I made this image of the hard-working hands of a tile maker in a small, isolated building in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Martin was making all of these beautiful tiles to be shipped to high end stores in the US. He had very little English and I very little Spanish...but Martin had a great smile and welcomed me in to take photos and learn his process. Martin represented, to me, the story I tell my son about Santa.
The story of Christmas at our house is, of course, about the magic of Santa but also about how we celebrate Santa and the Elves as representatives of all of the workers of the world who make the things we use everyday...how they/we are all special and an important part of the cycle .
It will be the Elves I will celebrate this year.
The number of magazines published and websites dedicated to the dramas of the famous (or what Obama had for breakfast) is growing...and we keep buying and watching. Meanwhile stories told by photojournalists on sites such as Kobreguide and MediaStorm don't get nearly the attention they deserve. The "little people" are struggling and I want to tell their story.
In a recent NY Times Magazine article about George Carlin...I found some words to my thoughts.
"I am tired of being told who to admire in this country," he said... "Aren't you sick of being told who your heroes oughta be? Bein' told who you oughta be lookin' up to ? I'll choose my own heroes, thank you very much."
Martin, alone, in a small tile factory in Mexico, my first hero of 2009.