10 Faces of the Future: Guatemala

The Children of Guatemala are an incredibly interesting aspect of the culture. Their faces seem to convey a sense of innocent transparency that allow you to feel the culture in a way that words can’t explain.

This first photo has an interesting back story which you can read here. In short, these three are shoe shine boys who work the streets of a small Guatemalan marketplace called Chichicastenango. They speak Spanish and a native Mayan dialect specific to the region. I met Cesar the boy in the middle the evening before this shot was taken and he touched my heart. I invited him and his two cousins to lunch when I bumped into him the next day. I could tell that the wait staff wasn’t too excited about having these little boys in their restaurant and when they asked me if I wanted them to leave and I asked them to take their drink order.

It was a very emotional experience for me getting to know these guys. In the end I bought Cesar a pair of shoes to replace the worn out pair he’d been wearing. He asked me for that and my first reaction was to transition around it, but the more I thought about it I decided there was no reason I shouldn’t. And although I don’t regret my decision I immediately figured out that there was a reason behind my instinctual sense of hesitation. Word travels quickly when a poor boy convinces a rich traveler to buy him a pair of shoes and before I’d even paid the bill at lunch a small mob of children had assembled at the exit. They all wanted a new pair of shoes. I found myself experiencing a troubling sensation which I’d never felt before. I was physically and emotional immobilized. It hurt me and I didn’t know how to respond to it. I wished that I could’ve bought shoes for each and every big eyed child but we all know it just isn’t possible. In the end I did my best to explain that although I would have loved to help them I just couldn’t. It was a real off the beaten path travel moment that left me thinking about my future and the change I’m capable of making.

chichicastenango guatemala

Life certainly isn’t all peaches and cream as this little fella will tell you… If he could speak.


Children make persuasive salesmen with their charming little faces. It’s a simple photo but it can make you think. Do you remember having to sell anything when you were a child?
















This is one of my favorite photos. It’s also a great example of the type of traditional hand crafted clothing that nearly all Guatemalan women wear. The colors are always vibrant and unique. And lastly I love this photo for the simple fact that the little one is adorable.


I’m pretty sure these two are siblings. They found me on the second story balcony of a restaurant shooting photos of the market. At first they were trying to sell me on finger puppets. After working my way out of their sales pitch I offered them a few Quetzal for a photo. I didn’t expect much but somehow they turned out pretty good.
















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Author:Barry Hackett

Barry is a wedding & lifestyle photographer with a passion for environmental and philanthropic issues. He currently resides in Long Beach, CA. You can view his other work at www.barryhackett.com and www.hitchedphoto.com

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