Hard Times in Sololá
Many of the portraits which follow already hang on the cement block, adobe, bajareque (waddle-and-daub), and cane walls of their subjects´ homes. When a photo turns out quite well, as I believe these have, I give the subject of that photo a framed enlargement. Up until now, I have contented myself that, while my photos aren’t in any homes in the U.S. or Europe, thousands of humble households throughout the mountainsides and along the shores of Lake Atitlán do display them. Now I would like to share my photos of the Maya with a greater audience.
Within the Department of Sololá these days is a deepening sense of despair, defeat, and desperation. As things stand today, Guatemalans in general and the Maya in particular need help. In the event things get worse, however, I would have wanted you to have seen my photos. These are people who deserve our respect, admiration, and compassion. Therefore, if you ever have the opportunity to do something for the Maya, do so. They have been a little down on their luck for the past five centuries.
What you will notice about my photography and its recurring themes is that they are enormously female-centered. For that I don´t apologize, nor make excuse. For one thing, most Maya men wear American clothing. In every other aspect of life, as well, it is the women who preserve the traditions.
I am captivated by the warmth of the Maya mother for her children, her ability to carry far more than her own weight of firewood or coffee on her back, and her ability to do two or three things at once. Following, you will see women of more than just remarkable warmth, character, and work ethic, as if that´s not enough. You will see women, young and old, of world-class beauty and bearing as well. When the real photographers around the lake tell me how much more they know than I do, I say, “I know, but I have better models.”