In late April my good friend Enrique Matadamas passed away at the age of 86 in Matadamas Etla, Oaxaca.
Our friendship started in 2003 at the Pochote Market where he sold candies and assorted plants. He and his wife Sara became such good friends that I helped unload and load their goods at the Friday/Saturday market. Our conversations invariably inspired me and I proudly told visitors to the market that the couple were my teachers. Listening to them I would invariably pull out my small notebook and dutifully write down the dicho (proverb) that explained the world.
I took my first photo of these abuelos one day when the Pochote Market moved from the Arquitos to a new location across the street. No one from the market had told the clients about the move so the result was a fairly empty market that summer day in 2004. I took the opportunity to visit people I knew to upload the photos to my website. I tried not to be too intrusive, so I only pestered those with whom I knew well. Then came the voice from Enrique: “Aren’t you going to take our photo?” he asked in Spanish. I answered, “Only with permission” which I received time and time again.
The practice of taking photos at the market led to ten years of conversation and a deep friendship of which I am immensely grateful. Enrique’s family – his daughter and grandchildren and the extended network that share his name and the village of Matadamas – were equally kind.
I’d like to share some of my favorite photos and videos here. I’ll miss you Tio Kike (Uncle Kike) and I am so gratefully our paths crossed.