Monday, April 9, 2012

Photo Adventures--Part Five: "Taqueria Time"

One of my most memorable photo experiences included language barriers and uncomfortable pleading for permission to take a picture.  Yes, I'm talking about taquerias on La Salle.  I chose taquerias for my 'sense of race' assignment.

On a hot, lazy Saturday afternoon, I decided to drive down La Salle and scope out the area for a photo opp.  I pulled over at the first taqueria I saw on my left: Taqueria Mobile.  It was about 2 p.m., and there were no customers.  I approached a woman hosing the parking lot down and asked her if I could take pictures for my class at Baylor.  She asked the owner in Espanol and apparently he said yes. I snapped some pictures, but realized I needed people to get a real sense of race and community.  I asked the owner if I could take his picture, and he hesitantly nodded.  He climbed up in his taco truck, put on his apron, picked up two sharp knives, and stared into the camera.  Perfect shot.  It made a great environmental portrait.
I asked the woman when I could come back to get some pictures of some customers.  She asked the owner and got back to me: 2 a.m.  A.M.?  I asked her.  I could have sworn we had some kind of miscommunication, but no. She repeated, yes, 2 a.m.  I asked if there was ANY other time they might have some customers, and she finally told me Sunday around noon.  I thought, okay perfect, I can do that.

I came back Sunday noon after church; there were only three people there: an old woman and two middle-aged men.  I asked them if I could take their picture for Baylor.  At first they laughed and said no. I tried to look sweet and innocent and asked politely again.  They flat out rejected me.  I was shocked by their severity.  I had a freak-out moment trying to figure out what I was going to do in order to complete this 'sense of race' assignment.  I got back in my Jeep and continued to drive down La Salle.  

A few minutes down the road, I saw a nice looking taqueria on my right, known to Baylor students as Taco Z.  I had never heard of this place.  Apparently it's where all the cool kids go.  Everyone let me know after hearing this story.  I pulled up to a crowded, modern-looking taqueria filled with people.  I asked the lady at the counter if I could take pictures for my class, and she didn't quite understand why, but she didn't see why not.  I then, of course, asked each individual table if I could take their picture. They all agreed. Victory!  I may have gotten some of my most precious pictures yet from this photo shoot; the kids were beautiful, and the joy and pride from their parents was so wonderfully evident.

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