Opening LIGHT AND SHADOWS IN OAXACA – Nestor Ares (Argentina)

When I photograph, I walk the streets attempting to capture in my images what I see as the transcendent moments in everyday life, an insight into the nature of reality. I photograph for myself, trying to call attention to scenes that other people overlook.

Every photographic project I begin -regardless of its objective or place-, ends up being about people and their environment: their gazes, their work, their families, and neighbors. When I edit a project –even if I like its composition, colors, and mood-, I am always drawn to the people. Over and above, it is people’s relationship with objects and spaces that move me.

Mexico has a rich history; however, I did not take many photographs of its churches or colonial buildings. Yet, history seems to be imprinted in people’s way of relating to each other and in their sociability. I am interested in capturing people’s resilience and dignity and their daily struggles with the hardships of their environment.

During the Day of the Dead, Mexican families and friends gather to remember their loved ones through food, drink, music, and colorful altars. The souls of the departed are believed to reenter the world of the living during these days. In Oaxaca, people welcome the dead back into their families for three days, gathering in cemeteries to dine with them. To me, these images speak of joy, family, and respect.

Born in Argentina, Nestor is Chief of the Analytics & Decision Support Unit at the IDB and has lived in the DC metropolitan area for over 20 years, during which he has created numerous photographs.