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.
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.