Photographs from Mexico, Cameroon and Nicaragua.
Photgraphs by Stella Johnson.
University of Maine Press, Orono, 2008. 80 pp., Numerous black & white illustrations., 10¾x8¼".
Signed copies available!
Villages seen down dusty roads: difficult to reach physically, and once there, difficult to enter and fully understand. Living off the land, daily tasks take over: hauling the water from the well, getting firewood. No flick of the switch. In my work, I live alongside the people and photograph moments of their lives to add to the collective memory. My Greek grandmothers were raised in villages like these. These are my roots and in making these photographs I find my home. My ancestry informs my work. In 1987, I went to Mexico to photograph women's lives. I found it wasn't that simple. Village life works on its own time. I came across Juanita selling her black pottery at her home on the outskirts of Oaxaca. I asked if I could stay and photograph. The next day I returned and asked again. I kept returning until my presence was woven into their daily existence. I have continued returning to Juanita's house every year since then. Each year, I've watched her family grow and change. I have become Godmother to her granddaughter. I found Carmen Roche in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1988. Cameroon followed and then Nicaragua. As I return to each of these places, I return to my roots. Years of memories and patience come together to comprise the photographs that have become Al Sol. My photographs reflect the collective human experience in the ordinary moments of daily life. My intention is to transcend those moments, elevating them into universal social landscapes. I am interested in the interior gaze, the external expression and the intangible social currency of everyday life. These intimate moments reference identity, family relationships, and life.