I haven’t had the experience of traveling to a new place and giving myself specific guidelines for seeing and exploring until recently. I arrived in Oaxaca back in February to participate in a research residency, the recently formed Pocoapoca. The only problem was, my original plan of focusing on food, went completely out the window as soon as I arrived in Mexico, and realized the only thing I wanted to do with food was eat it.
And then my first morning in Oaxaca happened. It was right after sunrise, and chilly in the way Oaxaca gets when the sun is hiding. I was still groggy as I stepped out with my camera, but 5 minutes into my walk, I was wide awake, completely blown away by the light in the city. I new immediately that this was what I wanted to focus on for the week.
It was abstract enough that it made me feel outside of my comfort zone, and that’s usually a good sign. I spent the week feeling both overly excited to defeated. But my solo early morning and late afternoon walks were my favorite part of the week. I loved noticing the way the light would bend around corners and obstructions, the drama of the sharp angles. Or watching the activity in the public space change throughout the day: people finding any sun lit nook to get some extra warmth, in the mornings, and later seeing those spots abandoned in the hot afternoon for the shade. Overall, it was a pleasure to explore the city less aimlessly, following the light, finding my favorite places, and going back at different times of day to note the change. It was also a different way of shooting for me, as it combined both architectural and street photography - two things that I will be the first to admit I wish I were better at.
And a big thank you to Pocoapoco for inviting us to such an inspiring place to run around in, as well as the fellow residents. Throughout the week, seeing their process, listening to their thoughts on art, creativity, motivation, setbacks, etc, was invaluable.
Pocoapoco is accepting June applications. Do it!