Seasonal worker
In 2019, I was working as a waiter in Mexico City. I worked a lot and earned very little. All my thoughts were focused on work and the little mental space I had left over on taking photos. I felt stuck. At some point, someone told me about cannabis harvesting in Northern California, where you could make a lot of money, in a short amount of time. It was a way to change my life and, also, it offered me the possibility to photograph something outside my daily life, which was eating me up alive. So, I saved my money and went there, not really knowing what to expect.
At first, when I arrived, it wasn’t easy to find work. Everything was a mystery and, at times, I felt hostility from people for being a foreigner or a “trimmigrant,” which is what the locals called immigrants who worked seasonally harvesting cannabis. After a few weeks, I found work and began a new routine, completely different to anything I had experienced in Mexico. After a few months of intense work in the mountains, I realized I wasn’t the same person anymore, and I remembered a phrase I’d heard: No one can remain untouched by their surroundings.
I started to question myself about this, wondering what it would be like once I left the mountain. The only way I found to answer this was by taking photographs. I had spent months photographing my work, day in and day out. Within that solitude, it became a way to converse with myself, to remain present, a way not to forget that seasonal me, that wasn’t untouched, and that person who was there to make money and take photos.
When I left there and arrived back to Mexico, I looked at my photos and my memories of fear, unrest, excitement and hope enveloped me again. I realized that these photos hadn’t been left untouched, not by my surroundings nor by myself, and that they became proof of that seasonal me.
I returned to Northern California two more seasons. Each time the work was easier, and I discovered new ways of photographing. Not remaining untouched by my own self in those surroundings with my camera, the images reappeared as memories and I unknowingly photographed them again, confirming my presence in both the present and the past.
Now I am back in Mexico again with no plans to return. The photos have continued to take on new meaning, just as my memories of me as that seasonal worker have.
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