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I need to write more – and I’m hitting the road again. Hence, every few days or so, I will write a short travelogue and publish it right here, leaving it to your kind attention. Feel free to keep me accountable, as deadlines seem to be the only source of motivation within the scope of my comprehension.
A cemetery of photographs untaken.
I find an immense value in photographing the daily life of ordinary people going through their ordinary days, in going off the beaten routes, in giving the spectacle of life the attention it deserves. I am also as far from confrontational as one can possibly be, and I value privacy – mine and that of others. Hence, as I stroll down the streets, I see and frame some perfect photographs which I never take. I don’t want the mere appearance of the lens change the scene unfolding. I don’t want the people involved to feel exposed or taken advantage of, I don’t want them to think of me as of a gringa with a camera in a zoo. Some of those photographs untaken come and go, I see them and I forget them equally quickly, but some others haunt me for a while. Here are the photographs I did not take in Tequila, Jalisco.
#1 A lady in a hat.
I had some time to kill before the bus. I had, by that time, seen everything there was to be seen in the tourist part of town. I had been to the tequila distillery and the entire old town. Therefore, I wandered off to the more residential districts. I was strolling down narrow, colourful Mexican streets, nodding occasionally at passing strangers, or staring at my feet, immersed in unnecessarily tangled thoughts. Out of a sudden, I almost bumped into two elderly ladies chatting casually on the pavement. I can’t remember much about the one who was standing with her back to me, but the one who was facing me was the character in the photograph untaken. She could have been born and raised back where I’m from – her short, curly hair dyed brown, her narrow lips and small, smiling eyes made her look like any Polish grandma. She was shorter than me, even the hat she was wearing didn’t help. She was wearing an elegant, orange and yellow costume with black ribbon sewed along the edges and the hat was matching the costume she was wearing. She was leaning against an orange wall, her body slightly twisted away from it. As I was passing, she looked right at me and smiled – and this is the photograph that I wish I had taken.
Many Mexicans don’t have a proper garage, but a small parking space in front of the house. Some of them build an additional room above it and separate such a half-garage from the street with a fence-like metal gate. As I was walking by, I looked into one of them. Inside of it, there was a pimped-up ATV with a metal frame built onto it, painted in masking khaki patterns. Inside the quad there was a little girl, sitting on the driver’s seat, her hair messy, her t-shirt pink. She watching one thing or another on her phone. She looked up at me curiously as I was passing – and here is the photograph untaken.
I did take a few photographs though. Here they are: