As mentioned in a previous blog post, my wife and I went to Oaxaca, Mexico nearly 30 years ago and really enjoyed it. It was a beautiful city, with great architecture, friendly people, while feeling like you were stepping back in time. So we planned to go back for a vacation this year to celebrate our 30th anniversary. Before our return trip, I wondered what would change, would it have the same appeal that it had for me 30 years ago. It would be silly to assume things would go unchanged, but how would time affect this beautiful city I fell in love with so long ago.
Well it has changed, Oaxaca has gotten a lot bigger, and tourism has become a driving force in their economy. The people are just as warm and gracious as before. Technology is present, but not like you see everywhere else. I don’t recall seeing anyone younger than 20 with a cell phone. I was encouraged to see that the markets are still a family affair with kids of any age still expected to help out in anyway they can. At the various markets, vehicles have replaced donkeys, traditional clothing have been replaced with t-shirts and jeans some of the goods have been replaced with trinkets. But at the core of it all, I still saw the people, the people that make a community, the people that make a family, the people just trying to get by with what they have.
But as much as this trip was about photographing a culture, it came at a time when I am reexamining my own work as a photographer and what photography means to me. Instead of dumping all the work of this trip into one blog, I think I will spread it out a bit and discuss certain elements that affect me and possibly point in a direction I am moving with my photographic work.