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Gateway to Mexican Visions

MEXICO, land of contrasts.

And complements.

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Tree and broken stucco mirror each other's shape. Do these forms, like Africa and South America, echo millenia of continental drift?

Cared-for tree, broken wall.

Gardener and mason.

The gardener has just stepped out of the scene to get water; the mason is long gone, his labor crumbling but still functional, his rough clay bricks almost primordial.

In the center of the scene, a painter has tried to defy poverty and the passage of time. He has dash, verve; he has whited the mortar in its web-like pattern; that and the delicately lettered plaque say, "This is not a broken-down place, this place is loved."

One supposes the newly exposed bricks will be given an ocher wash like their older exposed neighbors.

Age contrasted with renewal.

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The mental exercise of studying relationships becomes a sixth sense that permits us to hear church bells above or through the smoky, ceaseless roar of traffic in Mexico City; that sees such grace in displays of fruit and vegetables by farmers on street corners - meticulous little pyramids of bracing reds and oranges; that feels the ancient tension between the Latin and the Mayan - more assimilated than comparable races in North America, yet held in a curious, inimical equilibrium.

"First resident" and conquistador.

Nature and contrivance.

Reality and myth.

These complements go beyond the classic sense of contrast in photography - light and dark - though there's that in this photo, too. Mexico's light is heat, and dryness, and altitude; the dark is shade, and humidity, and dreams.

Like this wall, Mexico's facade is also gateway, passage to new visions.

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