In 1919 Martin Gusinde was sent as a missionary to Tierra del Fuego by his German congregation. While his mission was to convert the native people among whom he lived, the opposite took place: Gusinde became one of the first Westerners ever to be initiated into various sacred rites of the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego.
During the course of four trips made between 1919 and 1924, from the canals of Western Patagonia to the great island of Tierra del Fuego, Gusinde learned and wrote about the Kawesqar, Yamana and Selk'nam peoples. He also took more than one thousand photographs, all produced using a portable darkroom. He captured some truly extraordinary images: feather-clad bodies sporting high head-dresses made of bark, wrapped up in guanaco furs, or entirely covered with ritual paint, populating a landscape battered by wind, rain and snow, at the heart of a natural world that Darwin had noted for its wildness.
Martin Gusinde's photographs are a monument to the memory of Tierra del Fuego's people as well as an exceptional anthropological document.