In 2013, I traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, where I completed my Somos Uno Series. It was there that I began to explore the complex relationship of the people and land. Oaxaca contains a startlingly diverse range of indigenous cultures with roots that reach back many centuries. Many of the cultural traditions endure, from dying wool with natural substances to creating hand woven materials. Each individual has an intense connection with the land, through cultivation, and religious beliefs. It is the land that has also caused much dispute from the Spanish Conquest to the more contemporary disputes of commercial operations of fruit and vegetable crops. As I photographed in Oaxaca City and Teotitlan, I noticed the interplay of the natural world and man-made structures both contemporary and ancient, and how each space had a unique history. From the ruins of Monte Alban, a capital which flourished for 13 centuries from 500 B.C to 850 A.D to the concrete structures stalled in mid-construction for decades, this history endures.
In the last leg of my journey, I visited El Arbol del Tule, Spanish for the The Tree of Tule. This tree is estimated to be between 1,200 and 3,000 years old and according to Zapotec legend it was planted by Pechocha, a priest of Ehecati, the Aztec wind god. As I walked around the tree, I could not help but wonder about all of the changes that this tree has witnessed and about our own life cycle, how we are on this earth for such a short time and how this tree has outlasted so many of us. And so I titled this work together Somos Uno, for We Are One, the landscape and us.