Salud y abrazo from the simple and humble people who are journalists in struggle.

1/2/2006 11:16 PM

Greetings from San Cristobal de Las Casas!

My Dearest Comrades,

Please forgive me that I haven’t updated you until now.  I hit the ground with the cameras firing and haven’t stopped.  

It’s been a few years since I’ve gone over 48 hours without sleep.  It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve undertaken a major documentary project.  It’s been 9 months since I looked through a lens for the first time since 1996.  

I cannot find the words in the English language to express how alive I feel in this moment.  This is what God put me on this earth to do.  To bring you the pictures and stories that make your heart swim.  It is my humble honor and privilege to do so.  

The “Other Campaign” is not a Zapatista campaign.  It is not a Mexican campaign.  It is the world’s campaign.  It is my campaign.  It is your campaign.  It is our campaign.  

You will find the news of the day from on the ground from many other independent media outlets.  They are set up to deliver the information to you in this fashion.  

I have chosen, rather, to approach the “Other Campaign” from a photo ethnographic point of view.  That is, to document the cultural phenomenon of the “Other Campaign” in the eyes of the people.  Through a persons eyes you can see their heart, their soul.

Photo ethnography is the art and science of representing cultures visually.  It is a subset of visual anthropology.  

On the morning of Friday December 30 I received an invitation to work in solidarity with the Amado Brigade documenting the Other Campaign.  At 6pm that evening, in consultation with my loved ones, the decision was made to leave for Chiapas.  Less than 12 hours later I departed Chicago.

I don’t know what I’m going to find here.  I don’t know what the project will become.  I only know that I’m not leaving.  I must do this.  

As a cynical middle aged journalist I came to Chiapas looking for a reason to believe.  

The “Other Campaign” will never end.  It is only a humble beginning.  It is a flow.  We are touring Mexico until July 2006 listening to the voices of the people.  I will remain with the campaign until its return to Chiapas in July.  


My code word for my inner experience of the movement will be called the “Other Project”.  As is the “Other Campaign” the Other Project is original and indigenous.  It is independent.  It is a dialogue.  It is inclusive.  It is non-capitalistic.  
I stopped in the church last evening and prayed for guidance and support.  I had my cameras blessed.  There is no patron saint of photographers.  My own patron is Camilo Torres, a man who left the priesthood to join the guerillas.  Camilo was killed in action.  I ask you most humbly to please pray for his intercession.   Pray for Camilo to guide and protect me along this photographic journey.  

As I left the church the Zapatistas entered the city led by Sub Commandante Marcos.  I jumped into them consumed in the moment, was nearly trampled and busted up one of my cameras.  Soon, hundreds upon hundreds of Zapatistas and indigenous peoples filled the city square.  With the voices of the people shouting Viva!

I cannot yet speak Spanish.  I came here knowing only a few words.  I could not understand Marcos’ words, though some were translated for me.  I could see it in the eyes of the people.  I could see their tears, tears of hope, salvation and redemption.  I must admit I shed a few of my own.

The tone was one of invitation and conversation.  

When you hear the news of the day, of war, of torture, it must seem sometimes as if the world is coming apart.  When you feel this way, visit with me here for a while and learn of something good.  

Here you will learn of one photographers struggle.  I will do my best to bare my soul through images and words, to make the best pictures I can.  Though many times I falter and stumble as a man.  

While I try to not repeat the mistakes of the past, like any human on the path of life, I am sure to make all brand new ones.  I’ll try to learn from those, too.  

At the end of our journey I will be assembling a book and an exhibition to share with you all.  The Other Project will be the only complete and comprehensive visual document of the Other Campaign.  

I will not allow this project to become infected by the cancer of the marketplace.  No corporate media.  No corporate sponsorship.  It is a self-governing autonomous collective.  

As I have shared with you before, often times the point of the journey isn’t necessarily to arrive.  The point is simply making the journey.  

I invite you to make this journey along with me.  In my heart I will carry your most noble hopes and dreams.  

Share this journey with your loved ones.  Share it with the world.  

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I am an ordinary man with a camera.  Every day I meet interesting people with extraordinary stories to tell.

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I cannot do this without your prayers and support.  While being anti-capitalistic, it does not mean that we aren't people of goodwill exchanging goods, services and ideas with one another.  We do this equitably and without exploitation.  

If you would like to become an angel along our journey, write us at otherproject(at)gmail dot com to find out how.  

If you’re unable to help in the physical world, then perhaps you will help in the metaphysical one.  Spend a few moments with the Supreme Liberator.   Hear the Good News of Liberation from sin, personal guilt and oppression.  And, share the Good News with your neighbor.  

This isn’t a revolution of guns.  It is a revolution of the heart.  

Let the world change you and you can change the world.

Join with us…  

Viva la Revolucion!

Hasta la Victoria Siempre,


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