03 August 2008

Our Lady of Hope Esparanza

My new friend, little sister, muse: Pamela was visiting from Mexico City here in Casas Grandes. I was inspired to ask her to model for me to explore some ideas that I had and haven't found a "model" to work with in the way I work back home in our studio. She
was just beautiful. It was my first time doing a set of work at the Casa Nopal and the window light in the library is that exactly of what we try to recreate in the studio. More images will come from this set but for now here is what I made in the digital darkroom of the imagination.

Miracles of Chile and the Guadalupe Ranch

This is the year I am learning about agriculture. I was invited to go to the Chile fields to see how the organic farm is growing chiles. Early in the morning light men and women work the rows of plants. It is intimate, hard, repetitive, enduring work. The
weather patterns are not the same and there has been more rain on record recently than in the past hundred years. Men and women labor to protect, and nurture these plants that will eventually become jars of organic El Pinto Chile. I am completely fascinated with learning about where our food comes from and who grows it. There are board meetings held in offices through
out the world and here in the middle of a chile field in Casas Grandes a meeting ensues to discuss the crop at hand. I have never met an agricultural Engineer; my friend Randy shows me the plants; never have I peered under the protective leaves to
see how a chile grows. The morning air is heavy with moisture from the rains; it feels unseasonably like the tropics. Gorge holds a small flower to his eye and studies it. He speaks of how he has never seen a year like this one, nor an organic project such as this. The conditions are all different. His kind eyes look across the fields contemplating fate. The workers had help
drain the fields bucket by bucket a week or so ago...too much water at the wrong time is not good for the plants. He speaks softly with wisdom,concern, and love. "We love our fields like we love our country," The small white flower in his hand is so small. Later when editing my pictures I notice how the workers also appear so small, like flowers in a sea of green. I too love
this country, and these chiles and the people who work this land.

My dad and our model and friend Brandy had given me the Guadalupe; it was a surprise as if she had appeared miraculously in
my apartment months ago....I had an inspriation to bring her to Mexico and start photographing her in places. My dad asked me if I had done any images with her yet and up until this morning I had not. When I unfurled her out of the van and opened
her up to her full stature the people in the fields and my friend and I, we were all taken by the incongruity of her Pressence;
I do believe She is here anyways but it was so beautiful; It's as if Big Mom appeared and we all wanted our pictures taken with Her. it was one of the most fun and magical moments. As I left the campo, the gate keeper saw her in the back of my van.
I asked if he'd like a portrait with her; He reverently knelt down next to her by the tall,waving corn and removed his hat. He gifted me with two stories of his own personal experiences of how She had helped save his daughter when she was born prematurely and when he was diagnosed with cancer. She appeared to him twice in his life. He patiently explained the significance of Her symbolism to me; some of which I've heard but to hear it from a man in the middle of the corn field was a gift. As I drove off I noticed the sign outside the gate. I had just left Guadalupe Ranch. She is everywhere.