Still Lives on the Streets of Oaxaca

GE McKerrihan
4 min readApr 30, 2022

Lives, With a Long ‘I’ — the Adjective, Not the Verb — Confusing, I Know

A man sleeping on the sidewalk in Oaxaca City.
“Angelic Face” — Image by Author

During my long years as a photographer, the Still Life has been an important motif in my work. The subject of this story is not that.

The striped blanket is clean, with a fold line showing down the middle of his chest. His clothes and shoes are not clean. I can only guess some caring soul covered him at some point during the night or early morning.

This is not an uncommon sight in Oaxaca City. Though his wide open, vulnerable position is a bit rare for street sleepers. I found a certain beauty in his sleeping form, almost angelic. His face looks so peaceful.

Man sleeping in a planter on the sidewalk in Oaxaca.
“Mezcal Makes You Magical” — Image by Author

I was able to enlarge the words on this man’s shirt which read, El Mezcal Te Vuelve Magico, which translates to, Mezcal Makes You Magical. I have a difficult time seeing anything Magical about this sleeping man.

Sleeping face down, with his covered head pushed against a dirty crate seems truly un-magical. I also find his back support belt a bit odd for his condition and posture.

He is sleeping in a raised, semicircular stone basin built into the sidewalk. I am not sure if it was originally a planter or some type of cistern. At least he is somewhat protected compared to the man above on the sidewalk.

Man sleeping on a stone bench in the park.
“Just a Quick Nap Before Work” — Image by Author

This image was made about 7:30 am in a small park. He is some distance from the street in a relatively secluded and quiet spot, away from foot traffic in the park.

Though he is lying on his back, his head is turned away. Arms across his chest and knees raised seem a more defensive, protected position. I walked up quietly, close enough to get this shot. He never stirred at all.

His clothes also appear in better shape than the first two men. I suppose it could just be an early morning nap. One never knows for sure.

GE McKerrihan

I’ve been using the camera for nearly 50 years. I write about Photography, Art, Travel, and Life. Top Writer in Photography, Art, Creativity, and Inspiration.


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