Twenty years ago, at age twenty-two, I set out with my camera, hoping to recapture the kind of moments I’d witnessed in the shanties and countryside as a child on visits to Mexico: clusters of children playing in shacks with dirt floors; an old man or woman recounting legends while eating a lunch of tortillas and beans; communities existing in a self-contained entwinement of warmth and want— which I found both beautiful and heart-rending.
While part of what I perceived my mission to be was to increase respect for those I was photographing, I was also fulfilling my own hunger to explore and find my place in society. As a habitual recluse and observer, being on the road allowed me to embrace my identity as outsider, yet also, with camera, to commune with others in a way I was not able to at home.
These portfolios of my travels chart moments of reverie. At times depicting the quiet and reflective, at times the boisterous and ebullient, the photographs chronicle scenes in which I fleetingly participated— images I hope evoke the admiration, despair, empathy and, at times, envy I experienced while encountering the people and places shown.
Isaías Orozco-Lang is a photographer and a traveler who has spent portions of the last 20 years on the road with backpack and camera. He was born in Guadalajara, México, and raised in the United States where he currently lives with his wife and their dog.