Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I found a box of old B&W prints dating from my Mexico City days and was immediately transported in the Way Back Machine to those dusty years. Here's a few of what I found.

Back in the early '70s I was enjoying an extended visit with a friend in Northern California who persuaded me to buy a pretty nifty Mercier racing bike. I began to ride all over the hills of Sonoma County, taking on mountains and grades the just thought of which makes me shudder these days. I got pretty strong and nimble with that wonderful machine however, so one night was stung by the insane notion bee with the idea that it would be a grand adventure to ride the thing back to Mexico City, where I was then residing.

(All my most dangerous ideas come in the early morning but I've still not learned to say no.)

I took this next photo in Hermosillo, Sonora, sometime into the second week of my grand tour. A kid at the local Chamber of Commerce invited me to spend my few days in town at his house, which I very much appreciated. This little baby was the new one in the household and the family loved that I took so many pictures of him. They used to give him his bath in an old corrugated water bucket, and that photo is my favorite. I'll have to look for the negative.

This was one of the first stops on my journey, somewhere around Sonoita. (By this time I was already wondering what the hell I'd gotten myself into.)

These kids are probably in their 40s today, I hope.

The original was a Kodachrome but it works fine as a B&W.

This was taken sometime later, after I was back home in Mexico City. I approached the young cop in the Paddy wagon and asked him if I could take a picture. He immediately went into his rendition of a formal pose, something that used to happen quite often when I would photograph Mexicans of a more humble origin. A portrait was a big deal and not to be taken lightly and of course, one wanted to present one's best side!

The cops in Mexico are no longer like this and I'd surely hesitate to approach any these days with a camera.

When this photo was taken, I was stringing for A.P., Newsweek and the N.Y. Times so got to go along on the new President's (Echeverria) road trips. I was in my early 20's, had long hair and was borderline "hipi" by Mexican standards but I still got away with showing up in some pretty unexpected places. Not that I wasn't being observed most of the time, like this Presidential Guard is doing. He was probably thinking "What the hell is this gringo doing out here with the Prez?"

We were getting ready to leave the beautiful island of Cozumel, where the President had just met with the then dictator of Nicaragua, President Somoza. Remember him? I know I must have a few pics of him around here somewhere.

My next installment will be a few images that I think have fairly important historical significance, at least for those into Mexican culture and history. They document my adventure into the mountains of Oaxaca to partake in the ceremony of the "magic mushrooms" with the very famous shaman Maria Sabina. That was a trip indeed!

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