Photos by Ernesto Somoza

I created this project in effort to reconnect with my family. For many years my family was broken a part becoming a barrier between me and the Durazo side of my family. My interaction with my family started very early on but disappeared after years of having to deal with me. I was the troublemaker of the Durazo family. I was the child that my aunts and uncles did not want their kids to hang out with. Hanging out with me meant their children would most likely also get in trouble.  Trouble followed me like death followed the grim reaper.

As a child I was kicked out of Quincineras, uninvited to weddings, and dragged out of family occasions for starting fights or causing trouble. When I was in my teens I decided why even deal with my family so I quarantined myself from any family interaction. It was only at time of sickness and death that I found myself reconnecting with family. I find my relationship with my family interesting because I know how awkward it is for my family to interact with me. I know that it is troublesome because of the language barrier between us. I know how to speak Spanish and understand it, but I find myself in silence as I decide to not talk to my family. I have created this disconnect with my family. After the death of my grandparents on my father’s side of the family, the part of the family that I visited on a weekly basis as a child, I found my mother and the Durazo side of my family reconnecting. Death has brought my family back together. After years of argument and rivalry, I began to notice my mother reconnecting with her family. I feel like she did this because she would regret that if someone in her family died that she would have to live with the guilt that they died on a bad note.  It was only a matter of time before I got sucked back into the family like my mother had wanted for years. I found this troublesome because in the years that we hadn’t spoke, I had created barriers to protect myself from the drama of my family. I created a language barrier, not being able to speak to them, a distance barrier, not being able to visit them because of the distance between us, and the physical barrier of a border dividing my family, with increased security on the border and mandatory passports my family did not want to deal with the hassle of visiting México from the united states and vice versa.
After making this trip to make portraits of my family who I have not seen in years I was reminded that family is always there for you, that we have the obligation to be there for one another no matter what the problem might be. I was comforted, fed, and allowed into their homes and business’s, which I did not expect. When I initially proposed the idea to my mother, she asked me to change my topic, suggesting that my family might not want me to photograph them. I appreciate that my family has allowed me back into their lives. Doing this project I was able to reconnect with the family that I believed no longer existed in my life. The photographs that I have created are of my family members that I looked up to as a child and continue to look up to as an adult. In this series of images my family members are depicted as storeowners, grandmothers, grandfathers, ranchers, and proud members of the Durazo family. 

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