One Man's Journey of Traveling With a Disability
by Photos by David Bjorkman • Text by Victoria Thomas
In this book, photographer David Alexander Bjorkman tells the story of a world traveler now limited in his mobility by Post Polio Syndrome, the weakening of muscles in an adult who suffered Polio as a child. Turning his camera on Don Legg, David portrays the joys and challenges of travel on crutches and in a wheelchair within the colonial city of Merida, in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Easily fatigued and needing a wheelchair to go any distance, Mr. Legg now spends the winter months of December and January in Merida, never going beyond a two-block radius of the hotel where he stays.
David and his writer wife Victoria Thomas encountered Mr. Legg when they were working on their book "Climbing the Pyramid, Rediscovering Maya Mysteries from Chichen Itza's Great Pyramid." He occupied a hotel room a few doors down from theirs, and finally asked them what they were doing in Merida since people rarely stay in the hotel more than two or three nights.
After two years of seeing Mr. Legg in the hotel each winter, David asked if he could photograph his daily activities during one week. Mr. Legg readily agreed and allowed David into the small world reachable in a wheelchair, which includes the Sunday fair in the central park, the Cathedral, a favorite hot-dog parlor, and a university and theater that offers plays and concerts.
"Yucatan Traveler" is a photographic essay of one man's journey of traveling with a disability.
David Bjorkman has worked as a photojournalist and war photographer, magazine art director and book publisher. His photos have been published in more than 20 countries. As a photographer, he has been smuggled across borders at night and survived a chopper being shot out from under him. He has slept on the floor of a Lakota Sioux holy man's house for months while completing a book project. He has been a member of the Explorer's Club and photographed, while on an Explorer's Club expedition into the Darien jungle of Panama, the Choco Indian chief who taught jungle survival to the original U.S. Apollo astronauts. An avid Mayanist who has published six books on the topic, he has led tours to the Maya Yucatan region of Mexico, and scoured jungles for hidden pyramids. He holds an MFA degree from the University of Colorado, and has been a fine arts instructor and an artist whose work is held in private collections in the U.S and Europe, and has been exhibited in both galleries and museums.
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