Mexico. As a citizen of the United States, the country has become more than just our southern neighbor. It has become a hot-button issue. The country itself seems to be a point of contention. Immigration, “The Wall”, trade, crime, drugs. These topics all flashpoints for argument and also fuel that helped to put the Trump administration into the White House. Debates on issues involving Mexico are not likely to end soon, either. No matter how one stands on such issues, one thing is certain… most of the news reported to us here in the U.S. about Mexico is negative.
That being said, Mexico has been on my mind. I’ve never been there, but it has always fascinated me. I know depictions in movies and television are not the most accurate and news bits only give a taste, a sampling of more negativity. I wanted to see the beauty that I knew had to be there. I’ve seen fragments of it. And these fragments often fueled vivid, imagined scenes, often paired with the mandatory and ubiquitous classical guitar. I wanted to see photographs and I wanted a book of them. I wanted to be able to linger on the images and savor them. Fortunately, there were two fresh options from two photographers whose work I truly admire. There was Alex Webb’s ‘La Calle’ and ‘Mexico: Photographs’ by Mark Cohen. Due to budget constraints, I could choose only one. I ultimately chose Webb’s offering only because of the fact that I didn’t own anything by him. I knew he had worked in Mexico a good deal, and samples of his work from there were gorgeous. There likely wasn’t a bad decision to be made, but I must admit that I’m very pleased with my choice.