The Visitor, Walking 1000 Miles Through Mexico’s Cities

The Visitor, Walking  1000 Miles Through Mexico’s Cities

This work results from a total of six months photographing in Mexico, from 1983 through 2014. I have visited Mexico for three decades to capture scenes of its contemporary urban environments. Each year I visit a different large Mexican city. My goal is to capture one American’s impressions of these cities. My psyche is changed as I move from the context of the USA, a very developed nation, to that of Mexico, a developing nation. The individual images are small vignettes of the contemporary urban environment. They reflect the links between human presence and the environment.

When I visit Mexico to photograph I do not focus on typical tourist sites. Rather I search for overlooked everyday scenes. Visiting a new city every year allows my vision and curiosity to stay fresh. During the 30 years visiting Mexico I have walked 1000 miles looking for images. Each visit inspires me. The images and scenes are often mysterious, simple yet enigmatic. I look for the magical scene that can be discovered by chance. My subconscious influences where and when I photograph. As I speak Spanish I can interact easily with Mexico’s warm, friendly people.

Mexico was the first developing nation I visited, as a teenager in 1977. Though I have since traveled widely I keep returning there. Mexico entrances me with its diverse scenes, vibrant colors, and unusual juxtapositions.

Conceptually, I have freed my mind and psyche from familiar contexts during each visit. I allow the culture of Mexico to filter into me as an “other.” Andre Breton, a founder of surrealism, said that Mexico is “the surrealist place par excellence.” Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo also commented on Mexico’s surreal nature. I agree with both of them. I also particularly like the quote by Seamus Heaney that “There’s a double sensation of here-and-nowness in the familiar places and far-and-awayness in something immense.”

Cities visited for the project include: Acapulco, Aguascalientes, Chetumal, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Ciudad Obregón, Cuernavaca, Durango, Ensenada, Guadalajara, Guaymas, Hermosillo, La Paz, León, Los Mochis, Mérida, Mexicali, Mexico City, Monterrey, Morelia, Nogales, Oaxaca, Puebla, Puerto Escondido, Querétaro, Saltillo, San Luis Potosí, Santa Rosalía, Tampico, Tijuana, Toluca, Torreón, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Veracruz, Zacatecas, and Zihuatanejo (dates below).

Visits to Mexico to Work on the Mexico Project

  • 1983 – Nogales
  • 1984 – Ensenada
  • 1985 – Chihuahua
  • 1986 – Hermosillo, Rosalía, Guaymas
  • 1987 – Guerrero Negro, La Paz, and Torreón
  • 1988 – Ciudad Juárez and Ciudad Obregón
  • 1989 – Durango and Culiacan
  • 1990 – Monterrey
  • 1991 – Saltillo
  • 1992 – Monterrey
  • 1993 – Zacatecas, Tepic, and Ensenada
  • 1994 – Guaymas
  • 1995 – Ensenada and Los Mochis
  • 1996 – Monterrey
  • 1997 – Tampico
  • 1998 – Aguascalientes
  • 1999 – Veracruz and Mexico City
  • 2000 – Cuernavaca
  • 2001 – Zihuatanejo
  • 2002 – Puebla and Mexico City
  • 2003 – San Luis Potosí and Xilitla
  • 2004 – Oaxaca and Puerto Escondido
  • 2005 – León and Mexico City
  • 2006 – Querétaro, Zihuatanejo, and Mexico City
  • 2007 – Mérida, Chetumal, and Mexico City
  • 2008 – Guadalajara and Mexico City
  • 2009 – Guadalajara and Mexico City
  • 2010 – Campeche
  • 2011 – Toluca and Mexico City
  • 2012 – Tuxtla Gutiérrez and Mexico City
  • 2013 – Tijuana
  • 2014 –Mexicali, Tijuana
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