Jump to content

"The Isthmus" Panama Canal Expansion Photo Book

Keith Woolford

Recommended Posts

Stunning photos that tell the story of the Panama Canal expansion

The book is double sided, one side following “El Canal” and the other life in Panama.

Washington Post Writer Chloe Coleman September 29


On the Pacific side of the Panama Canal expansion in Cocoli workers set rebar in place before the initial concrete would be poured. 2011. (Andrew Kaufman)

“When the Panama Canal expansion is complete, one of man and the world’s greatest marvels will forever change the landscape, the economy, and the people of Panama,” says photographer Andrew Kaufman in his artist statement for his project,”The Isthmus,” a photo book on Panama and the Panama Canal expansion. The Panama Canal expansion project added a new lane, which allowed a larger number of ships and increased the width and depth of the lanes and locks, which allowed larger ships to pass. This doubled the capacity of the canal. The new, larger ships, New Panamax, are near 1 1/2 times the size of their predecessor and can haul more than twice the cargo.


At the Pedro Miguel Locks on the Panama Canal, a boatero paddles his way to an incoming Panamax ship to secure the lines so the ship can safely transit the lock. 2006. (Andrew Kaufman)


A blast on the Panama Canal just across the way from Paraiso signified the beginning of the Panama Canal expansion. 2007. (Andrew Kaufman)

The book is double sided, one side following “El Canal” and the other life in Panama. The Panama side is a copy of Kaufman’s journals with his own handwriting and artwork.

“I’d been photographing and writing about Panama for more than a decade. It turned out that when I first was traveling to Panama that I was focused on the Panama Canal expansion. But as I spent more time in Panama and learned more about the culture, there was two very distinct stories that I was trying to tell. One about ‘El Canal’ and the other about Panama,” he said. “What was very interesting is that as the canal was modernizing so was Panama. It was that story that I wanted to tell and the double sided book made a lot of sense.”

Kaufman continues about the thesis of his book in his artist statement: “… I am telling Panama’s story. It will be a definitive look as Panama itself is in the midst of changes that will impact it for years to come. The stakes are high. Nicaragua has started construction of their own canal and Guatemala with a land bridge from coast to coast. The region is rethinking its stake in global trade.”


During a coffee break on the Panama Canal expansion’s Pacific side of the project, workers sit under a tent away from the heat and humidity of the Panamanian jungle. 2009. (Andrew Kaufman)


Soldador, March 2011 (Andrew Kaufman)


From the bottom of the new locks on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal expansion known as Agua Clara. 2015. (Andrew Kaufman)


Soy El Canal Ampliado, 40,000 visitors, May 17, 2015 (Andrew Kaufman)


Portobelo, August 2010. (Andrew Kaufman)


Every other year in Portobelo on the Atlantic coast of Panama is a festival known as Diablos Y Congos. Participants dress up as a Diablo (Devil) or a Congo (West Indian). Once the parade begins, so does the dance of the devil, where whips and scaring are part of the festivities. 2013. (Andrew Kaufman)


A pavo works with the driver of the Los Diablos Rojos, The Red Devils. The pavo calls out the stops and takes the passengers’ fares. Los Diablos Rojos, which are an icon of Panama, have been replaced by modern white-panel, sarcophagi-looking buses. 2007. (Andrew Kaufman)


Desfile de las Mil Polleras, January 2016. (Andrew Kaufman)


A young boxer at the Pedro Rokero Gimnasio in Corundu, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Panama City. 2007. (Andrew Kaufman)


In Casco Viejo an artist sells reproductions of Los Diablos Rojos. The buses were an icon of Panama on which the city’s conscious would be splashed for everyone in the city to see. 2009. (Andrew Kaufman)


The Club Union sits on the point of Casco Viejo, the old town in Panama City. The club used to be a hangout for Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega where he would throw lavish parties for his generals. Now it will become a five-star hotel. 2007. (Andrew Kaufman)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...