Wednesday, April 17, 2013

últimos días - last days

At this point, we would have been back home in Texas. Somehow, the timeline got a little messed up but hey, "It's Mexico, Man!". Also, I know I am missing some CD's. Where are my images from Puebla? And more from inside Diego Rivera's studio? (BTW per the WIKIPEDIA - Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez)

Diego Rivera - Images by Don Couch

 I know I had some sunrise volcano images as well as more studio food shots. I'm sure the Cd's will turn up as I start to sort the rest of the archive out. As of right now, I'm showing 2490 images spanning 98 CD's for the Mexico les of this project. At this point, I didn't know I was going to get the rest of the entire project. I had expressed my desire to both Paul and Marta to do that but didn't think it would happen. The next two legs were El Paso and Miami. No real loss there for me to not get those. Bur some time in the next few weeks, I got a phone call from Cindy. I still have the scrap paper I wrote to Brenda "We got the all" on as Cindy was telling me this. We were so excited. Spain was next. It was here that my laptop got stolen on day one, I met Mark Cooper, a dear friend to this day and I learned more Spanish.

final days - Images by Don Couch

 One of the funniest stories happened at the airport when we landed in Mexico City. At this point, I really didn't know Marta. We'd met about a year earlier on a developmental program for this project but that was just a one day shoot in my studio in Austin. I think the next time I saw her was a few weeks before we were scheduled to leave for Mexico. Anyway, before leaving the U.S., Brenda was so worried I would get ill from the food or water in Mexico that she packed canned chicken and crackers for me to eat. Well, we had so much equipment packed that when we landed, Marta and I just split up the bags to go through customs quicker. Unbeknownst to Marta, this "care package" of food was in one of the bags she picked to mule through customs. All of a sudden there are inspectors and custom agents clamoring around Marta. Turns out there was some kind of ban on imported chicken from Illinois or Iowa, some farm state. So the inspector had to check the origin of the cans of chicken and poor Marta is standing there probably thinking, "Why would he be packing chicken?". If I recall correctly, I packed that chicken BACK into the U.S.

National Autonomous University of Mexico - Images by Don Couch

Sunday, April 14, 2013


So now we are in Coyoacán (ten years ago but I'm beginning to wonder about the timeline) wandering around photographing. Not a bad way to spend a day. We found our way into an Italian school somehow, it may have been by design, I just don't remember. Maybe Paul and Marta might comment here and straighten things out. We stopped to get our souls cleansed (Mine took a bit more scrubbing). Like Xochimilco, Coyoacán is one of the sixteen boroughs (delegaciones) of the Federal District of Mexico City. It is one of the nicer parts of the city. At some point we came across an art show. It was an open street market. I bought Brenda some amber earrings here as well as a book. I also bought myself some clothes. I remember all the beautiful paintings. I felt bad photographing the paintings, kinda like a tourist would do instead of buying them but I wasn't there to shop. Except for earrings, books and clothes...

day 11 - Images by Don Couch

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Friday, April 11, 2003,  we went to Xochimilco, one of the sixteen delegaciones or boroughs within the Mexican Federal District. Xochimilco is known for its canals, leftover from what the extensive lake and canal system that connected most of the Valley of Mexico. Along the canals are man-made islands called chinampas. These islands were a way the ancient people of Mesoamerica grew crops on the shallow lake beds and lived on the islands. Today, colorfully decorated boats called “trajineras” tour around these canals and islands. Many of the locals have parties and celebrations on the trajineras. It was a lot of fun floating around the ancient canals of Mexico City photographing. The history of the Xochimilco and the lake itself are much of what made Mexico City so great. Lake Xochimilco plays such an important role in the history of Tenochtitlan, Moctezuma and Cortés.

Xochimilco - Images by Don Couch

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I meet Quetzalcoatl, Popocatépetl, Iztaccíhuatl and more

Playing catch-up here. Didn't realize how taxing a daily blog would be. So, ten years ago today, looks like I was back shooting on the video set. This time we were in some clothing store. What I have missed in the past three days was, more one video day at the ballet school in Coyoacán, we drove out to photograph the volcanoes "Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl", on Monday we photographed Museo Nacional de Antropología (I remember because like most museums, it was closed).

Museo Nacional de Antropología - Images by Don Couch

We then photographed Tenochtitlan.

Tenochtitlan - Images by Don Couch

We also had a Video shoot in Coyoacán

Video shoot - Coyoacán - Images by Don Couch

 "Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl"

 I'm trying to make sense of the cataloging system for the Mexico segment of the project. I'm having a little difficulty sorting out the days. It appears we were still referencing film as I have the CD's with folders inside called roll 1, roll 2, etc. If I remember now, we were trying to sort the different shoots we would do. So in one day we may have had three or for shoots and those may all fit on one CD so for example, the CD marked "HRW-MEXCIO CD65" has roll 41B,44B, 46B, 67B, 82B on it. then I have a note pad with a brief description of what each roll is. Again, remember, this project was ten years ago. I am just now archiving them to LIGHTROOM. I know the next leg of the project in Spain, Mark Cooper just put all the images into one folder and burn CD's with the file in sequential order. Thanks Mark! That should make cataloging them much easier now.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

¡Exprésate! - Day Seven

So at this point, we are mostly shooting on set. The video is in full production. I seem to recall being ill. Some stomach thing, something I ate without a doubt. Or I drank some water. It wasn't too bad I recall. I remember Marta and I burning CD's. A routine we would repeat countless times together in the coming months.
I literally have thousands of CD's from this entire project. Many of them I have yet to unwrap after ten years. I believe all of those are from the video shoots. I intend to open and view every CD for this blog.
I'm sure there are some hidden memories in there.

As I remember now, I had one Fuji S2 Pro and I rented a Nikon D1 as my back-up. It spent the entire time in the safe box in my hotel room. I remember it wasn't till after I was awarded the Spain leg of the project that I bought another Fuji S2 Pro as my back-up. It, too, spent it's life in hotel room safes.

Here are a few images from the video shoot as well as a group photo of the video crew.

Day Seven - Images by Don Couch

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day Six - Video Day one

Ten Years ago today started the first of many days I had to photograph on the video set. Part of the ancillaries to the textbook was a video novella. The story line was Paul is a stalker of young boys and girls. No wait... that was a different video. if I recall correctly, there was... actually I really don't remember. I know Paul played a character set to observe some students who unbeknownst the them were in line for a scholarship I think. Something like this. Anyway, for part of the project, I made images on set for use in the textbook. Here are a few out-takes from the next five days of video shoots. One of my favorite memories was a day or so into the shoot, the neighbors of the house we were using started raise hell. Complaining about the noise, the cars the people. This house was located inside a walled neighborhood of eight or so other houses. This is as best I can remember it. Anyway, it was like the villagers revolted and so finally to calm them down and resume production, they each received some cash. I just remember the next day they all were so nice, smiles everywhere, we were so welcomed - one guy in his new suit of clothes walking by smiling and waving. Pretty funny day.
video day one - Images by Don Couch

Monday, April 1, 2013

¡Exprésate! - Day five

My memory seems to be as hazy as my notes but if I recall correctly, saturday it rained and sunday was a studio day. I don't seem to have any images tagged for Saturday the 29th. It could just be the date was off on one of my cameras. If I go by file number, it seems after Sunday's studio shoot we went back to the Zócalo in the evening. It had rained and the lights was really pretty reflecting off the streets.

zocalo - Images by Don Couch

The studio shoot was fun. We photographed some kids in traditional dance costume. Challenging as always, my show up and shoot mantra. As this project progressed, one thing I began to realize was I NEVER knew what I was walking into. Even on the video set, which was always a zoo! Speaking of video, the crew would have showed up and it was ten years ago that I met Paul Provence. Little did I know the adventures that lay ahead we would share. And even more odd, he lives just a few blocks from my home.

studio - day five - Images by Don Couch

Ten years ago today, we had an early start to photograph the ruins of Teotihuacan. Marta, Paul and I as well as our driver, Alfredo headed off to the enormous archaeological site. My first of many ancient ruins we would visit in the coming months. Walking the Avenue of the Dead and climbing the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. I recall being told early on about the haze in Mexico City and how difficult the skies would be in my images.

Teotihuacan - Images by Don Couch

Afterwords, we ate lunch at La Gruta a restaurant located in a cave. Another first for me, Mexican caves, little did I know I was to visit many many more in the coming years!

La Gruta - Images by Don Couch