We wander here and there in our desolate poverty

We are mortal men

We have seen bloodshed and pain

Where once we saw beauty and valor

We are crushed to the ground

We lie in ruins

In Mexico and Tlatelolco

Where once we saw beauty and valor

-Unknown Aztec poet

Three years ago a small Mexican town called Cherán saw its citizens band together to directly confront organized crime. As soon as I heard about this I left Mexico City on a bus and I arrived in the middle of the annual fiesta, the first fiesta since the town revolted. I began to photograph immediately. The pride of their collective accomplishments was infectious, there was an energy in the air that I knew had not been experienced for years. Confetti decorating a women's hair was never more meaningful, as she laughed while hand pressing tamales for her family.

The community fought against seemingly impossible odds; winning back control of their ancestors' land, winning back their cornfields and valuable forest, winning back lives.

The story of Cherán is not unique. Below the postcard sunsets of Mexico are families fighting with this soil. Taking a gamble with the hopes of winning enough to take care of their families for one more season. In the rare years a profit is achieved, it is usually lost to corruption. Life moves at a painfully slow pace, but amazingly, joy and celebration shine through.

These mountains are the backs of Mexican men. The two share a delicate relationship and in the end, they are infused as one. But one can not control the other.

This work explores life in these small Mexican rural villages where the government is not able to guarantee safety to its citizens. Where land gives life to the campesinos, but also breeds greed and can swallow you whole. 

Since the dawn of time, or as far back as humans have recorded history, Mexico's soil has been fertilized with the blood of its people. Painting the roses red. Flowers for life- flowers for death.

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