In January of 1993 Maruch asked for a camera to use for the weekend. A few day later when she had processed the film and showed me the contact sheet I was deeply moved by her vision and her ideas. I was also grateful that I had remained faithful to my original intention not to interfere or influence those I was teaching regarding their imagery.
My interest in starting the Chiapas Photography Project in 1992 was -and remains- to offer indigenous people access to the tools and materials of photography, to help them develop skills in camera use and darkroom procedures and to encourage the use of photography for their own purposes.
I also wanted them to feel free to choose their own subjects and to make pictures according to their way of seeing. My experience with Maruch at the beginning of the project in Chiapas, has market my work at the Indigenous Photography Archive, I continue to offer other groups the possibility of using photography for their own ends.
From the beginning I also had a personal artistic interest in seeing what kind of images might be created by those who had free use of a camera with no expectations from outside, had no familiarity with the history of photography and whose culture was less marked than my own by photographic images. When Maruch showed me her photographs I was more gratified at what she had done, for she had used photography in a original way for her community. She believed that the pictures speak or somehow embody or capture reality.
As a visual artist the photographs of the Creencias intrigue me because in additions to preserving traditional beliefs, the photographs seem to have the potential to change those beliefs due to the particular manner Maruch has represented certain elements of the beliefs. I wonder if things she includes in the pictures which are not part of Creencias -for example, the basket (in which she has put cabbage stalk)- might somehow make their way into the oral tradition. I wonder about the power of images.
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