I have a strong affinity for Mexico, the place and its people. I have been traveling there since I was a little boy and have returned numerous times for personal and professional photography projects.
On a recent trip to Mexico, I visited the state of Tamaulipas for a couple of days and created this series of photographs on farm workers.
On a ranch just north of Tampico, I came across migrant workers harvesting onions from the fields. This part of Mexico, just south of the Tropic of Cancer and a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is ideal for growing onions, hot chili peppers, and soybeans – its rich, tropical soil yielding multiple crops year-round. The onion harvest is a hectic operation that involves picking the onions by hand. Once cut, they are left in the fields to dry before being trucked to a shed to be sorted, packed and ultimately shipped to market. To work the fields, a nomadic group of Tamalín Indians make a yearly journey here from the tropical state of Veracruz. Their weather beaten faces tell a story of many years of hard work in the fields under the relentless sun. I made these images in a shed and in the fields where they worked – in the middle of their day.
As a “commercial” photographer, I really enjoy what I do. Of course, there are great characters and stories to capture in any shoot – but I continue to be intrigued by real, every-day people. I try to seek them out whenever possible, like I did the migrant workers on this ranch. You can’t make any of it up – the authenticity of their faces, their culture, how they carry themselves or what they face in the reality of their day is endlessly rewarding for me.
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