First stop is the small village of San Juan Guelavia for the last day of the Feria del Carrizo. This pueblo, just across the highway from Teotitlan del Valle, is famous for its finely woven baskets made from strips of bamboo. We spent about an hour here before going on to the bigger regional Tlacolula Sunday tianguis.
San Juan Guelavia is a friendly town. If you ask, Podria tomarle su foto? Would you agree to have me take your picture? most people will respond positively. Of course, we always ask first because otherwise how would one get consent to take a portrait with eye contact from the subject when he or she is no more than two feet away?
At the Tlacolula market, when we asked, the response was predominantly NO. Some people wanted a fifty peso propina (tip). Others asked us to buy something and then they would consent.
One group of men said they didn’t want to be taken advantage of, to have their photos used in a magazine, even when we explained that we were amateurs taking a workshop to learn photographic techniques.
What do you think about paying someone to take their photo?
I managed to get some people to agree based on engaging them in conversation, admiring their work, and just trying to figure out who might be receptive. It’s important not to take rejection personally!
After lunch at Comedor Mary, on the edge of the permanent market facing the side of the Tlacolula church, we decided to return to Teotitlan del Valle where we settled in to Drupa’s Cafe. They are so generous here. With excellent WiFi, hot chocolate, pannini sandwiches, coffee and chai latte, we met here with Matt for a learning session on lighting and reviewed each of our ten best photos from Day One, that included feedback for improvement.
These photos here represent my person eleven best of almost two hundred photos I took today. And, finally, below, a husband and wife of many years, separated by their hand-woven baskets, wait for customers in San Juan Guelavia.
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