On December 2018, I went to one of my favorites cities in Mexico, its name is Oaxaca. Oaxaca is a city located in the south part of Mexico and is full of culture, traditions and extraordinary food. In this post I will talk about Mezcal and photography.
Let’s start with Mezcal; its a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave. Agaves or magueys are found in many parts of Mexico, but most mezcal is made in Oaxaca. A saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink is: «Para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien, también.» («For everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good as well.») It is unclear whether distilled drinks were produced in Mexico before the Spanish Conquest. The Spaniards were introduced to native fermented drinks such as pulque, made from the maguey plant. Soon, the conquistadors began experimenting with the agave plant to find a way to make a distillable fermented mash. The result was mezcal.
Today, mezcal is still made from the heart of the agave plant, called the piña. In Mexico, mezcal is generally consumed straight and has a strong smoky flavor. Though other types of mezcal are not as popular as tequila (made specifically from the blue agave in select regions of the country).
Now lets talk about Photography…
As I have already told in my previous posts, photography is my passion, since 3 year ago I decided to always carry a camera with me, as I am convinced that the perfect photo is the one that you have not taken yet, you need to be prepared always. In this case I was driving to a place named Hierve el Agua, which is amazing by the way, and in the road I found a small «palenque» or a place in which craft mezcal is done, I stopped and entered the place.
There were just to persons in charge of the business, Mr. Odilon (the man in the upper photo) was in charge and the production and the sales. As soon as I saw him I tough that I would need to take some photos to remember this moment, my strategy was to be kind, talk with him. After some minutes talking, he and I felt more comfortable so I start talking about photography and I asked him if I can take some picture and this is the result…
I want to share some recent street photography shoots that I took while walking in Mexico City, in La Condesa.
You will see that I like dogs, and in some of my street photos the dogs are the main subject. It is not easy as dogs are always a moving target, so my advice is to shoot many shoots and wait until you get the right one!
Graciela Iturbide is considered the most relevant Mexican photographer. She started studying cinematography and there she met Manuel Alvarez Bravo who is considered the father of Mexican Photography and who had a great influence in Graciela’s work.
Graciela still works with her analog camera as she prefer to keep doing what she called her ritual. Here my learnings:
All start with a passion. This is relevant for all aspects in life, to be a great photographer you need to feel it, you need enjoy, you need to have fun and be obsessed with your passion.
Is not about technique is about composition. Choose the subject of your image and what you want to tell about. Once that is clear select a good background that helps to tell the story, avoid distracting elements.
To be a great photographer you need to increase your culture. At the decisive moment all your pass knowledge and experience will play a vital role to decide what to shoot. Is very important to learn from others photographers, learn painting, poetry, architecture, classic music. Also if you are traveling to a new place is important to read about its history and traditions to decide what is relevante and imagine your photo before pressing the shooter.
For street photography interact with the people of the place. You need to be part of the place in which you will do your work, she used to spend 2 to 3 weeks in the place to interact with people, this will make the people familiar with you and be more relax in the decisive moment.
Here some links that you can use to know her work.