By Ricardo Romo and Joel Salcido
When asked, “Why do you take photos,” Salcido answered:
For more than 30 years photography has been my companion on this journey we call life. Many times it has escorted me into the darkest corners of human existence. Other times it has opened the gates of light where visual poetry and beauty reside.
As a journalist, I spent half of my career framing tragedy and disaster and sometimes glorified in it. Eventually it chipped away and eroded my hope in mankind to a skeletal resemblance of what it once was. In my need to rediscover hope, I began to seek refuge in visual poetry. What has been one of your most memorable photo experiences?
I made a commitment to use the camera as an instrument of grace. And so “Spain: Millennium Past” came to be. My series is an interpretive documentation of an old world whose rich traditions continue to vanish with every century past. Spain revealed that the true wonder of tradition is anchored by an incessant human effort to celebrate life. I refuse to allow my photography to celebrate the worst aspects of ourselves and for that reason I continue to craft my awareness of hope in my effort to honor the beauty still within.
Joel Salcido’s photographic assignments have included much of Latin America for USA Today, the border region for Texas Monthly and Texas Highways, and the cities of Juarez and El Paso for the El Paso Times. His devotion to fine art photography took him and his family to La Rioja Spain in 1999 for a personal in-depth study of the region and its people. His photographs from Spain are now in several Texas museums.
Salcido, a native of Ciudad Juarez, the largest Mexican border town in Texas, moved to the United States at the age of seven. He grew up in one of El Paso’s low income barrios and received his secondary and college education in his hometown. While working for the El Paso Times, his employer for ten years, he covered a vast region that included the cities of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso as well as the Rio Grande Valley, and southern New Mexico.