From March to May 2017, I took a series of photos in Mexico City.
I reached out to a photo editor of a magazine, who agreed that my perspective as a foreigner would be interesting. She said she’d include them in the magazine if I documented the locations of the images.
Shortly after I contacted her, I was hopitalized and left Mexico subsequently. I never sent the photos.
Four months later, the news wakes me up.
Mexico’s Strongest Earthquake in a Century Left Dozens Dead
I scrutinize the map of the damages in the city and wonder if what I captured still exist today. Many collapses are in the neighborhood of Condesa where I spent much time writing on a typewriter, baked pies for a friend’s family reunion and, over one particularly cloudy weekend, tried to overcome a bad fever that eventually led me to the emergency room.
I imagine how the earth moved all too suddenly, how the city was covered by the dust of loss, sadness and solidarity.
Is the hospital suite where I stayed still intact with its blue sofa and blue curtains? (I remember its harsh florescent light at mid-night when the nurse punctured my index finger for new blood samples.)
Had I sent these photos in May, they might have been published as daily observations of people and objects. But now, after the city and I have endured our respective calamities, this simplicity seemed inappropriate.
Whom have I remembered and forgetten? What did I see in those fleeting moments? Would the same moment repeat like the smile on the little girl’s face, or vanish like the lake on which the city was built?
I re-organize the photos and omit the mention of geography this time. I keep what has not dissappeared or altered: the curiosity and freshness that the city and its people have gifted a stranger.