Over Dry Lands

The first photographs that struck me were snapshots of my mother during the 1960’s, after she and her family immigrated from Chihuahua, México to Phoenix, Arizona. My mother sat me at the kitchen table and pulled out a shoebox containing stained Kodak prints. As I looked at places that I had never seen before, and relatives whose faces were unknown to me, she spoke of her childhood and the wondrous memories that were translated in the pictures. While gazing at a portrait of herself at ten years old, her voice tightened as she recalled the pain of being separated from her homeland of México for the dream of a more prosperous America. As my mother ages, the details of these family stories shift but the pictures stay the same.

I began photographing my mother in 2009, one year after she was evicted from her home. A subsequent decline in her health left her deaf and often homeless. Influenced by the pleasures and terrors of home life in the American Southwest, I make photographs that depict fragments of the quotidian to suggest a very personal relationship to the borderlands—the margins where people make their lives.

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