Faces of Peru
There is no place on earth like Peru. Staggeringly dramatic landscapes paint a backdrop for mythic Incan masterpieces enmeshed with ornate Spanish cathedrals. The food is incredible, the colors are visceral, and the textiles oh-so covetable. And yet amidst such striking beauty what resonated most are the people who inhabit this land and bring it to life.
To see traditional Quechua women in all their dazzling regalia traverse the crags of the Andes with decorated alpacas in tow—completely unchanged in their way of life for hundreds if not thousands of years—was truly enlightening. Plump, rosy-cheeked babies giggling as they wrestle with puppies. Grinning elderly men sipping “happy beer” made of corn as they savor the breeze. Masterful artisans weaving intricate blankets on looms in their living rooms while coca tea simmers and guinea pig dinner slowly roasts… It was a beautifully intimate and authentic portrait of a joie de vivre that revolves around tradition, family, food, and nature’s most sacred gifts.
When I finally left the record industry in 1982, I started a company with an old friend from school named Terry Koppel, who was a magazine designer. Our studio, Koppel & Scher, was a balance of editorial design and promotion packaging and covers. We worked together for seven years, until the first Gulf War in 1990. Then there was a recession and, suddenly, there were no magazines to design. Terry took an in-house job at Esquire, and I kept the business going by myself for about a year. Then Woody Pirtle, who was a partner at Pentagram, walked over to my studio and asked if I’d be interested in joining them. I was interested. I joined Pentagram in 1991 and I’ve stayed here ever since—it’s been 23 years.