Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, bordering Guatemala, and is known for its varied natural beauty, archeological sites, colonial architecture, and a diversity of peoples and languages. It is home to one of the largest indigenous populations in Mexico.
I began the Chiapas Photography Project in 1992 to serve the indigenous Maya population in the state of Chiapas. Communities in the region have long been photographed and represented by outsiders, and I wanted to offer Maya peoples the opportunity to decide how to use photography for themselves, to record their stories and create visual memories. My role has been not just to provide cameras and materials, but to support the emergence of new talent, new skills, and new ideas.
As the Chiapas Photography Project approaches its twentieth anniversary, I am very pleased with all that we have accomplished. What began as and continues to be a local project now has a strong presence in Mexico and abroad. Indeed, our educational objectives have expanded to include sharing Maya photography throughout the world and reaching out to other communities to provide tools for teaching about distinctive cultures. In San Cristóbal, CPP has touched the lives of hundreds of participants and support from the Ford Foundation has made possible the establishment of a major archive of photographic materials. My colleagues and I invite you to learn more about our philosophy and our work.