closer to Guanacaste through the eyes and experiences of these people,” says Giancarlo.

Costa Ricans’ book is available in the country’s main bookstores in both English and Spanish versions.

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Eladio Castro
He is a passionate surfer, adventurous and in love with nature. He is also an independent entrepreneur, tour guide and owner of Eladio’s Place on the outskirts of Santa Rosa National Park.Photo: Pucci

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Yeimy Cedeño
Yeimy is a tropical biologist and works at the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge. She is also part of the 16% of women who currently hold a position in conservation areas in the country.Photo: Pucci

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Daniel Janzen and Winifred Hallwachs
They are the “parents” of the Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACG), one of the last patches of tropical dry forest in the world. Their great legacy, apart from the creation of the ACG, they have recorded more than 500,000 specimens of 45,000 species.Photo: Pucci

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Dora Amparo Busto Eduarte (lady in pink)
She was born in 1918. Since she was a little girl she made and sold doughnuts with her mother. She married at the age of 19 and was widowed with six children, whom she raised by washing clothes and selling doughnuts. The most memorable moment of her life was when her children were finally able to work to help her with expenses.

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Anthony Coronado
He was born and lives in Liberia. Is an enthusiastic and hardworking cowboy who has been learning the trade alongside his uncle.Photo: Pucci

Manuel Zamora
He was born and raised in Villarreal of Santa Cruz. Since he was a child, he worked in many different trades: he worked as a lawn mower, banana plant worker, bartender, cashier and waiter. He is the creator of the well-known “baile del polvo” (dust dance).