It Began with This Question

Mike, would you consider helping us raise funds to build a medical clinic in Peru using some of your photographs of Machu Picchu?
— Luis Vasquez, President - Yantalo Peru Foundation

On the last day of my Machu Picchu trip, I could not have predicted that saying “Yes” to Luis would lead to a second trip back to Machu Picchu and then the publication of STONE OFFERINGS - Machu Picchu’s Terraces of Enlightenment two years later. 

Two Journeys Begin

In June of 2007, I traveled to Peru with a small group of architects, architecture professors and students, and others interested in the built environment. We spent 10 days exploring Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. Two architecture students, Lauren Garza and Gina Cangialosi, continued on to the town of Yantalo, Peru at the edge of the Amazon Jungle to draw up plans for the first sustainably designed medical clinic in South America.


After Lauren and Gina returned home, they began working on their senior thesis project to design the medical clinic. Several months of work followed and they completed their design which won a number of honors. Lauren and Gina then turned over the architectural plans to Luis to see if he could get the project built

At the conclusion of my trip, I began asking around and found a book producer, Karla Olson, who was willing to do some research. She found out that there had not been a new book of photography on Machu Picchu published in over seven years, and that my images were significantly different from the majority of ones we could find. She concluded that real potential existed for the publication of my images in a coffee table photography book. 

Meanwhile, Luis found a travel industry executive in Peru that was interested in funding the project and so we began to further explore the possibilities for a book.

Second Trip, Second Thoughts

Since I had photographed there for only three days, it was readily apparent that I needed more images to fill a compelling photography book on Machu Picchu. We decided that as a follow-up to my trip to Machu Picchu during the June solstice, I would go back and photograph at the December solstice. I spent an additional four days photographing in Machu Picchu and returned home Christmas day.

In January we committed to creating a review draft of the book within six months. We hired a book designer and a photo-editor and by the end of the summer we were able to get two distributors interested in taking on this independently produced book. We then reached out to the Peruvian-born author Marie Arana to see if she would write an introduction to the book in both English and Spanish.

The project suddenly fell into serious jeopardy when the interested Peruvian backer could no longer fund the project. I was faced with the tough decision of whether to shut down the project or keep it going.


Because of the overwhelming enthusiasm that I received from multiple publishing industry professionals, including Marie Arana agreeing to write the book’s introduction, I decided to take a leap of faith and take on the debt necessary to produce, print and publish this book.

The final image files were prepared, the Author’s Note written and by January the designer was ready to send off the book to the printer. After nearly two years of work, STONE OFFERINGS was officially released for publication in May, 2009.

The New Yantalo Medical Clinic 


I donated an additional printing of 330 Special Edition books to the Yantalo Peru Foundation that included a two page, four-color bound insert telling their intriguing story. The Yantalo Peru Foundation then leveraged the $13,000 worth of books to support their overall fundraising efforts towards building the student-designed medical clinic.

I’m happy to report that this past March, 2015, the Yantalo Medical Clinic was dedicated and has begun serving the needs of Peruvian people throughout the region. 

I am grateful to Luis for asking his question at our breakfast meeting in Machu Picchu, as it set in motion what would become STONE OFFERINGS - Machu Picchu’s Terraces of Enlightenment

To help keep STONE OFFERINGS in print, please visit: