Tag Archives: black & white photography

The guitarist

EASTER WEEK, or Semana Santa, brings tons of tourists to our mountaintop town. Tourists bring money.

And street musicians hope to score some.

I was sitting yesterday at a sidewalk table with my electronic book and a cup of hot café Americano negro when this old boy appeared and struck up a tune or two.

He got 10 pesos from me, and other tables also contributed.

If I’d had my best camera, the photo would be sharper, but I did not have my best camera. Maybe next time.

Man with child

kid

I’VE HAD A nodding acquaintance with this fellow for over 15 years. On passing, we nod, smile and say hi.

I have no idea who he is or what he does. But he’s always struck me as a good egg. I like him.

Yesterday, I spotted him downtown toting a tot.

Based on appearance, it would be easy to mistake him for one of the Gringos who live here, but he’s not. He’s Mexican.

Adiós, December

centro

I READ RECENTLY that more people have heart attacks on Christmas Day than on any other day.

The holiday season is not welcomed by many folks. It throws them into a fit of depression. While it does not depress me, the entire month of December is my least favorite.

Christmas doesn’t interest me because I quit believing in Santa when I was 7 years old, and I’m not a Christian, so the religious aspect means nothing. I don’t think it means much to many people, but that’s another issue.

I’m gracious when people wish me Merry Christmas, but my heart’s not in it. Before I moved to Mexico, my favorite day of the year was January First because it’s as distant from the next Christmas season as you can get.

Alas, in Mexico the hysteria continues till January 6, which is Three Kings Day, and that’s when little Mexican kids get their presents, not on Christmas.

My attitude toward Christmas was always a source of much conflict with my second ex-wife who is as pro-Christmas as I am anti. December was painful in our home.

Today is January 1, 2017, a fresh year. I dropped my child bride off last night downtown so she could party almost to the crack of dawn with a mob of her unruly Mexican kin, something she did just a week ago for Christmas.

She’ll come home tomorrow nearly catatonic from lack of sleep while I’ll be fresh as the proverbial daisy.

A few hours prior to dropping her off, I was walking alone down the hill there in the photo. It’s one of our town’s best perspectives. A New Year’s gift to you.

Many thanks to those who give me feedback now and then. I appreciate it. May 2017 treat you well.

For those who stay mum, may 2017 treat you well too.

Any ole thing

john

BEACH DENIZEN and blogger buddy Steve Cotton recently wrote about the tendency of some Mexico expatriate bloggers to run out of material, letting their blogs lie dormant.

When this happens I think it reflects a lamentable lack of imagination and/or lack of a camera.

Just this morning, while resting on the throne in the upstairs bathroom, I noticed this scene, one I spot daily about that hour. But today it hit me that it’s a bathroom scene rarely seen above the Rio Bravo, so I photographed it.

The upstairs bathroom is colonial tile, floor to ceiling. We have two other spaces that are colonial tile, floor to ceiling.

That would be the downstairs bathroom, which is far larger than this one, and the spacious kitchen.

Making this photo black and white instead of color caused nothing to be lost because the colonial tile is black and white, which was my idea. It was a favorite accent I used when I painted art furniture in a previous life.

The mirror over the sink reflects what’s behind me as I shoot the photo. The light in the mirror is on the ceiling.

So if one runs out of good material to write about, just grab the camera and shoot any ole thing. It’s fun, and then you can blab about it down below … or wherever.

* * * *

To  Mexico City!

Switching gears now, tomorrow my child bride heads off to Mexico City for three nights with a nephew, age 13.

I had planned to go too, but at the last moment I changed my mind, plus they will have more fun without the old codger in tow. It will be the boy’s first visit to the capital.

They will ride the Turibus. They will visit Chapultepec Castle. And they will spend nights at the Casa González just off the spectacular Paseo de la Reforma.

I’ve been in Mexico City a million times. It’s a hassle to get there, and it’s a hassle getting around while you’re there.

It will be the first time in almost 15 years that my wife and I have been separated more than one night.

I’ll be like a bachelor again.

The evening wall

walll

AS I STEPPED through the Hacienda’s steel door from the street yesterday evening, I spotted this.

The day was fading, and the sky was gray. It was about to rain, which it should not do in mid-November because it’s simply not right. We’ve had enough by now.

Speaking of water, I was returning from paying our water bill, which I do every four months. Most people pay monthly, but I pay four months at a whack just for convenience.

The water office is a block and a half away in a corner building on the plaza. The building is likely about four centuries old. The office is only open the last two weeks of each month.

A woman waits in there at a paint-flaking desk where sits a computer. I don’t know what the computer is for because she does everything by hand on sheets of paper.

The monthly charge for municipal water is 50 pesos, which is about $2.50 U.S. bucks these days. Water usage is not metered. It’s a flat rate for everyone.

And it’s the honor system. Nobody gets a bill.

The woman writes a receipt by hand from a receipt book she likely purchased in a stationary store. I leave 200 pesos for the four months, walk out the door and head home.

Opening the steel door to the Hacienda, I look up at the Alamo Wall, the monkey and the swan. It’s a nice evening in spite of the threatening rain, which did fall later.

Street scenes

carajo
Suicide house

WHILE MY child bride was peddling pastries on the main plaza yesterday, I took a walk around with my camera.

The upstairs windows on the above building open from the bedroom where my brother-in-law, separated from my sister-in-law after she tossed him out for philandering, accidentally shot himself to death about eight years ago.*

The same windows were used about a year later in a Nescafé television commercial. You see a woman sipping coffee briefly in one of the windows at the 0.55-second mark.

Not included in the commercial was the fact that the very bed on which the body was found still sat in the bedroom.

All of the street scenes were shot here. It looks more like Italy than Mexico to me, but it’s not Italy.

Continuing my stroll, I went down thataway and shot the next photo. It’s an intersection we call Seven Corners.

The black-and-white photos are fairly realistic because we’ve had some unpleasantly cool and rainy days of late.

Things will return to idyllic very soon, I’m sure.

truck
Seven Corners

* Don’t ever think a .22-caliber pistol is just a toy, especially if you point it at your heart and pull the trigger.

The old woman

oldlady

THERE IS A handful of folks I spot downtown whom I want to photograph. I just need the proper moment.

This old woman was one of them, and she provided the moment on Saturday as she ambled in my direction.

Amble is her top speed. The other is sitting on a stoop.

Another was this old fellow. I photographed him about a year ago. He has since died. Still on my to-do list are a man who makes and sells bows and arrows — he has a great face — and a couple of lovers I call Los Tiburones, the sharks.

Recently, the bow-and-arrow man walked by my sidewalk table where I was enjoying a café Americano negro, so I asked if he would pose for a shot. I offered 10 pesos.

He said he’d prefer doing it when he was carrying one of his long bows, not the relatively short one he was toting on that day. I said okay. I’ll just snap him when he’s not looking. Like my sister-in-law, he sports the nose of an Aztec king.

Los Tiburones are a young couple who’ve been an item since high school. They are now in their early 20s. I’ve been eyeing them for years. The girl is incredibly beautiful and rail thin. Her guy is good-looking too, but in a normal way.

I call them the sharks because they are ever in motion, making them difficult to photograph. Normally, I spot them as they sweep by me, going in the other direction.

The girl’s long hair is sometimes streaked with blue or pink, and she smokes, which is not what a skinny girl should do.

Just sit on a plaza bench, you two, just for a few moments, will you? I’ve never seen Los Tiburones smiling either, but real sharks seem dead serious too.

One day I’ll show you what they look like. Also the bow-and-arrow man with the Aztec nose.

The woman in the photo above is a street vendor. I don’t recall what she sells. She is remarkably nice.

She is so old and feeble, she can hardly walk. Sad.

* * * *

(As always, Felipe’s Fabulous Fotos can be found here.)

Dos vistas, again

new-image

I CALL MY wife a child bride, but hereabouts some people take the phrase more to heart and actually do it.

Walking around the main plaza the other day, I couldn’t help but notice this young mama for two reasons. One, her youth, and two, she was decked out like a banana.

The age of consent in Mexico varies by state, and can be as low as 12. In the State of Nayarit, it’s set at puberty.

Between 12 or puberty and 16, 17 or even 18, you’ve entered a nebulous zone, depending on individual states.

The entire matter appears to be legally muddy or, as Wikipedia phrases it, complex.

It was her attire that made just a black-and-white photo unfair. I wanted both views, and here they are.

color