CA126: Photographs of The Charro & Vaquero, southern california (2014-17)

   

     I spent two years living on a working citrus farm in Santa Paula in Ventura County (the last true agriculture county in Southern California). During my stay I worked with and gained the trust and companionship of the foremen of the ranch. As two Mexican caballeros, they taught me Spanish and how to ride on a paint quarter horse stallion named Palomo. In doing so they welcomed me into their world. With their invitation I attended private roping parties, quinceñeras, baby showers, birthday parties, weddings, dances, charreada (Mexico's national sport), and I rode in parades. The world in this series is not the west of the imagination, it is California today.  The series is traveling on exhibition and will be completed as a book of photography.

    It is my hope this work can precipitate cultural exchange that supports the integrity of the Mexican & American culture. The religious parades, the roping parties and Mexican rodeos (charreada) are some of the enduring flames of Western culture in California and the South West. Escaramuza Charra, an event with female riders, is a unique sport in that a Grandmother, Mother, Daughter and Granddaughter could compete on the same team. Charreada predates and transcends the US-Mexico border, and unites Mexicans on both sides of the border as one people. This project honors tradition and Western culture, but it is for all immigrants who work hard and have a dream to connect their culture in the United States.