On a cold December night in 1997, I woke up in a charter bus crossing what may have been the state of Louisiana. Or it could have been Texas. No-one knows for sure… I was seven then, and looking out the window I realized we were no longer in Mexico. It was dark, but I could see colorful neon signs in the sky at a distance. I remember my toes feeling numb, but no longer cold. My grandmother, who sat next to me, had her eyes shut tightly, so I closed my eyes too to wait for the morning.
The above is a keen recollection of a trip that changed my life fully. One my grandparents talked about often, with both a sense of anticipation and apprehension. We were leaving behind all things we were used to: las tortillas, la familia, las fiestas! Did I say las tortillas?
Twelve years later, I was finally able to visit my birthplace for the first time since I left.
Life in Mexico, as I remember it, had never been easy. Yet I had largely forgotten the beauty of everyday life: The elderly park vendor resting against his ice cream cart, patiently waiting for kids to come by; the young couple in love, sitting on a park bench, tossing bread crumbs at the doves frantically flying around them; the colorful homes that covered a hill, each of a unique, happy color.
As I rediscovered my culture, I noticed some things that now as an outsider I could not ignore. With my point-and-shoot camera, I went on to capture the people and places I'd mostly forgotten, in an attempt to preserve them in their most perfect form. I achieved this through simple, minimalistic composition that could highlight the unique expressions each subject portrayed.
… I came home with a card full of photographs, and later created a powerpoint presentation for school with some of the photos. Some classmates approached me, saying, “I didn’t know you were a photographer!” And I had to tell them, “I didn’t either!”
Thank you for reading my personal story, I look forward to capturing and preserving yours!