Indigenous Photographer Diego Huerta’s Photos Of Oaxaca’s Indigenous People Celebrates Their Beauty
Diego Huerta is an Austin-based photographer on a mission to photograph all of the indigenous populations throughout Mexico. His photos are giving people an intimate and sincere look at the lives of the people who have long called Mexico their home. July is a special time in Oaxaca for the indigenous community. The month marks Guelaguetza, a month-long celebration in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca highlighting the indigenous people and their contributions to Mexican culture. In honor of Guelaguetza, here are photos by Huerta taken in Oaxaca showing the vibrant and mesmerizing indigenous community.
Photographer Diego Huerta is capturing the wonder and majesty of Mexico’s indigenous communities.
Huerta wants to give people a true sense of what indigenous communities look like. There is something about seeing the communities people talk about instead of just reading about them.
“Nowadays the information that we have about the native peoples in Mexico is only numbers and statistics,” Huerta told mitú. “There’s no photographic documentation of each of the towns, we don’t know where they are, we don’t know how they live, we don’t know how they look.”
Huerta earns the trust of the communities and gets intimate photos that show the beauty within these communities.
Huerta doesn’t just walk into these spaces with his camera snapping. The photographer makes his presence and intentions known to earn their trust and the chance to document their existence.
“Whenever I come to an indigenous village, the first thing I do is talk to people, be interested in knowing how they live, be simply a human talking with another human,” Huerta says. “Then I tell them what I do and I ask them to be able to portray them, which in most cases they say yes.”
Huerta has spent years documenting Oaxaca and absorbing the culture in the southern Mexican state.
“I have spent six years traveling through Oaxaca, and every year people knew my work more, which made things easier for me because it was the same people who invited me to their villages to portray them,” Huerta says.
As someone who has experienced the incredible celebration of Guelaguetza, Huerta has one thing to say.
Guelaguetza is more than a celebration tied to a specific time of year.
“To live the Guelaguetza is to start living,” Huerta proclaims.” There are so many emotions to see the eight regions of the State of Oaxaca gathered in the same place that you don’t need to be Mexican to get excited, it’s simply a wonderful and unique world that’s lived there.”
It is crucial to document and capture images of the indigenous communities for several reasons.
Huerta believes that there is value in capturing proof of the indigenous communities to preserve our own history. These are the people who lived on these lands first and are therefore the basis for the people now inhabiting the land.
He wants to make sure that everyone who sees his images understands the greatness of human beings.
Huerta explains that getting people to see the greatness of human beings is the main objective of his indigenous photo series. By understanding the greatness of people and the indigenous communities, Huerta says that will lead to us understanding ourselves.
Huerta’s work within Mexico’s indigenous communities has endeared him to the very people he set out to document.
“On my last trip to the State of Sonora with the Yaqui people, I felt that I was already part of them,” Huerta recalls. “It was difficult to be accepted but after three years they saw me as someone they trusted and that made me feel very special.”