Papi was always a devout Catholic. Church every single Sunday.
A few years ago Papi saw a lady in the middle of the street that had just gotten hit by a car… He saw my mother and frantically cried in the middle of the street making every bargain and promise to God to be good, stop his womanizing ways, if He spared Mami.
“It’s not Milagros! It’s not your wife!” his friend yelled. This was his sign.. and shortly thereafter he converted…
As it happens, because you never know what is awaiting you around the corner…you run into a free drawing class at The Metropolitan Museum. You grab a pencil and start doing something… you don’t even remember when was the last time you did it…and then you feel connected, you found yourself a bit more free from yourself
I will not forget my camera tomorrow.
My first photography professor once told me that, “Being a photographer is just being the one in the room who has a camera. That’s all there is to it” and she had a point. I forget my camera at home and find myself wishing I could have photographed this or that. I photographed this butterfly keeper in the Museum of Natural History with no intention of creating a portrait and it turned out to be one of my favorite images. I would still be beating myself up if I hadn’t had my camera to capture this moment. So tomorrow before I leave the house, “Keys, Wallet, Phone, Camera.”
For mami, the states was “la ultima coca cola en el desierto” (the last coca-cola in the desert). The best thing in the world. Her intentions were to come to the states and study medicine, but after a few months she realized not knowing the English language meant being stuck with the worst jobs. “Ni en la bodega se hablaba Español.” You wouldn’t hear Spanish, not even in the grocery stores.
She began the first 20 years in the states working in sewing factories, but once all those jobs were outsourced the next step was to become a home health aid.
Her morning routine always requires the same ritual. She gets up AT LEAST 4 hours before she needs to be at work. Then she leaves at least an hour and a half before her twelve hour shift. Even if it only takes her 30 minutes to get there, she still leaves way too early.
20 years after starting her new job, my mom is a 64 year old home health aid still working 12 hour shifts, considering if she should push her retirement in order to help make ends meet.
My brother, Alejandro, is younger than me. He was 19 when he moved from our home in Mexico City to Ithaca, NY to study. My little sister, Ofelia, was 10. He soon realized that he would leave Ofelia as a little girl and come back, four years latter, to find a little lady.
Now is my turn to move to New York and I’m leaving Ofelia now at the age of 13.
Even when I no longer lived with my parents back in Mexico City, I did my best to visit their home in the suburbs each weekend. In one of this visit is stroke me: I do not know when it happened but Ofelia is right now a 5.15ft tall pre-teen. I was 12 when she was born and she has always been a kid to me.
I can hardly describe what I feel when I think how different she will be two years from now when I go back.
This photograph was taken at an orthodox jewish wedding I shot at the Crowne Plaza right off the highway between the city of Montreal and the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. The younger sister of the groom (photographed) was staring at her reflection of the pool and isolating herself from the rest of the children. She told me she hates meeting new people and I told her, so do I.