Cumpleaños: A Photographic Essay

One Sunday at a Mexican family gathering in Bastrop, Texas, two generations gather to celebrate a birthday. Food, family, roving conversations, yard play, and machismo mark the moment. Upon entry to the town we see evangelical promises that form a common gateway. The site itself is rich with Tex/Mex custom and works-in-progress. Randomness and surprising juxtapositions add character to the property. Goats are pets — for now. 

Collectibles are currency for barters between families and friends. What isn’t sold is burned. Everyone’s abuela makes tortillas in her son’s small kitchen; the hotplate burners are fueled by a tank of gas inside. Things have qualities of use/re-use: the dumbbell anchors the goat’s leash; the house tea is made from the goodness of lemongrass that grows along the skirting of their home.

The life-history of the individual is first and foremost an accommodation to the patterns and standards traditionally handed down in his community. From the moment of his birth the customs into which he is born shape his experience and behaviour. By the time he can talk, he is the little creature of his culture, and by the time he is grown and able to take part in its activities, its habits are his habits, its beliefs his beliefs, its impossibilities his impossibilities.
— Ruth Benedict

Exposed: A Photographic Essay

M3: A Photographic Essay