It was crazy, indeed. It’s ironic to me that this parade happened to be on Father’s day. While photographing this event, I found myself hardly looking through the viewfinder, pointing my camera around sporadically with the shutter releases going at 3 fps. When there is so much going on, it’s almost more fun to take your camera less seriously, and join in on the celebrations. I looked down a lot, only to get lots of pictures of people’s feet. Which was interesting to me. I loved how the people in the parade either wore normal shoes, for comfort’s sake, or made shoes to accent their costumes. The feet are the most integral piece to the parade, a moving force that once caught up in, one is trapped in the moving herd of people. Overtaken by the colors, the sound, and the movement of the whole thing, I began to see myself in my own costume of “otherness”, maybe that’s why I chose to shoot from the hip or from above the head. I have literally a thousand pictures, none of them properly composed. Scrolling through my files, the next one happened to be just as much of a surprise as the last! I loved it!
Here are my favorite images from the day:
Upon arriving in Mexico, I was faced with the challenge of understanding and photographically representing a culture that I had little background knowledge of. I hardly have a good grasp on American history, let alone one on our neighboring country. Nevertheless, as an individual I am always thinking of the effects of consumerism on our twenty-first century global economy.
Every culture has different social classes that can easily be differentiated by those who excessively buy goods and those who sell goods in order to make a living. The obvious consequence to a global market saturated with goods to buy and sell is the enormous amount of things that get discarded and thrown away in the trash. When I was faced with the challenge of what to photograph in Mexico, I found myself focusing on the shapes of debris juxtaposed with the unique architecture of the cobblestone roads and antique buildings.
Focusing on debris that has been left behind by those who consume, I came to the realization that all cultures have similarities when it comes to commercialization and consumerism. Everyone in the world, no matter if the civilization is “developing” or “developed” consumes products and then discards of them when they are of no more use. The pictures that I chose for my final edit focus on 3 different aspects of this consumerism. The stores where buying and selling occurs, the people who work to gather the discarded materials and take them to a centralized place, and the products themselves, discarded on the streets, awaiting to be gathered by trash companies.
I venture back to the casita after wandering through the slippery cobblestone streets with my eye fixed through a viewfinder. My feet are dirty and my mouth is dry. I occasionally miss steps, this gives the too familiar feeling of flirting with a fall. I am clumsy relative to the natives. They carry themselves with poise and ease. Something I have always aspired to.
My days are filled with beating sun light and a struggle to communicate. My photographs are filled with vibrant colors and ancient architecture. The people have history and experience written on their expressions. I can only begin to understand what all this culture has seen and been through.
A culture that was once indigenous, that developed advanced communities and beliefs in multiple deities, became a mixed race by force of the Europeans. Their traditions were attempted to be erased by Christian ideology. The Mexican culture has nonetheless proved to be resilient; after the revolution from Spain, Mexicans began to reconnect with traditional practices that were passed down through oral history.
According to the 2005 Mexican Census, 1 out of 10 Mexicans claimed that they identified more with their pre-Hispanic roots rather than their Spanish/European influences. A culture never forgets it’s own history, regardless of the gruesome truths that laid the groundwork for their identity.