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Friday, August 16, 2013

Mexican character

On a recent trip to the Yucatan in Mexico I spend a good deal of time enjoying the flavours of the street, as well as the flavours of Yucatecan food.

The Mexican people are warm and wonderful and it's an exciting experience to be immersed in a foreign culture, with routines and language and all the sensory teases that a vibrant community creates.

Mexico has been getting a pretty bad reputation lately, with the drug cartels scaring off travellers and people who don't really have any idea what's really going on. It is extremely unlikely that a visitor to Mexico will experience any kind of violence or problem.

The numbers of travellers that go to the various locations throughout Mexico every year, and never experience a negative incident, are in the millions. The media reports the handful of dramatic problems. I have never had anything but enjoyable, interesting, and totally satisfying experiences while there. If you're not going to the wrong places, or doing the 'wrong' things, you have nothing to worry about.

But a day wandering the markets, or experiencing fishermen unloading their product, or families doing the kinds of things we all do in our own communities, can teach the traveller about how similar we can all be. Even if we do things in a slightly different way.

I am including a couple of the images I have in this BLOG posting in the Photosynthesis 2013  show on Salt Spring Island, from Aug 27 to Sept 15 at ArtSpring. This is a group show of 24 photographers from Salt Spring Island that hangs every year and it is a rich cross-section of talents, techniques, vision, & subject matter. For photography fans it is a must see collection of photographic talents.

My preference lately, when I've been travelling, is to shoot street scenes and people in black & white. My feelings are that B&W add impact to the subject matter, keep it most important, and almost add a timeless feel. Or, at least, I feel they don't get to feel dated as quickly as full colour shots.

 I often shoot "from the hip", or at least from the chest, with my camera hanging around my neck, or at my side in my hand. I'm less confrontational in a crowd or public place when I'm not shoving my camera into the faces of strangers.
I also very much prefer to shoot with a wider angle lens so I'm closer to my subjects and the images have more depth. A telephoto lens makes it easier to be a voyeur from a distance, but doesn't allow me to get into the feel of the location and atmosphere of the street where my subjects are doing whatever it is they do.
For me to be 'there', rather than a viewer from a distance, makes the images and experience stronger and more meaningful.
In February of 2014 I will be travelling with Special Travel International on a tour of the colonial towns of central Mexico as a 'photo guide' for their Viva Mexico tour. Gery Valtiner of STI designs wonderful tours and treats his travellers so very well, including 'value added' services, such as taking me along to assist his travellers in improving their own travel photographs. We'll be visiting Mexico City, Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende, and other towns to explore the wandering streets and visit artisan studios.
If you've never had an opportunity to explore some of these towns, or Mexico in general, drop them an email at and have them send you the information on this fun and lively excursion. Or, send me an email and I'll send you a brochure for the Viva Mexico trip.

1 comment:

  1. "Wonderful photos Gregg, of my home town. Great work as always and good luck with the Saltspring show. Saludos desde Merida, Juanita"