The town of Potosi, Bolivia is intimately tied to the silver mine at Cerro Rico, first discovered in the 16th Century. Here, Reportage photographer Lisa Wiltse writes about her experience working in Potosi and her own perilous journey into the mine.
“Don’t touch any of the wires or you could get electrocuted,” Reynaldo says matter-of-factly. Any illusion that a trip into Potosi’s Cerro Rico mines would be easy left me about 100 meters into the shaft. The lights disappeared, the tunnel roof lowered, and my hard hat was the only thing that kept me from injuring my head on the rock above. Finding myself in a cloud of grey dust I realized that my mask was still around my neck; I quickly pulled it over my face, wondering if I had already inhaled something toxic.