Guatemala highlands. Formidable mountain ranges prevented the Spanish from too much incursion into the Maya highlands in their conquest of the Americas. Personally I’ve never witnessed a culture more resistant to extinction than the Maya. They’ve hung on to their various languages, their agrarian roots, and distinct dress, which varies from one town to another. One Maya man told me years ago ” I hate the last 500 years” referring to the Spanish conquest . Many of these small towns are accessible only by 4 wheel drive and even others only on foot. Many don’t leave their community at all. They have all they need and want right where they live. There has been bad politics and bad local wars from time to time. Yet resilience wins. I’m betting this will be one of the last places on earth to be homogenized. McDonalds has no chance.
Author Archive for david alan harvey
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One thing I’ve been forced to learn how to do is to focus,compose, and shoot while under the heavy influence of alcohol. Here in Guanajuato, Mexico it’s like 6am and I’ve just taken my last of heaven knows how many shots of tequila and I’m literally flat on my back by the campfire. It’s just part of the deal. If you are a gringo, you must drink even more. To be a part. To gain respect if you can still stand. You can’t ride for days with hundreds of Mexicans on horseback in Guanajuato who are in a religious calbagata to the top of Cristo Reyes without getting in the spirit of it all. Machismo the rule. Jesus praised with every shot. It’s now time to get up and ride another day. Just when you feel you can’t make it, you are inspired by the others who also feel they can’t make it. Then you all make it together. Viva Mexico! #guanajuato #calbagata #cowboys #mexico
Retro. My first major story outside the U.S. for NatGeo was a 56 page essay on the Maya culture in both Guatamala and Mexico. This story changed me forever and I have remained attached to all the Spanish cultures ever since. This from Solola overlooking Lake Atitlan in the Guatamala highlands. #guatamala #maya #lakeatitlan
Dasha has been a terrific subject/story for me the last three weeks. Yet she’s here to work . She helped run a workshop in New York. She got more pictures into my Magnum archive than anyone prior. A fanatic worker. Thanks Dasha for the pictures and mostly for the good vibes . Last night’s rooftop goodbye party was a testament to three amazing weeks 🎈
I’m back in New York and shooting around my building. A never ending source. A small town in a big city. I’m shooting everyone and everything knowing full well my apartment building does not have a long future. All must pass. Today in New York was the most spectacular weather in a city of extreme weather conditions. A light breeze graces the rooftop.
I’ve been shooting at home all week. Fact is I can’t leave. No choice but to shoot here if I have time to shoot at all. I’ve hard drives to organize, travel plans to make, tax prep to do (yuk), house repairs to make and endless errands to run. Normal at home stuff to do. I get behind on all these things because when I leave I’m often gone for awhile. So now I play catch up. Summer is over but it’s October at her best. Soon I go to New York then Paris then Cuba then Miami , so my chill home days are almost over. I’m always torn. I hate to leave yet I get fired up by adventure afar. My cats have pretty much figured out my odd lifestyle. They know every move. After all it’s their domain.#obx#beachgames
When I’m at home, as now, trying to organize hard drives and planning future shoots, I continue to at least photograph something every day. In this case Dasha, who is spending most of her day trying to work on my drives, doubles as a model for my ongoing BeachGames book. Working on an esoteric and subjective body of work is very different than shooting an editorial assignment where the theme is pretty much determined my the magazine. BeachGames is about fantasy and play on the surface and yet will have a non linear message underlying the “game”. To think about making a puzzle is exactly the opposite of the journalistic attempt to be didactic. First off, it’s way easier to fail. Anytime you push boundaries you are also set to fail. Yet anytime you are not set to fail, you cannot possibly grow. So my interpretation of beach games goes on. I will most likely finish by spring. No rush to publish syndrome. It takes time and stopping and starting and re thinking and tossing and turning to get things right. Even after a year and a half of shooting BeachGames, I could still kill it. I’ve killed projects that I worked on for years. In the meantime I’m enjoying the game of shooting the game. We will see how it plays out ..
Sometimes I get the urge to drive down the beach. I can legally do so in designated areas in the outer banks. Mostly I think beaches are for walking but I can’t deny the pleasure of cruising 4wd the waterline at sunset and watching the Pelicans air surfing. #obx
I continue my fiction essay BeachGames. To be a book. Maybe. Someday. I almost published it last spring but something was wrong. I’m pleased I waited. So now I’ve ventured out of Rio for surely beach games are everywhere. So I will return to Cuba soon to continue. Then Thailand . Then Cartagena . Always shooting OBX as well whenever I’m home. Last night tuna on the grill for my family and guests. I shoot all around my house all the time. Home sweet home #obx#backyard