Award-winning photographer Joel Salcido is bringing his newest photography exhibit to his El Paso-Juarez roots. "Aliento A Tequila" consists of 38 images reflecting the world and tradition of tequila, from its production to the culture of historical Mexican towns in the state of Jalisco that produce the iconic Mexican spirit.
Born in Juarez, Salcido is an editorial and fine art photographer in Austin. He is a former El Paso Times photographer and photo editor.
"I had been looking forward to returning to Mexico with an opportunity to reveal the legacy and mystery of tequila," Salcido said. "I was able to photograph the culture and beauty still rooted deep in the soul of Mexico and its people."
The exhibit will open to the public Friday on the third floor of the Transtelco building, 500 W. Overland. Admission is free.
"In my journey, I also rediscovered part of my childhood as I traveled through the Tequila countryside and relived the cultural richness and traditions of those towns," Salcido said.
Community en Accion, an El Paso leadership organization, is sponsoring the exhibit, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week through Oct. 13.
Gilberto Moreno, chief executive officer of Community en Accion, described the photography exhibit as part of the organization's commitment to the arts.
"We are excited to share the work of a former El Pasoan with our entire community," he said. "This exhibit not only captures the agricultural aspect of the tequila industry but also the culture that surrounds the Tequila region in Mexico."
Salcido, 56, introduced his photographic exhibit in June at the Big Bend Sentinel weekly newspaper in Marfa, a far West Texas arts community. After El Paso, the exhibit will travel to other venues across Texas.
"There are a lot of good artists in Marfa, but not so many that represent our culture," said Robert Halpern, editor and owner of the Big Bend Sentinel. "It was a thrill for us to have a photographer who represents the Hispanic/Latino culture."
Alejandro DeHoyos, 27, a San Antonio filmmaker and photographer, viewed Salcido's exhibit in Marfa with his traveling companion Monica Vasquez, 26, an artist and art teacher.
"These are great photographs and especially relevant, with the history of tequila and Mexico being so close," DeHoyos said.
Salcido often talks about how he stumbled into the tequila project by luck. He was invited to a private tequila tasting conducted by the master distiller and general manager for Mexico's Tequila Don Julio.
A conversation about tequila and bullfighting led to an invitation for Salcido to visit Tequila Don Julio's home base, Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco, Mexico.
"If any drink defines Mexico as an identity, it is tequila. It's unique. They own it," Salcido said. "I try to reflect that pride as best as possible through this body of work."
As an El Paso Times photographer, Salcido documented the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, covered the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City and also traveled extensively in Latin America for USA Today.
He has received numerous awards including professional recognition for his work on life in Cuba and inhalant abuse on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Salcido's fine art photographs are now in permanent collections of The Austonian, the Wittliff Southwestern and Mexican Photography Collection at Texas State University-San Marcos, the El Paso Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Humanities Center at UT Austin, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Federal Reserve Bank in El Paso.
What: Photographer Joel Salcido will present a brief talk and read two essays related to his new "Aliento A Tequila" exhibit at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the third floor of the Transtelco building, 500 W. Overland.
When: Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, will run through Oct. 13 in El Paso.
(c)2013 El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
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Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Shots of Tequila: Exhibit captures culture of place that produces iconic Mexican spirit
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