WEIGHT: 62 kg
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After 15 days, I was exhausted. Each day the heat and the humidity sapped me. I walked five to eight miles a day. I had a thirst I could not slake, even with a several bottles of water at a time. I lost nearly five pounds. My rented room held the heat and sleep never really arrived for long. The day before I decided to leave, I played basketball with a group of kids for 90 minutes. Afterward, my body barked in loud protest.
I answered by changing my flight. Part of me feels like I gave in, like I allowed a bit of discomfort to drive my decision.
Another part of me is soothed by the cool ocean air and the opportunity to stand in the scalding stream of the shower for as long as I want. That is the sound of seven biological decades exhaling in relief. I returned with a few strong photographs and with memories whose images are even more powerful.
I am proud of my photographs, but I am also frustrated by my inability to gather into a frame the vividness, in all its glory and in all its pain, of life in Oaxaca. When I stand on a Oaxacan street corner and see and hear and smell the chaos around me, I want the camera to vacuum it all in — the noise of the buses, the smell of the sewage and the food vendors, the hunched shoulders of the working men, the wide-bodied grandmothers making passage on the sidewalks with their hips, the sweat and the sun and the steam of the humidity.
I want all that in a photograph. That is the picture I have yet to make. In that sense, I return this time as I always do also with a sense of inadequacy, of lacking either the technology or the skill or both to fill a frame with all that I see and all that I feel. I feel as if I need to make this one picture. I need it to remind me of everything I have done and I do in Oaxaca.