3 June 2013
Last updated at 15:45
A typical Ecuadorean breakfast of fried plantains and hot cocoa. It is how many start the day, including Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky, two freelance photographers based in Quito. Their images have been published in many prestigious international publications and honoured in photo contests. In 2011 they set up the Runa Photos cooperative and continue to travel and document life in Ecuador. They are both Panos photographers.
The Prioste, or master of ceremonies, in charge of the Corpus Christi fiesta, rides around the village bullring throwing fruit to the audience. Reciprocity is a huge theme in many of the indigenous fiestas of the Andes. When people arrive at the prioste's house for the party they bring gifts. Oranges are a rare treat in the high valley of Zumbahau. The prioste will spend thousands of dollars to feed and provide music for the entire community. It will bring him and is family a great sense of pride, but will also put them in debt.
A boat travels down the Cayapas River in Esmeraldas province, north-western Ecuador. Many of the towns in the province of Esmeraldas have become more dangerous in recent years because of the drug trade and its proximity to the Colombian jungle. Fishing is often the only job in some villages. Although many of these communities are living in extreme poverty, a strong sense of identity and family holds the people together and creates a positive and upbeat attitude.
Girls dress up as Disney's Minnie Mouse character for the annual carnival in Guanujo, near Guaranda, central Ecuador. In Ecuador, Guaranda is famous for its Carnival. Thousands of people flood the streets to watch the parades, which carry influences from Europe, pre-Columbian customs, and nowadays, popular cultural from around the world.
A cock fighter poses for a photo before a fight in Quevedo, in the central province of Los Rios. Cockfighting is popular in many parts of Ecuador and though there is some controversy around cockfighting, it is a strong tradition found in all parts of the country and is not yet illegal.
Once a year, in the border town of Nueva Loja, people put aside their everyday concerns to take part in a few wild days and nights of celebration for Carnival. Children spray each other with water, foam, flour, eggs and mud and teenagers dance all night in "chozas" or huts, makeshift nightclubs.
A pool of crude oil and waste is lit up by a flare stack near the city of Lago Agrio in the northeast of Ecuador. Oil exploration in the area has proved very controversial. There are a series of ongoing legal disputes over the impact of the drilling involving US companies which previously held concessions in the area.
Children get ready for school at home in Limones in the province of Esmeraldas, a largely Afro-Ecuadorean area of the country. The people are descendants of the slaves brought over by the Spanish in the 16th century. Fishing is often the only job in Limones. According to Karla Gachet, although many in this community are living in extreme poverty, a strong sense of identity and family holds the people together and creates a positive and upbeat attitude.
Blanca Ashanga harvests corn in a field in the Quichua community of San Pedro Sumino in the province of Napo in the Ecuadorean jungle. All the community works in what they call a "minga" where everyone contributes and harvests for the benefit of the community.
Children play football in the rain in the village of San Miguel, a community deep in the Ecuadorean rainforest, in the north-western province of Esmeraldas. To get to San Miguel, you must navigate on the Cayapas River for four hours.
Yessenia Aguayo sits on her bed before her quinceanera party, or 15th birthday, in the hacienda La Mariana in the province of Los Rios. Quinceaneras are a rite of passage and a symbol of the transformation from girl to woman. Karla Gachet says the Aguayos are a tightly knit family who live off their land and animals.
Indigenous people walk the streets of Guaranda, Ecuador, in 2011. The clothing worn by the indigenous women was originally imposed upon them by Ecuador's Spanish colonial rulers. Now the clothes have become a symbol of indigenous pride and identity.