Baja California ~ A Revelation

I just returned from the annual Frontera Grill Staff trip to Baja California. This was a first for me and I had no idea what to expect. Rick Bayless, the amazing, awesome and inspirational chef extraordinaire, has spent a lot of time exploring the area for his PBS show, One Plate At A Time. It was a fantastic trip. Here are a FEW of the highlights. I only wish I could recreate a tasting of the wines and foods for you!
Rick was presented a gift from the Baja wine growers

Adobe Guadalupe Vineyard

This area has many vineyards and each has its own character. We had many wine tastings and learned how the soil and the preparation of the wine influences the final product. There is so much to learn and so little time!


Chef Miguel Angel Guerrero's grilling pit...this meal was the best lamb I have ever tasted in my entire life!

The bottomless tequila container soaking with 50 year old snake 


Mercado El Popo

Local fishermen catching oysters, mussels and clams in sustainable aquaculture

 Eriza / Sea Urchin and Barnacles
Culinary Art School in Tijuana

Casa Piedra where all the buildings are made of recycled materials

Collaboration with Luis Alberto Urrea

There is something in the air. After I called out for the first creative collaboration, I realized that I had, in fact, just completed a collaborative project.

Two summers ago while traveling in Mexico, I was reading The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. (buying the book after I heard Luis do a reading at a fundraiser for the Ragdale Foundation).
While in Mexico City I had an "thin" experience on top of the Teotihuacan pyramid, where something magical revealed itself to me. When I returned home and contemplated the event I decided that instead of making photographs I would create an installation, influenced in part by those precious moments on the Teotihuacan pyramid and the magical realism contained within the book.

"Every second, even the worst one, is sacred."

I returned to Mexico again in 2011 on the annual Frontera Grill staff trip. This time I was drawn to the altars that are found in the markets, homes and virtually everywhere, where the sacred and the everyday merge.

I have always been fascinated by retablos, devotional paintings most often created on tin. I decided to create my own version of "offerings" that referenced the retablo. My attempts to write the text fell way short of what I felt in my heart. Then, one day a thought entered my mind... wouldn't it be amazing to collaborate with Luis Alberto Urrea?! It was like a lightening bolt hit me.

"Cooking is prayer. Eating is prayer. You never stop praying."

Well, the rest is history. We met. I shared my vision for the work and sent Luis the images. He sent back text he thought might work with the photographs. I was able to match the text with the pieces. In my wildest dreams I would have never expected it to work out as well as it did.

"Everybody knows that being dead can put you in a terrible mood."

"Plants are a big responsibility--how many have you spoken with?"

"Everything speaks, Child. Everything is singing."

"Love is the color when hopelessness catches fire."

"God has a worker's hands. Angels carry hammers, not harps."

"Life is so tart it stings the mouth--add sugar."

"Water is like the soul, free of sins--every glass is the universe."

"It never hurts to cook The Maker a snack."

"The work of the healer begins with the nose--they smell life."

I hung the work this past weekend in the entryway of Frontera Grill in Chicago. They are made of copper (thanks to my generous roofer who cut the pieces), paint, gold leaf, resin, milagros and xerox transfers. The pieces are much more vibrant in person. There is a "real time" luminosity that changes depending on the light falling on the work.

"Tortilla--made of sacred corn, light and rain. Round as the sun itself. You eat a miracle."

If you are in Chicago or passing thru, consider stopping by to see the work in person AND have a delicious meal!

Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/Xoco
445 North Clark Street Chicago
Lunch hours: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday
Saturday Brunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Dinner hours: 5:20 to 10 p.m. Tuesday; 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
(312) 661-1434

The Visitor

Last night I had an unexpected visitor. I was next door watching people's reaction to the worlds most elaborate Halloween display. A family of three strolled up the sidewalk to take in the scene. I had a feeling they may have been Mexican and inquired. They were indeed. I asked if they would be interested in seeing my Dia de los Muertos altar, which they were.

45 minutes later we were hugging each other goodbye. Her name was Yolanda and she was in the neighborhood with her family trick and treating. It turns out Yolanda was from Michoacan and grew up with all the rituals associated with Dia de los Muertos. She really liked the altar but proceeded to share other items I might consider adding. Slowly we refined the altar, adding a glass of water in case the spirits were thirsty, sea salt to keep the path clean, placing the candles in a bowl of water for keeping the vibrations high, and adding an apple and orange for nourishment. She spoke of the importance of having the 4 elements present on the altar...Fire, Water, Earth and Air. She also sprinkled the copal (incense) over the altar. It was truly an amazing experience and now I feel that the altar is finally complete and ready for welcoming of the spirits tonight, November 1st, the official start of Dia De los Muertos.

(note Yolanda's angel earring)

And Yvette, you asked if the altar would be up for the critique group next week. I am happy to say that Yolanda said it was important to keep it intact for 9 yes, it will be up.

Yolanda's mother lived to 120 years old.

Dia de los Muertos Celebration

12: 05 AM

It is two hours since the last guest left. We just had a fund raiser/salon for Ragdale . It felt like a performance art piece that touched all the senses. Art/food/ and friends gathering to celebrate and support the arts.

As I cut each marigold blossom from my yard in preparation for assembling the altar, I was thinking how extravagant it felt to have so many flowers adorning my home in addition to the 50 votive candles transported from Oaxaca. Flowers and candles are just the best along with the very colorful tissue cutout flags. My home was my pallet and when the sun went down and all the candles were lit, it felt like the entire house was floating on air!

The altar was dedicated to the Shaw family who founded The Ragdale Foundation which provides residencies for artists of all disciplines. I loved setting up my home to reflect the generous spirit of both the Shaw family and Dia de los Muertos, a life affirming remembrance of the departed thru celebration. The food was exquisite (as in transformative thanks to Howard and Kevin) and was followed by a fabulous talk by Chicago Chef Rick Bayless on the significance of food in memory, celebration and the creative process.

Every time I passed the altar I kept wanting to photograph it...just couldn't help myself!

The chocolate skulls were made by Nicole's Homemade Treats...and they were yummy! The mescal, Fidencio, was so smooth and from a distillery we visited this past summer in Santiago Matatlan, Oaxaca.

Happy Halloween and Day of the Dead!

The Thin Veil ~ Dia de los Muertos

As we approach the end of October, I am reminded of the "thin veil" that many people think exists this time of the year between the living and the departed.

© Jane Fulton Alt

Much of my photographic life has been spent exploring death and dying, one of the greatest mysteries and the only certainty of our lives. I have photographed and volunteered in hospice programs, been witness to autopsies, slaughter houses, and cremation rituals in Varanasi, the holiest site in India. I also traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico to learn how Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated. It was staggeringly beautiful. It is a holiday where families gather at the grave site to celebrate and remember friends and family members who have died. The cemeteries are filled with flowers and the flickering light from hundreds and hundreds of candles. Most families also build altars in their homes to coax the spirits back for a visit. These altars include sugar skulls, marigolds, candles, copal (an incense) and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

I do think that we, as Americans, have much to learn from other cultures that have long standing rituals which pay homage to their ancestors.

© Jane Fulton Alt

“To be afraid of death is only another form of thinking that one is wise when one is not; it is to think that one knows what one does not know. No one knows with regard to death wheather it is not really the greatest blessing that can happen to man; but people dread it as though they were certain it is the greatest evil." -The Last Days of Socrates”
― Plato


I just love marigolds...and I am not alone. In Mexico they are the primary flower in their Day of the Dead celebrations and in India they are often used for sacred rituals in their temples and along their rivers.

July 23

Today 64 marigold plants were lovingly placed in compost rich garden beds in anticipation of a Day of the Dead Salon and fund raiser we are hosting for Ragdale, one of my very favorite places that supports artists in their creative endeavors.

New Eyes

It feels like I have been traveling the speed of light during the past 2 weeks. Lots to process. I received some recommendations on what art shows not to miss in San Francisco from Elizabeth Corden of the Corden Potts Gallery . I had the pleasure of seeing a wonderful exhibit The Steins Collect at SFMOMA. Gertrude Stein and her 2 brothers, Leo and Michael, were among the first to recognize the talents of avant-garde painters like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. The stunning collection from the Steins' holdings included dozens of works by Matisse, Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It was breathtaking.

I then headed over to 826 Valencia to visit author Dave Eggers's (my hero) pirate supply store where I purchased new eyes. I giggled as I slipped the eyes into the Frida Kahlo bird box that contained the wedding cookies I consumed at the coffee shop at SFMOMA, a perfect container for my new eyes!

July 18

July 4th Chair Phenomena

July 2

Every July 4th there is a phenomena that occurs in Evanston as the residents approach their beloved 4th of July parade. EVERYONE wants front row seats. The chairs start lining up days in advance.

And for the past 14 years of the July 4th holidays, I have been in Mexico (or on route) with Chicago's Premier Chef, Rick Bayless, and his staff. This year is no exception. Three regional cuisines in 4 days; Mexico City, Puebla and Oaxaca! I hope to be posting from south of the border with my trusty iphone.

Blessings of the Butterflies

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?" Frida Kahlo, 1953

I have just completed an installation in the entryway of Frontera Grill/ Topolobampo in Chicago. As many of you know, I have travelled for the past 12 years with award winning chef Rick Bayless and his wonderful staff to Mexico to become more familiar the culinary and cultural riches of each state. Every year I come back with photographs and mount a show from a particular region.

The idea for the current work was born on top of a pyramid at Teotihuacan just outside Mexico City. It was noon as I reached the peak of the Pyramid of the Sun. The quiet and gentle breezes were caressing my overheated body under the blazing sun. Much to my surprise and delight, I spotted many butterflies flittering about. The guide explained that the butterflies always appear at noon. The ancients believed the butterflies were reincarniated manifestations of the holy priests. It was a magical moment.

We also went to the village of Tepoztlan in which there was a audible collective sigh from everyone as we stepped off the bus into the gardens. It is a serene, low-key spiritual town nestled between craggy cliffs in the state of Morelos.

The transformative gardens of Tepotzlan

While in transit I was reading The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (another Ragdale Fellow), a book filled with images of magical realism. We also visited Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's home (known as La Casa Azul, The Blue House), adding to my deeper understanding her life and work.

All of these experiences contributed to my wish to communicate a certain feeling I have about Mexico. Having conceived of this work was a bit like jumping off a cliff. I have not done anything like it before and yet it seemed, in my head at least, to convey the magic of the places we visited. An unanticipated surprise for me was to experience the flutter of the butterflies as the door swings open, ushering in the cool Chicago breeze. I have included some installation shots but encourage you, if possible, to experience the work in person. You are sure to also have a culinary experience extraordinaire!

Monthly Photography Magazine Interview ~ South Korea

The August issue of a Korean photography magazine called "Monthly Photography" in which I was interviewed just came in the mail. There is a 12 page spread, spanning many years of my photography career. I don't speak or read Korean but have the English translation which I thought I would share.

MT ~ When and how did you first start your career as a photographer? (What motivated you to become a photographer? On your website, you stated that you have practiced clinical social work for 35 years.)

JFA ~ I have been a part time practicing clinical social worker for over 35 years. When my youngest child began grammar school and some time freed up, I began taking art classes and decided to try photography as I had just purchased a new camera in preparation for a trip to South East Asia. At the start of the class I did not really understand the nuances or poetic potential of photography. I had an exceptional teacher, Richard Olderman, who taught me to see with my heart. I learned over time that the camera was just another tool for expressing oneself.

MT ~ Where and why did you shoot the ‘Burn’ series? How long did it take you to finish the series? Looking at the series works, you must’ve been working while the prairie was still burning, and that seems very dangerous. What was the most difficult thing while working on this series? What would you say the subject of this series is? What motivated you to choose this subject for your work?

JFA ~ The seeds of inspiration for The Burn series was years in the making. I have always been attracted to the mysterious qualities of smoke and fire. I remember passing an open field of burning fire while traveling in Mexico. I had wanted to photograph then but the circumstances at the time did not allow it.

In the fall of 2008 I was attending an artist residency at Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois. Ragdale is situated on acres of beautiful prairie land. While I was there the restoration ecologists were doing a small controlled burn. Controlled burns are crucial to the restoration of natural habitats. The burning helps reduce non-native vegetation that can crowd out native plants, allowing sunlight to reach very young native plant seedlings. I began talking to the ecologists and inquired about photographing with them. They said that would be fine but I would need to wait until the spring, as the controlled burns were finished for the season.

The following spring, in early April, I called them. As fate would have it the restoration ecologists were heading out to do their first burn that very day. I was elated....and was also the first day (actual hour) of my sister's first chemotherapy treatment. She had been recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The Burn was photographed with my sister in my heart and in my mind. There are many parallels between the prairie burn and the chemotherapy. The burning of the brush or application of the chemotherapy clears the dead underbrush/cancer cells, making way for new healthy growth.

This series has been physically and emotionally taxing for me to produce. After 3-4 hours of photographing in the smoke and fire, I am greatly fatigued and drained. I wear special clothing because the smoke saturates everything. It often takes months for my camera equipment to be smoke free. While I am photographing, I always dedicate the work to my sister. It has been a blessing to have this project to focus on while my sister is simultaneously going through her chemotherapy.

MT ~ Reading your statement about ‘Burning’ on your website, "While accompanying restoration ecologists on prescribed prairie burns, _I am drawn to the ephemeral quality of a single moment _when life and death do not seem opposed to each other, _but are parts of a single process to be accepted as a whole" you seemed to express part of your own grasp about ‘life’ through this series. Would you tell us more about what you have realized about life while you’ve been working on this series?

JFA ~ I have spent much of my photography career wondering about the larger questions of did we all come into being, how do we leave this world and what is the meaning of life. I have used the camera as a tool to try to address these issues. By drawing on my life experiences that includes raising a family, extensive travel and having a clinical social work practice, I am able to come to a better understanding of the life/death question. You can't have one without the other, just like you need to the dark to understand the light. If there were no darkness, light would not exist.

Death is one of the great mysteries that face us all. I do not think one can really live fully without embracing death and dying. By observing the natural world I am able to see the cycle of life more clearly and am attracted to images that reference both life and death in one image.

MT ~ Tell us how you first began working on ‘Katrina’ series. What motivated you to go to Katrina? Looking at the gruesome scenes of Katrina, I would say I could sense part of your feeling while shooting these scenes. Tell us more how you felt while working on this series.

JFA~ Like all who watched the tragedy of human suffering unfold for days on end following Hurricane Katrina, I felt a profound sense of helplessness. This feeling led me to volunteer my skills as a clinical social worker. I had no idea how my expertise would be used. All I knew is that I would be on a team of sixteen mental health professionals from across the nation.

I was assigned to a program called “Look and Leave” organized by the City of New Orleans. The program was designed to provide the evacuated residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, then scattered over forty-eight states, with an opportunity to return and view their homes for the first time since they fled the storm.

By the end of my first day serving on the “Look and Leave” program and viewing the remains of the devastated community, I felt physically ill. Following three days and seven bus trips, I had an unrelenting “Katrina cough” along with a pounding headache. The physical and emotional fatigue was so pervasive that I had to leave the site. This was a turning point for me. Within an hour of returning to the hotel room, something within me shifted and I knew I needed to do more . . . . I decided to photograph what I was seeing, with the hope of helping in a more concrete way by giving others visual access to my experiences.

MT~ Did you intend to deliver any message to the audiences through your work of Katrina? If yes, what was it?

JFA ~ On the last night of my first trip to New Orleans, there was discussion with members of the relief team about how we might be ambassadors for the people we served by keeping their stories alive and their needs in focus.

Our natural instinct is to try to generalize any experience. To do so about my post-Katrina experience would be unfair to us all. During the time I spent in the Lower Ninth Ward, I encountered feelings of frustration, anger, fear, helplessness, shock, despair, hope, optimism and love, both my own and those of the residents. The best and worst of humankind were revealed, as it often is in such extreme situations. I saw people looking to profit from the misfortunes of others and people who showed boundless generosity toward complete strangers.

I was privileged to be with families at an intimate and critical time, a time when daily concerns receded and what was most vital rose to the top. I learned so much from the people I worked with. Their strong sense of faith sustained many. But, most importantly I learned that what is essential in life is not where we live, where we work, what we own, or how much money we make, but how well we love and treat one another.

MT ~ Since you have worked as a social worker for more than 35 years, you must’ve engaged a lot with people and I think most of your work subjects are reflecting stories related people, human beings. However, it is interesting that in most of your works, figures are excluded but still show the trace of people’s lives. What do you think? What did you intend from not showing figures on your works?

JFA ~ Much of my early work from Mexico included street photography. There was a time when I was comfortable with shooting people whom I did not know. Then I became more self conscious about it. I guess you might say I became more shy. I am no longer comfortable taking people's photographs without their permission. In order to do a really in depth project with people, you need to spend a lot of time with them. The commitment is intense. I did do that with a woman who was undergoing breast cancer. In the end she felt the photographs were too revealing and did not want them exhibited. The photographs are really beautiful but will probably never be seen. Maybe that has something to do with it...It really takes a toll on me to dive deep into other peoples lives.

MT ~ Your first and only book ‘Look and Leave’ has achieved a lot of attention from American media. What kinds of works are included in this book? Please introduce about your book to our readers in Korea.

JFA ~ The photographs in this book were taken at time when I was in deep mourning for the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward and for our nation. I felt like a walking container for all the grief and sorrow that I absorbed while trying to support the residents as they returned to their homes. It is through this “lens” that the images were made. One question that has often been asked of me is, “Why are there no people in the photographs?” As a social worker, I felt it would be unethical to intrude on the personal lives of the families as they were trying to cope with their losses. When I did decide to photograph, it was with the conscious decision to do it before or after I reported to the “Look and Leave” site, thus avoiding any ambiguity between my professional roles as a clinical social worker and a photographer. I discovered that the potency of these photographs is due, in part, to the merging of the two professions at the moment the shutter was released.

MT ~ Mourning Light, Chiapas, and the first part of Mexico series look like you photographed out of framed photographs. Please explain about work process of these series and the reason why you have chose this manner of shooting photographs. What kind of effect did you seek?

JFA ~ I have always been interested in mixed media as a means of creating more luminosity, mystery and surface in the photograph. I applied beeswax on the surface of the Mourning Light photographs as a way of creating this effect.

The Chiapas series was created as a response to having visited the San Juan Chamula Church, just outside of San Cristobal, Mexico. I was not allowed to photograph inside the church but made images of the exterior and the surrounding areas. When I came home and began editing the work, I realized that I could scan objects that I had collected from various trips to Mexico and combine them with the images. This is what I did with this body of work. It all just came together with little thought. One of those wonderful moments that rarely happens! Adding the bees wax was another way of enhancing the mystery and giving the work more depth.

In my newest work from Mexico I am transferring xerox color copies onto a gold leaf prepared wooden panel and then pouring resin over the image. It becomes much less photographic and more about texture and light. The luminosity of the work is extraordinary and by doing the transfer, I loose some of the detail of the image. The viewer is forced to fill in the missing pieces or, even better, spend more time in wonder.

MT ~ ‘Visitation’ series look different from your other work series. This series seem the only one that you had set the stage and directed the scene with a garment while other series are not. What are you trying to talk through ‘Visitation’ series?

JFA ~ This work was inspired by a dream and a painting that referenced flying. This work addresses the non material, spiritual world; what we don't know but what could be.

I have always loved fabric and was a quilter for years before I became a photographer. I live on the shores of Lake Michigan and would always wait for the perfect weather conditions to shoot this work. The wind, the light and the cloud cover needed to be just right for it to work. For 2 years I would carry a 15" x 15" piece of fabric with me. Many, many images were taken but only a few worked artistically.

MT ~ I would say many of your works are close to documentary or topographic works except ‘Visitation’ (it is close to conceptual work to me). How would you categorize your works?

JFA ~ I think it is difficult to categorize my work as I am constantly changing and evolving. My photographic images reflect my curiosity about life and there is a freedom I feel with the photography in that there is no one I need to please, but myself.
It has always been "off limits" to others in that I shy away from commissions or commercial work. I am not interested in "branding" or having a specific style. I am only interested in giving expression to my inner voice.

MT ~ What are the most important sources for you to get inspirations for your works?

JFA ~ I think the combination of my life experiences and my observations on the bigger questions of life have been the driving force behind much of what I photograph. There is a collective unconscious that we all tap into. It doesn't really matter what country you live in, what race you are or what language you speak. We are all made from the same cloth and want similar things from our life. We are all born and we all die and in between we hopefully find love and meaningful work. I love the quote from Joseph Campbell..."The privilege of a lifetime is becoming more of who you are." I am still working on this.

MT ~ Tell us more about your technical know-how. What kind of camera do you use? Are these all film works or digital? Do you print by yourself?

JFA ~ I started the with 35 mm camera then moved to a hasselblad medium format camera for years. I had a darkroom in the basement of my house and I would do all my own printing. Then came Katrina. I had not planned on doing any serious shooting when I went there and only brought my Canon Rebel XT. Prior to that I had never worked digitally. I now use a Canon 5D and do all my own printing on the Epson 4800. I have also used the holga camera, which I adore.

MT ~ You are working in both black and white and color. How do you determine to work either color or B&W on each subject? What kind of effect do you purpose by choosing one?

JFA ~ I had only worked with b/w film up until Katrina when I shifted to color. I really like both and I think the project dictates the direction I go in. I just want to create the strongest image possible.

MT ~ What are you currently working? Have you started any new work series? What’s your plan?

JFA ~ I have been deeply disturbed by the oil spill that just happened in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been reading about the devastation to so many life forms. I am working on a conceptual body of work that will address the vulnerability to human life that is caused by risky drilling practices and speak to the broader issues of protecting our earth. There has been so much finger pointing but really, we are all responsible and we all need to find a solution not just to this spill but to all environmentally compromising practices worldwide. Probably by the time this article goes to print, the work will be completed.

I will also continue working on The Burn, which is an ongoing project.

MT~ What’s your goal being as a photographer?

JFA ~ Interesting question. I really don't have any goals as a photographer per say. I am interested in making the world a better place and have found the camera to be a good tool for that. I will continue to address social and spiritual concerns as they arise. I am also really enjoying mentoring other photographers. I have a monthly critique group in which I am able to help others realize their own vision. It is really fulfilling to be part of other people's growth and development.

back from Mexico City

Just returned from a 4 day staff trip with Rick Bayless & company....and some company it was! The people who work at Frontera Grill/ Toplobampo/Xoco are amazing in their passion, dedication and curiosity of all things Mexican. I am overwhelmed with all that I was exposed to.

The main food market in Mexico City , La Merced Market, is one of the biggest on the planet. Driving there was a challenge. What was normally supposed to take 10 minutes of travel time took a full hour, so we had to literally race thru the market as many stalls were closing down. We were instructed by Rick to stay close and follow. It was a great photographic experience for me as there was NO THINKING time, just reacting.

The market area is also known for flagrant prostitution in which women can be seen soliciting at all hours of the day and night.
Merced is considered to be a “tolerance zone” for prostitution, meaning that police generally do not intervene. Prostitution exists in just about all parts of Mexico City but it is most obvious here.

more to follow....

Back from San Miguel de Allende

Just returned from a FABULOUS annual staff trip to Mexico with Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill. It was four days filled with incredible beauty, exquisite food and laughter to last a life time! The early morning light over the mountains surrounding Mexico City was breathtaking.

We stayed at a wonderful hotel called Casa Luna in San Miguel de Allende and then went out to the Quinta Casa Luna property with 3 kitchens!The staff was challenged with going to the local markets and cooking a dinner extraordinaire. Watching it all unfold was one of those peak life experiences...right out of Babette's Feast (if you haven't seen the movie, it is a must).

I find myself coming up short in describing the incredible allure of the region. We also spent a day at the Hacienda Las Trancas in Dolores Hidalgo going horseback riding and having another wonderful meal.

A few other food highlights of the region are El Comal de Dona Meche, Conservas Santa Rosa, and the zocalo in Dolores Hidalgo for "nieves" or ices.
The Conservas Santa Rosa is a woman's cooperative where they make jams, candies, liquors and the like. We also learned of another woman's cooperative while dining at Nicos in Gueretaro where they are raising rabbit in a very arid region.
It seems likes woman's cooperatives are popping up all over. I went to a Care conference in Washington DC last month and most of their efforts are geared toward woman and children...and successfully.

Just a reminder about the photographic workshop, "Refining Your Creative Vision," that I will be teaching in January in a small village called
Zacoalco de Torres, just an hour from Guadalajara. You can learn more about it here.

Cinco de Mayo

In observance of Cinco de Mayo, the day that Mexico declared its independence from mother Spain, I will be giving a short talk at Morton College on my Mexico portfolio, part of which is on exhibit there. If you are in the area, please stop by. The reception will be at 2pm.


I cross the threshold into a world I have forgotten…
a place suspended in time.

The glow of a shimmering sea of light awaits me as I tread on the
pine needle carpeted floor,
breathing in the scent of the burning copal.

Sounds of whispered chattering, groaning, and chanting abound
while eggs are rubbed over an ailing body.

Invoking holy names, a curandero
abruptly snaps the neck of an unsuspecting chicken.

As liquid offerings of firewater and coca cola overflow,
expelling evil spirits with each burp.

A host of Saints, generously adorned with milagros and photographs,
preside in silence.