Story Behind the Photo: Unknown Mexico


Cemetery somewhere south of Nogales

I don’t remember where this is exactly, but I remember the trip. Circa 1993 or 1994

Somewhere in Mexico, south of Nogales. Another photographer and I made a voyage. She was a staffer at the paper, I was an intern.

No real plan, just drive south and see what we find. Those were the good old days. White, Toyota Corolla, a few bucks, a few rolls of Kodachrome. My Canon. My Leica.

We started near the water, then drove to Hermosillo. Rumor had it the Chupacabra was in the area. We never found it but we did drink illegal moonshine from a tiny cap. It was beyond powerful and made the back of your skull go numb.

Then we drove into the desert.

We found a cemetery where something was going on. Maybe it was Dia de los Muertos.

I think this guy was stunned by the hippie gringo, or confused. There was probably a few “Who are you?” And, “What are you doing here?” But they were cool and we made a few pictures.

That camera in my hand was the game changer. EOS 1, and 20-35mm 2.8, the first of two zooms that took the photography world by storm, as well as the first real autofocus camera to land in full force. I used that camera and that lens for YEARS. That was a Leica M4-P with a 28mm, which I sold. HUGE mistake.

I just scanned this last night and was blown away by how good these old chromes look. I think this image was Fujichrome, but I was shooting Kodachrome on that trip. I’ll post a few of those later. These chrome had great skintone, and also handled the highlights with ease. Plus, there is a depth and texture to them that I have to try to add in when I shoot digital. It never works quite the same. Not sure why it would.

7 responses to “Story Behind the Photo: Unknown Mexico”

  1. Paul says:

    love the specs and the raggedy hair do!

  2. David Wissinger says:

    In high school I worked for a public TV station. It become known that I had taken a photograhy course so anytime still photos were required they shoved the little Nikkormat loaded with Ektachrome in my hand. I hated Ektachrome, but successfully begged for some Kodachrome when were were outdoors. It was fantastic stuff…surreal colors.

  3. smogranch says:

    PKR was fantastic. A pain in the ass to process, but the results are amazing.

  4. sarah says:

    love this! such a hippie with somewhat preppie gold spectacles or are those sunglasses?

    • smogranch says:

      I’m trying to return to this look, all but the glasses, which were straight glasses, but they did have this clip on set of sunglasses which at the time were “cutting edge.” The hair speaks for itself. It takes years of neglect, too much sun exposure and miles of dust to achieve that look.

  5. Eric Labastida says:

    What a babyface. Did baby drop the camera. LOL

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