A Haunting Ghost Town: Real de Catorce

Street in Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi

Street in Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosi

No wonder Real de Catorce, set high in the Sierra Madre Oriental in Mexico, is a designated “Pueblo Magico”. Making my way into the heart of the town through a long, dark tunnel that pierces through a forbidding mountain (the only way to access the town if you’re not on horseback or walking), while on the back of a rickety pick-up truck, I was suddenly catapulted into another period...

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Living Walls

Meik Won, Artist

Meik Won, Artist

 

While we often associate "living walls" with flora they can also be alive with visual art.  Ever since landscape designers and plant enthusiasts such as Patrick Blanc, launched this vertical gardens "movement" throughout Europe a few decades ago, we've been offered surfaces teeming with sedums, ferns, moss and so much more.

Concurrently, street art, also known as graffiti art, has also been flourishing in towns and particularly, cities throughout the world. As no surprise, Mexico, famous for its murals back in Diego Rivera's day, is also awash with creative and fanciful outdoor murals. Many have a social justice message too.

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A Lighter Touch

 
 

We all need humor in our lives, especially today. This little visual offering is about not taking things too seriously. It brings to mind Milan Kundera's title to his book: "The Unbearable Lightness of Being".

These rather simple photographs — more like snapshots from my iPhone 6, were taken in Italy, Mexico, and the Berkshires. They share a common theme: people or things that may also bring a smile to your face. Not particularly artistic, they simply hold a quirky flare.

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Enthralling Cacti and Agaves

 

Cacti and agaves, both succulents but of very different plant families, continue to be a source of fascination. Be they round, tubular, columnar, or sinewy, their majestic forms intrigue and inspire. With their quasi-indomitable nature that can withstand scalding sun, drought and the harsh conditions of desert environments, they beg for ...

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ALOHA!

Plumeria, the everlasting lei Flower

Plumeria, the everlasting lei Flower

Last spring, my husband, David and I decided we'd try something new: Thanksgiving in Hawaii with our three now grown kids. Years ago, when they were very young, we enjoyed an exotic Thanksgiving in Luxor, Egypt where the waiters wore fancy white turbans and the cranberry sauce was made with unknown ingredients. This time it would be mango, red pepper, ginger, curry and many more ingredients.   READ MORE

Dia de los Muertos

Today, on November 2nd, as I opened Google I was greeted by a purple "papel picado" or Mexican lacey paper flag. In San Miguel de Allende, Halloween or el Dia de los Muertos has become a big deal.  Here, the ex-pat community has contributed alot of imagination and creativity into what has been an ancient tradition stemming from a blend of Christianity and paganism. 

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Trainscapes

 
 

This series of photographs emerged while traveling recently in southern Italy. Digging a little further into this trainscape theme I rediscovered images I took on a Metro North train between Wassaic, NY and Grand Central Station. Here in the Berkshires, Massachusetts however, with barely a functioning train, I've simply shot old rusty train tracks with wooden cross ties stained with tar. Walking along the tracks led to a defunct bridge above the Housatonic River. 

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Ladies in Waiting

 

There is something beautiful, noble and, at times, deeply poignant about many of the older women I have encountered here in Mexico over the past few years. I have felt privileged to photograph the señoras you will see here in various contexts, places and times of the year. Be it in Oaxaca to the south, Veracruz to the east or San Miguel de Allende in the heart of the country where I spend six months of the years, they have a way of drawing me in. Some I have come to know well; others have been chance encounters including surreptitious photo moments. Call them "opportunities"...

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Oaxaca Journal

 
Organo Cacti: Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden

Organo Cacti: Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden

This past winter while inching my way along dirt paths in Oaxaca, my eyes were often glued to the sky. They could also suddenly shift to surrounding brush and trees. Not alone, I had joined a group of birdwatchers — serious  birdwatchers. Tagging along with them on this ten day trip, I was reminded daily of being an enthusiastic novice. However, I'm also a “card carrying” member of the almost 50 year old Sociedad Audubon de Mexico, giving me a certain credibility ... Read More

 

 

Celebrating el Señor de la Conquista

 
A fanfare of Feathers

A fanfare of Feathers

A few years ago, when I first saw Azteca dances all with intense drumming in the Jardin, or main square bordered by the Parroquia, a Parrish church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I was back in the Southwest. The bright and elaborate costumes consisting of headdresses with feathers of every color of the rainbow, the beaded gowns, and rattles on ankles, also took me back to another, Pre-Columbian era. READ MORE

 

San Miguel's Booming Street Art; Part 2

While sipping a cappuchino one cool morning at the café Buen Dia, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Colleen Swenson, a tall attractive woman with a full head of straight salt and pepper hair, spoke about the issue of “tagging” in town. Naïve as I am, I had never heard the term... READ MORE:

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Catrinas, Marigolds, and Altars

Presa.jpg

Here in Mexico, el Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead, is one of the most cherished holidays of the year. (And I say "holiday" because while it is about death it's also about the celebration of life.) Not just one day it encompasses four. November 1st and 2nd are the holiest of the days when now lost relatives and friends are invited to visit. Be it at the cemetery or at a candle-lit altar at home, overflowing with ofrendas or offeringsit is a sacred time. READ MORE