The title of the fireworks image on the cover this week is “Euforia” and is part of the Aliento A Tequila series that is featured in the book, “The Spirit of Tequila”.
Agave dates back to the Aztec civilization as an important crop in Mexico. Since the 1600s, the people of western Mexico have cultivated blue agave from the red volcanic soil that blankets the region, to make what we know as tequila. The Spirit of Tequila celebrates the tradition, culture, and myth of this iconic drink. Joel Salcido traveled across the state of Jalisco capturing images of distilleries and artisanal tequileras, including blue agave fields at sunset, the agave’s pineapple-like centers (piñas), elegantly shadowed barrel rooms (añejos), and, of course, the agave farmers themselves.
Nearly ninety photographs, with duotone images taken with a medium format camera―and others in full-color as digital captures, ―reveal not only the tequila making process but also the region’s traditions of culture and religion. Haunting and beautiful, a church spire is juxtaposed with a firework celebration in honor of the Virgen de Guadalupe. A Mexican charro rides through the streets of Arandas. Near Atotonilco, a horse pulls a traditional plow through the fields to aerate. Exploring the rooms and techniques hidden in the distilleries of legendary tequilas Herradura, Sauza, Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, and others, The Spirit of Tequila celebrates a craft that is rooted deep in the culture of Mexico.
The following excerpt from the book illuminates the context of Euforia:
“On a cool December evening, a raucous crowd gathered in front of the Parroquia Santiago Apostol in the town of Tequila, Jalisco, to commemorate the apparition of Mexico’s beloved Virgin of Guadalupe.
A nervous group of young and old surrounded el torito, a traditional wooden makeshift bull armed with a small arsenal of fireworks and explosive chasers. When the torito is hoisted atop a man’s shoulders, it takes on life of its own and begins chasing anything that moves—like a brave bull would instinctively do.
With one violent swing of the bull’s head, the fireworks rocketed into the waiting crowd. Ghostlike revelers danced in and out of the smoke, possessed by wild exhilaration. In this moment euphoria triumphed over every man, woman, and child.”
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