About the Book
I was seldom without my camera because, for me, the Cholula-Puebla region is one of the most photogenic in Mexico. To the west are the snow capped volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl; and scattered throughout the region are small farming villages and, some say, 365 Colonial churches. True or not, the churches are architectural jewels, and a photographic challenge.
Of course, Mexico has many landscapes -- the dry and open spaces of Oaxaca that are reminiscent of Northern California, the damp-steep mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla, the rugged western mountains near Tepic, volcanoes both dormant and ready to erupt, deserts in Northern Mexico and Baja California, the flat limestone plain of Yucatán surrounded by the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the thick humid tropical rainforest along the Gulf Coast that penetrates inland for hundreds of miles.
Most everywhere you travel in Mexico you are likely to see the remains of an ancient civilization. One of the most spectacular, near Mexico City, is Teotihuacan (popularly known as “The Pyramids”), but equally spectacular are the great cities of the Maya in Yucatán, and those of the Zapotecs and Mixtecs in Oaxaca.
The photos in this book were selected from my Kodachrome transparencies and black-and-white negatives that are now archived by the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. With a few exceptions, they date from the early 1970s, and were taken with a 35mm Leicaflex SL camera using 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm lenses.
Lawrence G. Desmond received a PhD in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Colorado-Boulder; an MA in anthropology from the Universidad de las Americas in Cholula, Mexico, and carried-out archaeological research in Mexico and Guatemala for more than 40 years. He taught at the University of Minnesota and San Francisco State University. His books, "A Dream of Maya" and "Yucatán through her eyes," are about the 1870s photography and studies of the ancient Maya by Alice and Augustus Le Plongeon. His photos of Mexico and Guatemala are at Harvard University's Peabody Museum, photos of the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project are at the Getty Research Institute, archaeology project photos and research materials at Tulane University, earliest photos at the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley. He is a senior research fellow in archaeology with the MMARP at Harvard University, and a research associate with the Dept. of Anthropology at the California Academy of Sciences.