Alice Springs Photographer Blog

Oaxaca City, Mexico

Central Oaxaca with colonial style houses

Beautiful! It's a luxury to be moving away from American culture which seems almost too familiar in a way and into a culture with a little more texture and individuality. Oaxaca is a great place to get your bearings in Mexico especially if you've never been to Southern Asia or North Africa and experienced all the joys of difference. Oaxaca City bears some recognisable elements of past colonial days thanks to the Spanish the easiest of these elements to see is the architecture.

In the city centre you see street after street of colourful colonial style buildings giving Oaxaca City a very charming atmosphere. Its not until you get out of the city centre that you begin to see the real Mexico and I don't want to put any ideas into your head like rural poverty or something of the sort. It just were your made aware of the general living standards of "most" Mexicans which is not the charm of Oaxaca City centre is a country of more than 112,000,000 people. 

Away from Oaxaca city centre

The city centre is where you'll see the wealthy, the young and of course the tourists. This mix for any fresh off the plane westerner new to town is very reassuring after nearly everyone you've met the last few weeks told you that's it dangerous, you'll get robbed. After my first few hours in the streets I relaxed, I kept my camera around my neck and was not phased be getting my phone out to check the time or the maps. For the most part I was far from being the best dressed or the cleanest shaved so I felt quite at home.

The youth of the city fascinated me as with most places in the world they have been heavily influenced by western fashion. I found the contrast between them and the older generations which dressed more conservatively, very much like the town itself. Like the people the buildings were going through change getting a facelift and a new paint job to bring them into a new phase of their cultural existence. Once again both of these fade as you travel outwards of the centre to reveal the cultural and economic base lines. 

With the selections of shots posted here I've done two things which are quite out of style for me. One I've taken on a very voyeuristic, shoot from the hip approach to getting the photographs, not asking permission to take someone's photograph is an ethically cheap way of shooting. However this time for me I realised that the language barrier at this stage in the journey was too great as well as the shyness of the people. I don't plan on using this style where its not applicable for example villages and places where photographs obviously should not be just taken. I'd like to maintain my ethical stance here and always ask permission.

Secondly the shoot moved away from clarity of technique into a very loose style. I used manual focus and a shallow depth of field to get images that have little to no areas of true classic focus because this I felt added to the esthetic of the voyeuristic style. The release from technical sharpness I hope translates into a sharpness of style where the subject, camera position and technical looseness come together coherently.