charlotte bell photo
Charlotte Bell Photography

I'm a free lance photographer in Austin, TX and San Miguel de Allende, MX.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” — Henry David Thoreau

The challenge of photography is to capture these moments in life. Every location and every person is unique so my work is always new, interesting and exciting.

Rich Roots life in rural Mexico

Rich Roots Life in a rural Mexican farming village as told through photographs and the hooked rugs of Las Rancheritas
The book is available through Amazon or directly from the author $25.

ABOUT RICH ROOTS

Rich Roots life in rural Mexico. Come with me on a journey. I want to show you another face of Mexico, the human face that few travelers ever see up close or can even truly imagine. I want to lead you, with words and pictures, into the Mexican campo, the rural countryside outside the colonial cities and glittery resorts that define Mexico for so many people. For it is in the campo, with its tiny pueblos and farming villages, that the true heart of Mexico beats, where the roots of the people go deep into the earth and their blood goes back for centuries beyond memory.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve been privileged to meet, know and grow to love many individuals and families in these rural villages. They’ve reminded me of what we all have in common and what is most important in life–family, community, tradition…and they taught me the importance of deep, rich roots to anchor us in place, hold us safe, and make us whole. Let me introduce you to these people and these places, to the hands that work, to the children’s smiles and the colors of vibrant imaginations.
To understand any culture, we must see it from the inside, as much as it’s possible for an outsider to do that. As Mexicans say, “El que no no sabe, es como el que no ve…. The one who does not understand is like one who is blind.” Let my photographs and words open your hearts and minds to the world of our Mexican neighbors so we can all understand each other better. I hope you’ll enjoy the trip.

When I think of Mexico I think of color: hot pink, neon yellow, aquamarine and cobalt. In Minnesota, where I was born, the “color” is white: snow, ice, potatoes, lefsa, bread, my hair and skin. I’m a grandchild of immigrants from Norway and Finland. I never saw a person of color until I was five years old. My world and myself were white as white could be. But my mother and father loved to travel. Our yearly family trips exposed me to new worlds, new sites, smells, colors, tastes and traditions.
So what happened to my husband and me in 1994 was not a total surprise. We followed the trail of thousands of North Americans to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, located high in a Mexican mountain valley in the central state of Guanajuato. It had become a mecca for artists since the ‘40s when the American Stirling Dickenson established an art school with a Peruvian, Porres, and a Mexican, Martinez. My husband, a fine wood worker, and me, a photographer, fit right in. By the end of our month-long stay, we had purchased, “the last cheap lot” in San Miguel. The next year, we built a house. I felt excited at first and then sick with anxiety. I was putting down roots into Mexican soil! What about my American roots? Could I be “rooted” in two places at once?
Through the years I have adjusted—sort of. I am a Cancer. When we move back and forth between our two “shells,” I become a crab until my exposed roots rediscover their place in the different soil. Fortunately, I have had wonderful teachers to lead me into my Mexican rootedness in their very different country and lifestyle. What a pleasant surprise it has been to have Mexican peasants for my best friends.

“Rich Roots”  life in rural Mexico

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