4th of July


I think this is an appropriate image for the day…

I photographed several veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion a few days ago as the group celebrated their 6th anniversary. The Battalion, activated in 1942, was made up of a majority of second generation Japanese Americans. Its said that many of the members joined the Army in order to prove their loyalty after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Born in America, they faced a racism because of the Pacific War. I wonder if the US could make a battalion made up of second generation Arab/Persian/Muslim Americans?

Would the lawyers, ACLU, and the public allow it?

Shizuya Hayashi was the first individual I photographed of the day. This is the last frame.

Mr Hayashi received the Medal of Honor for actions in Cerasuolo, Italy.

From the official citation:

“Private Shizuya Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 November 1943, near Cerasuolo, Italy. During a flank assault on high ground held by the enemy, Private Hayashi rose alone in the face of grenade, rifle, and machine gun fire. Firing his automatic rifle from the hip, he charged and overtook an enemy machine gun position, killing seven men in the nest and two more as they fled. After his platoon advanced 200 yards from this point, an enemy antiaircraft gun opened fire on the men. Private Hayashi returned fire at the hostile position, killing nine of the enemy, taking four prisoners, and forcing the remainder of the force to withdraw from the hill. Private Hayashi’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.”

Thank you.

Carrie

1992–I think this photo was taken. I took it with an old Mamiya 645–a camera I purchased for $475 from a guy in Austin. I really loved that camera. I should buy another…

The model’s name is Carrie. I remember I was taking photos for this young fashion designer. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just wanted to take pictures. Little did I know I would have this image. Carrie had such flair, I don’t remember much more about her. I really like this photo. I will revisit images from the past every so often.

Lidia

Lidia,

Thank you for giving me a moment to photograph you. Your eyes are mesmerizing. Haunting, translucent, showing something not everyone can see…a glimpse into your life…a life in Oaxaca…a student maybe…serving cafe and crepes to strangers from far away. did you think you’d ever be perserved in nitrocellulose and silver halide?

Taken in Oaxaca City.
June 15, 2007.
Tri-X
Mamiya RZ w/ 140mm at 5.6 at 90

See the rest of my portraits at marcpix.com under Projects and Portraits in Mexico.

Viva Mexico! y los estados unidos tambien!

We spent ten days in Mexico this past June. I had been to Mexico many times as I grew up in Texas and even backpacked through the country about ten years ago. I had been through Central Mexico as well as spent a summer traveling through Central America. I am very familiar with Hispanic culture, the history of the region and whatnot. This trip; however, forced me to see things from a much different viewpoint. Immigration issues, assimilation problems in the US, poverty in Mexico and wealth in the US. Living abroad, living in New York, visiting other nations gave me a greater ability to understand my heritage, my history, and understanding being American.

It’s easy to understand why Mexicans risk their lives to cross over to America to work and send money home. Many well educated individuals, young and old, did not have jobs. And when questioned, there were just no jobs available and those that were seemed to be very low paid. A friend told us he had been offered a great job with a great well know company but the pay was roughly $300+ a month. Mexico, as far as what we saw, wasn’t cheap. $300 doesn’t go far.

To see from American eyes the opportunities America provides to those and the lack there of for the average person in Mexico. From the small group of people we met, almost everyone seem to have or knew someone who was illegal in the United States or elsewhere. One girl, Minerva, even told us her brother’s girlfriend died in the desert crossing over. The many conversations had demonstrated the massive wealthy America has…

Yet why is Mexico so devoid of wealth? With all the natural resources, labor, and capital, why wouldn’t our neighbor to the south maintain a higher level of wealth for its citizens? Why do so many seek shelter in America? I can’t help but to wonder how NAFTA really helps any of us other than helping the shareholders.

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Our trip took us to Mexico City via Houston (about 9 hours total from HNL) and we spent several days in that really crowded, polluted, yet wonderfully historical mega city. Flying over DF took an eternity…as if the city went on forever.

Crowds, noise, pollution. Red eyes, a bit of a wheeze, and a sore throat.

After a few days we took off to Oaxaca in the south and ate great, stayed in a really great hotel, and found a really nice peaceful life in that region. Locals moved at a different pace. Many were very used to tourists and many were also ready to give us a tourist price for goods in the market. Massive churches, beautiful squares, wonderful parks…Oaxaca has a great feel. I do like Guanajato better but Oaxaca was great.

There is political strife in the region and the city as the political group APPO is demanding the Oaxacan governor step down after the murder of over 25 people protesting inequality, land reform, and many other social injustices. This is a complicated issue and I urge you to research more on the Oaxacan issues. I’ve been told that many of the southern states were not conquered by the Spanish and the indigenous peoples of the regions feel very independent from the rest of the bureaucracy of Mexico City. Isn’t this why Texas fell in the old days?

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In Mexico City, I contacted the Mexican rescue workers I met and photographed in Indonesia in 2005. Topos played an integral part of my work in Banda Aceh. The guys involved showed me such a different part of life I never would have expected. We stayed in touch and met (and drank way too much) with them in Mexico. We had a great time meeting and learning really bad words in Mexican (yes–Mexican as they said they were typically words Mexicans used.) My accent improved with every Negra Modelo and got really good once the pulque started flowing. Gracias Hector, Omar, Ramon and Juan Carlos…you guys touched us so much. We wish you the best in the future.

In the photo is Hector, Marco (that’s me!), Ramon, and Juan Carlos.

Here is pinche Hector, me, and el cabron Omar. –no mames wey!

Its just amazing that I photographed these guys doing this just a few years back. Recovering bodies from neighborhoods in Banda Aceh. Que vive!

We got to see Teotihuacán and one of the most impressive sights was the Templo Mayor. In so many ways it was hard to see the history of the Spanish conquest of the new world. Aztec warriors dressed as eagles and jaguars fighting Europeans with steel and horses–as well as disease. In my opinion, so much of that conquest filtered down into the masses, as to me, it seems that defeat has never left the Mexican conscious. I don’t know…I grew up American but I felt the defeat, the destruction of the once great nation, the massive Catholic cathedrals (European-Spanish temples) and oppression (religion, poverty, cultural, and racism) is so apparent to me.

Aside from all the social economic problems I mentioned…food was great, micheladas are wonderful, and people were really nice. It was difficult this time around but we did see lots of different faces and places. I did get to see a live futbol match on TV in the hotel bar. The locals couldn’t understand why I was cheering for Mexico over Panama but I guess they couldn’t see my heritage in my face. To them, I am just a gringo.

Fresh cabrito was unbelievable. It seems like I ate a whole goat at this one taco stand…

Church and religion had that old world feeling with the gild and glory…

and color seemed to be in everything. Americans don’t have the color and spice Mexicans have. With all that was lost I guess color makes life worth living.

All in all…the trip was successful and we came back with lots to ponder and weight to loose.

Dec 7


Mr. Takeshi Maeda is another pilot that bombed Pearl Harbor. During a seminar in Honolulu this past week, Mr. Maeda came across Mr. John Rauschkolb who served on the USS West Virginia. Mr. Maeda bombed the West Virginia. When the met, John stated, “you probably shot at me.” All Mr. Maeda could do was utter “I’m sorry…”

techie stuff…Mamiya RZ, 140mm. Profoto 7B, white umbrella. Tri-X. Yes, I shot film. Scanned on a Nikon 8000.