In 1978 I exhibited thirty photographs—most of which are included here—at Temple University’s Conference on the Anthropology of Visual Communication. The title of that Philadelphia exhibition was: The Marketplace In Central Mexico. One of the observations I hoped to share at the time was how much of life was lived on the streets in Mexico, particularly in the context of commerce. For a person who grew up in a culture where food and other goods were sanitized and shrink wrapped, and where commerce was largely an indoor activity, it was exhilarating to see an expanded variety of foods, spices, flowers and raw materials being transported, displayed and sold out in the open. This combined with the festivity of performers and vendors who wandered the town centers, parks and marketplaces created an atmosphere of vitality and connection. In addition to the streets and parks being filled with people going about their daily activities, the quality of light and textures in Mexico combined to make it one of the most enjoyable places to photograph, particularly in black and white.
David L. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Communication and former director of the Television Center at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. His undergraduate degrees include Broadcasting (University of Cincinnati) and Professional Photography (Rochester Institute of Technology). His graduate degree in Communications Anthropology is from the University of Cincinnati. Before his tenure at Xavier University Mr. Smith was employed by Eastman Kodak Company (Rochester, NY), K&S Films Incorporated, Taft Broadcasting Company (WKRC-TV), Scripps-Howard Broadcasting (WCPO-TV) and Kent State University where he was production manager for the local PBS station. His photographs have been exhibited and published in special interest magazines. His work was featured in the March, 2002 issue of Lenswork.
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