At the tail end of my inyercambio with Masha and Javier, I was starting to feel anxious about my trip to Arrazola where I was to meet Alma and Saul and ten or more additional members of their association.

I was not nervous about getting the bus to the park where I would get the bus out of town. I was not nervous about the time. I was on time.

Instead my dread was for the task of taking photos. What if my three (yes, I had three) cameras failed to function? What if, even worse, my pictures were blurry? Otherwise ugly? What if I have palsy?

As I arrived at Alma’s and Saul’s he had just walked out onto the street as if someone from the streets below had called to alert him of my arrival.

As we crossed from his black gate to his neighbor’s blue one, he informed me that I would be giving a presentation to the members of the association, and there they all were. He saw the discomfort on my face and made me laugh, saying it is a conference. He introduced me, and I shook each person’s hand. They each said their whole name. I said, “Mucho gusto” (nice to meet you). And them I began. At first, I sounded like a Valley Girl. The words sounded as pale as my exposed legs, but after I forgot about how foreign I felt, it worked. As I asked if there were questions, one man said, “I don’t have a question; I just want to thank you for doing this.”

I said I was grateful to get to meet so many people with such incredible pieces of work.

With a white tablecloth as the background, the artists took turns placing their pieces one by one for the photo shoot. They came in the order of who’d arrived first and so on. Because I will provide up to 30 photos for each of the artists, I snapped over 400 shots.

Returning home, I was afraid to lose my camera, afraid all of those alebrijes would disappear. Downloading the photos, the same fear made me stay up long into this morning to upload the mountain of files to the Internet to be printed and shared.

Though the photos don’t do these pieces justice, I am proud of what I will be able to offer.

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