I’m home from Oaxaca and what an amazing trip! I went for a photography workshop that turned out to be a little tougher than I'd expected. We rose early and headed to bed late. We shot through heat, dust, smoke and into darkness. We muddled our way through a foreign language to ask total strangers if we could take their portrait. I got a stomach bug. And slammed my finger in a metal door. And one night I drank WAAAAY too much cheap mezcal and danced my ass off at a salsa bar and then had the (second) worst hangover I’ve ever had in my life. It was not pretty.
But was it ever worth it.
In addition to the above trials and tribulations, there were visits to some of the most beautiful, vibrant markets I’ve ever seen. A trip to see artisans making paper by hand and coloring it with locally sourced natural dyes. A visit with a group of feisty sisters crafting ceramics using techniques thousands of years old. A bumpy car ride to a palenque where we watched as our hosts smoked woody agave hearts, then mashed, fermented and distilled them into some of the finest mezcal I’ve ever tasted. Everywhere we went, we were greeted warmly and fed heartily. The Oaxacans we met generously shared their stories, their knowledge, their traditions and their tables with us.
Through those sunrise shoots, rides over dirt roads to breathtaking locations, and interactions with the people we met in Oaxaca, I feel I’ve grown as a photographer, too. I learned more from Andrea and Martin in nine days than I would have in a year (or a lifetime) of experimenting on my own. Add to that the generous feedback and advice of my fellow travelers (many of whom I can now call friends) and this trip was truly invaluable.
Oaxaca has changed me a little. The time I spent hearing the stories of such talented, wise, humble women and men in Mexico has left me feeling more connected to people everywhere and more grateful for my time on this earth. Bruised fingers, sleep deprivation, hangovers and all.