Powerful Portraits Explore the Culturally Rich Traditions of Mexico’s Zapotec People
Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows that their culture goes back at least 2,500 years. The Zapotec left archaeological evidence at the ancient city of Monte Albán in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs and grave goods including finely worked gold jewelry. Monte Albán was one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica and the center of a Zapotec state that dominated much of the territory that today belongs to the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Always armed with a camera by his side, Diego Huerta is passionate about telling stories through his photography. Born and raised in Mexico, Huerta now operates out of Austin, Texas, but makes annual trips back to southern Mexico in order to collect portraits of the vivid cultural scene there. Examining the traditional displays of the local Zapotec people scattered throughout the state of Oaxaco, he celebrates the fleeting relationship forged between traveller and a community that has existed for centuries.
Exploring the world around him by meeting other communities allows Heurta to expand his personal perspective; this initiative to gain understanding is something that has helped to shape his current career path. “I know it may sound like a fantasy, but when I look at the people’s eyes, that’s when I know they are the right person to photograph,” he explains in an interview with Instagram Blog. His vibrant photographs capture the animation and pride that these local people have in their age-old customs and clothing. “As a commercial photographer, that kind of human connection makes me keep my feet on the ground.”