Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guadalupe Virgin

My family at a street studio in Mexico City.
Left to right: My Mother, Aunt Mimi, Uncle Juan, and little cousin, Tuca.

This picture is of my family standing in front of a painted backdrop. It was taken at the Guadalupe Church to capture the moment of their visit to the most famous holy place in Mexico. My family preferred to position themselves in front of a painted curtain instead of the real building structure.

Millions of people come to pray and receive blessings from the Guadalupe. It is a strong tradition that continues to the present. These painted backdrops, such as the one in this picture of the Holy Virgin, are mass produced along with handcrafted souvenirs that devotees will take home as a constant reminder of Guadalupe’s love and beauty. This photo marks an important event for my family and captures a memorable moment in their lives.

My mother was very young, probably in her middle twenties, and it was her first time in Mexico City. They are all very well dressed. My uncle is wearing a light-colored and probably lightweight suit. He is wearing a hat, as any respectable man would in the 1940s. My mother wears black stockings and dark glasses and takes on a pose projecting great self-confidence for the camera. They are all holding long decorative candles. My mother has placed her candle downward along her leg. The little girl is sitting on a small wooden horse that seems to be prancing. The sunlight appears under the curtain and some sun is reflected near the top of my mother dress. As I am looking at the photo, I notice that along the bottom and slightly to the right of center, there are what appear to be fingerprints, probably from the photographer. It will be something that we will never know.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NYC Subway

The daily journey that we all make in our contemporary life. Without realizing it, we are being part of an urban ritual, in which we do numerous routine acts, as part of our ritual.

Examples of our routines are walking until the end of the platform, reading and folding the newspaper, or listening to our I-Pods.

The Nagual our protector, gives us the trust to close our eyes and take a nap in the subway. Our protector, gives us the courage to go down the stairs to the platform in the middle of the night. It also rewards us with good fortune, such as finding a seat in a crowded train.

The countless paths one traverses in one's life are all equal. Oppressors and oppressed meet at the end, and the only thing that prevails is that life was altogether too short for both.


Natives from the central region of Mexico make a mark with ashes to catch the Nagual. The mark is placed at the entrance of the house, before a new born arrives. The first animal that makes his print in it will be the child Nagual. The Nagual is his protector and has been selected at random. The Nagual will be part of his name, so if the animal is a serpent or mouse, the child is called Juan Serpent or Juan Mouse.

The traditions of Mexico include numerous rituals. These traditions continue in the daily life of the people and are an important part of their ideas and believe.