Category Archives: photography

Remember, remember, the 5th of November

Photo I shot at Mexico City.

Remember, remember, the 5th of November.

There is a crisis with police worldwide. It’s not just a one-nation phenomenon.

Civilians are having trouble with police — aggressive, authoritarian, corrupt, insensitive, and racist. Yours truly too. It is not an issue of complying or not anymore. It is not an issue of criminal activity anymore. It is about undermining democracy and freedom (if any).

For those of us who have had issues with police for NO reason is frustrating for other police or authorities to understand. Especially here in Mexico, where laws are only a list of good will.

This ends up ultimately with world governments, they inability to see the issue. We ended up in a police state world, where the Internet, free speech, or even carrying a camera at a demonstration is far worse offense than rape, kidnapping, or mass murder.

Criminals all around the world are getting a nice treatment — warlorlds, drug pins, and mass shooters. We the people have become the scapegoats for the blunt inefficiency of police. Their frustrations vent on us.

We should remind the police (the bad apples that is) that we are the more. That they work for us. That they serve and protect us, not themselves. The moment we begin to do this reminding to police corporations around the world, the moment democracy has failed — though we need to do something to mend it.

Unless you don’t believe in democracy, the police should be held accountable for their actions — the good and the bad. Good actions should be rewarded, yes. Bad actions from police should have the most severe repercusions.

If you’re interested in how a system becomes rotten check out my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, and see how Yacanes and Atotoztli defended their love in Ancient Mexico against the actions of the High Ruler’s police.

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Mexico City metro area — what is it?

Photo I shot at Cuautitlan, Mexico.

Mexico City metro area is gigantic. Not only it spans over a large area but it’s also over-populated. There is a Federal District, locally known as DF — Mexico City proper. Surrounding it is the other metropolitan area in the State of Mexico.

Outside the DF limits there are 22 municipalities, to explain each one is a hard task (perhaps for another post). Each has its goodies and its bad sides, as with any place.

The northern municipalities of Mexico City’s metro area is the more vast, it encompass Teotihuacan pyramids for instance. We could divide it in Northeastern and Northwestern, all beyonf the Guadalupe Sierra mountains. Tepotzotlan and Cuautitlan are here. Before the mountains there are other municipalities as well.

Then you have the western municipalities, more posh and upscale. They’re best attractions are the pine forests. Yes, in Mexico we have forests, sorry to dissappoint Hollywood.

On the East, behind the airport we have small towns that also have ancient ruins and yearly fairs.

Finally there’s the Chalco region and volcanoes, where the main attractions are obvious although there are also beautiful colonial towns and breathtaking landscapes.

If you’re interested in Mexico, check out my novel set in Ancient Mexico. Till Stars Shut Their Eyes, a romance and political thriller based on true events.

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Me doing a photoshoot

Me doing a photoshoot with my model CJ.

The behind-the-scenes shot of one of my shootings here the US. I am grateful to her and her lovely family that accompanied us during the session. I’ve always loved making this shootings within a family-friendly environment. Many have requested her for modeling, but she decided to try it with me. Professionalism goes beyond gadgets or the know-how, but encompass the human touch one imprints.

And well when two crazies meet supported by both their families, wonders are born. My wife accompanies to every shoot I do too. Not only for safety, but because it is something I like to share with those close to me. It is not a hobby or just work, it is me.

Photoshoot with a model. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Photoshoot with a model. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Ancient Maya writing basics

Photo I shot of my student Fatima.

One of my students learning how to write Ancient Maya glyphs.

First I taught them how to transliterate their name phonetically into Maya glyphs. This in order to grasp the concept of constructing Maya cartouches.

A Maya cartouche is composed by one or several glyphs.

Once they knew how to write their name in Mayan, we began building sentences in order to comprehend structure. One easy task was to begin writing using the TZOLKIN-HAAB’ DATE + NAME + “WAS BORN” sentence that was used a lot by the ancient indigenous Mayas. This formula was written like that in glyphs while read: In the year X of the month Y so and so was born.

If you’re interested in Ancient Mexico or native history you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

For classes in your city, please contact me.

Mexican girl learning ancient Maya writing. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Mexican girl learning ancient Maya writing. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Mexico City Public Transportation 101

Photo I shot at Mexico City metro area.

In Mexico City suburban areas and the inner city have different kinds of public transportation. In the Federal District, which is Mexico City proper, there is a vast subway, metrobus, trolebus, normal buses, cabs, electric cabs, tricycle cabs, a small commuting train, and a long interstate commuting train that connects with the State of Mexico northern municipalities.

In the surrounding area of the Federal District, locally known as Distrito Federal or simply DF, there is of course the commuting train, cabs, mexibus, normal buses, and what locals call combis (which are glorified minivans that swarm the almost 21 municipalities that surround Mexico City).

The one in the picture is known as a micro (pronounced mee-cro), which usually are outdated American buses from yesteryear. These micros roam in the metro area, while buses usually connect to Mexico City downtown.

Mexico City inhabitants and yours truly have to undergo the intricate public transport at some point. American cities are more car oriented but the Mexican capital is enormous and overpopulated that at times it makes its avenues and expressways useless because of epic traffic jams. After all, this is the third largest urban agglomeration of the world. Hence, its mobility problems are far greater and more challenging than way (way) smaller cities like New York or New Delhi.

I have crossed the whole city from one city limit to the other using only public transportation, it took me a bit more than 4 hours. And I was lucky, because I avoided rush hour. I did the same time one makes from Mexico City to Acapulco beach by car.

If you’re interested in Mexico City and its history, check out my book Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Girl on Public Transport. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Girl on Public Transport. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

There Is Always Another Day — Shortstory.

Photo I shot at Cholula, Mexico.

The sun went down to hide behind the volcanos. That afternoon was really chilly — a typical Central Mexico summer day. I was walking behind the huge Cholula pyramid temple (or what is left of it). Away from the usual tourist path, I discovered this track and field place. The air turned colder and windier as if the day hurried in vain despair to make its presence known, when it was well aware its death was inevitable. Suddenly the sky bled, gushing to the mountains and to my skin. The red hues signalled the looming demise of that day. And with his head high and proud the Sun realized it could not hold any longer but to fall into a dignified death — it was its time. So the Sun slowly descended into the pitch darkness of the underworld, not without glaring a final goodbye for a day that will never be again. I turned and no one was watching. So I realized the mighty Sun was waving at me, regal but sadly. My hands swiftly went to brag my trusty camera. But when I took it in my hands, it was actually an old camera. I was furious to discovering this camera instead of the new one I had. The final day’s light suddenly shone my eyes, they were reflecting below my. The Sun did not wait for me, for death does not way for anyone, not even the shiniest of stars. All it could do was to give me a monumental farewell that lit the clouds. So I took my camera, and trusted it would take one final photograph, for it was too the end of its life. Barely I could make it work. “This is it”, I murmured to my old camera. One last light for one last photograph. Two lives fade, two lives willing to leave one final effort for each other in order to be remembered. I shot the photograph, and then my camera blinked into its death. As I struggled to turn it back on the Sun blinked as well. I lifted my eyes towards the west, and the light dimmed into its doom. As the wind ceased and the cold became harsh, I sat to mourn. The two have died but not in vain, for both gave each other a chance to be remembered of their existence as one. It wasn’t just a sunset or an old digital camera, it was majesty. Their death was not unsung or ill-remembered since it brought hope for goodness in this world. Darkness now reigned but I thought, “there is always another day.”

Cholula Sunset. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Cholula Sunset. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Innocence in a boy’s eyes

Photo I shot of my model Abigail.

I wanted to mimic Renoir’s vision of women changing or bathing. Of course one of the great masters of painting did it in a time so different from our own. Today the idea of seeing a women in a private place seems more apt for a sexy webcam chat. Perhaps we need to go back to the basics.

Something that always struck me about the work of Renoir is the pastel rose tones that inundate his cadres (paintings). There are some of his oevres (artwork) here in Mexico City at the Soumaya Museum. They are my favorites to go and see. I see those rosy brush strokes bring innocence and peeping tom curiosity intertwined into one. No man can say, “Oh right, a nude women bathing” and carry on. There is an element of voyeurism in Renoir’s paintings, but more realistic, almost as if seen by a honest-to-God curious boy. And maybe, just maybe, this is why women are able to see his paintings without overtly censoring ideas.

His arrangement of innocence and voyeurism always defined the way I wanted to portray my work of portrait photography. After all, in case you haven’t noticed, I tend to paint, draw, photograph, and write poetry about women.

Abigail. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Abigail. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.