As Susan Sontag says, “photographers are nostalgic people,” and I couldn’t agree more. I am a photographer because I know that one day everything can disappear and nothing will be the same. I learned that after the forced disappearance of my father at the hands of a drug cartel. With photography I found a way to digest my depression and understand what was happening in my life. As humans, we are all threads in a larger weave of community knowledge. I want to document with photography the wisdom that has been inherited for many generations. My native state of Oaxaca, Mexico, still has many such practices, although they are at risk of disappearing. Typically these traditions are portrayed through an objectifying lens which only furthers their disappearance with its extreme simplicity.
In my photographic technique I like to use analog techniques. I develop and print by hand in the darkroom, using an alternative process with environmentally-friendly chemicals derived from coffee. This manual work gives the photograph new meaning because there is more to it than just an image. The piece acquires a feeling of depth because of the printing technique: it may have stains or marks and sepia tones due to the coffee that the developer contains. In other words, the photograph as an object also acquires a meta-message that alludes to the love for artisanal and sustainable processes.
Nostalgia is a feeling that reminds us of what we have loved and lost. While nostalgia can be melancholy, it also inspires hope to create a future that incorporates the things that we value most.