Ana VictoriaTuesday, May 30, 2006
Rosemary, my daughters Ale (7) and Hilary (3) and I drove our Mexican VW Beetle from Mexico City to Vancouver in 1975. A roof rack had most of our belongings. Rosemary correctly decided that things weren't healthy in Mexico, at the time, for our daughters. Rosemary, who is from New Dublin, Ontario suggested that Vancouver was a better bet. She didn't think we would adjust to snow. In 1977 I still felt the pull of Mexico so I traded with Mexicana de Aviación, tickets anywhere in Mexico in exchange for some slides. Some of the photographs that I took in Yucatán of Chichen Itzá, Tulum and Uxmal became my first published photographs in a long defunct Vancouver travel magazine. I went to Oaxaca where there was a week-long festival. I went to city hall to get my accreditation for taking pictures. The noisy hall held many photographers and writers lining up for the same accreditation. Suddenly there was silence in the room. A striking woman, dressed in native clothing and wearing lots of silver jewelry, walked into the room, past the long line and got her permit immediately. I inquired who she was and I was told she was the writer for the magazine Siempre. Siempre is a unique magazine that publishes articles from the political left and the political right. It has some intelligent editorial cartoons and most Mexicans (I can only speak for men here) read Siempre at the barber shop. I was impressed. While I was shooting some native dancers, the Siempre correspondent and an older woman kept getting in my way until I told them off. The older woman told me I was rude but both moved on. Later on when I was strolling in the zócalo I spotted the two women having lunch in an outdoor restaurant. I cannot understand exactly what happened but suddenly I was facing them and I heard myself telling the correspondent that I wanted to photograph her. She introduced herself as Ana Victoria and told me that the other woman was her mother. She asked me to pass by her hotel after siesta.
She appeared in a a beautiful Oaxaca dress and it didn't take me long to realize she was wearing no underclothing. I attempted to take her pictures but was having a difficult time. She said that she was in Oaxaca to educate native women on natural and herbal contraceptives. She told me she was flying in a small plane the next day for a rest at Puerto Escondido and asked me if I wanted to come along. I explained that I had a tight schedule and that I had to be in Mérida that day. I declined. It was at this point that Ana Victoria told me something that I have never been able to forget or shake off.
"Most men are robots trying to pass as humans. Your tragedy is even worse. You are a human doing his best to be a robot. You are an extension of that device that you call a camera."
I never saw or heard of her again.