Visual Storytellers Discover Doña Ana

Photojournalists of the Journalism 412 class concluded its Small Village New Mexico Project, Spring 2017, with a visit to the community of Doña Ana, the oldest in southern New Mexico that was established along El Camino Real. Former state Sen. Mary Jane Garcia caught up with some students touring her village and told them about her village history and also her ancestors, the De La O family.

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What’s on your keys?

By Patrick Medina

A person never realizes or even pays any attention to another person’s keys. You would be surprised to find out that sometimes a simple keychain can mean a lot to someone. There are also others who just have something on their keys just to have it.

Cassandra Trejo believes that peace is an essential part of life and shows it by throwing up the peace sign with her hand, has it tattooed on her wrist and has the symbol on her keys. (Photo by Patrick Medina)

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Meeting “Mary Jane” was a lucky encounter

Story by Alejandra Ruiz

During our documentary photography trip to the village of  Doña Ana, we met a really interesting person.  I was walking with my two friends; they were waiting for me since I recently had knee surgery, and other students in the class were a lot of steps ahead of us.

Suddenly we saw a  woman coming from her house and hurrying toward us. We stopped to talk to her, but we didn’t know who she was. She introduced herself, her name is Maria de Jesus Garcia, most commonly known as “Mary Jane.”

Mary Jane Garcia, former state senator from southern New Mexico,  is standing outside her house and telling photojournalists the story of Doña Ana during field trip on April 2017. (Photo by Alejandra Ruiz)

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The Quiet Places

An extravagantly decorated grave inside the Doña Ana Cemetery, Doña Ana, New Mexico, Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Photo By: Jared Bjarnason)

The world around us is busy. We all know and understand stress. We are surrounded by the constant bombardment of media – whether it be the TV, internet, or our phones. However, we should always try to visit the quiet places. Places we drive by daily, but never seem to have to time to truly explore. Sometimes, as photographers, we need to visit these places to capture their silence and document them for prosperity. Don’t be afraid of cemeteries or an old church.

Behind the pulpit inside the Basilica of San Albino Catholic Church, Mesilla, New Mexico, Wednesday, May 3, 2017. (Photo by: Jared Bjarnason)

Safety In Numbers

Students from NMSU Documentary Photojournalism class gather in the shade before shooting in Doña Ana, New Mexico, Thursday, April, 13,2017. (Photo by: Jared Bjarnason)

After the class met up in Doña Ana we set out to shoot. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Some us disappeared into the village to find the right images. Some of us congregated in the shade of a honey mesquite tree as we got our bearings. Wandering around alone can be a bit rough. We eventually found the courage to talk to strangers or attempt a shot outside of our comfort zones. When we first set out we found safety in numbers.

Students from NMSU Documentary Photojournalism photograph the city of Doña Ana, New Mexico, Thursday, April 13, 2017. (Photo By: Jared Bjarnason)

Many times we take pictures just because we like the way something looks, but these pictures were taken with more than just admiration of the subject, these pictures were taken with a lot of emotions. My cousin and his girlfriend are at a very exciting time in their lives, they’re having their first baby and a part from that she’s also graduating from UTEP this May.

I was beyond excited and proud that they asked to me take Margie’s maternity and graduation pictures!

Grateful for grads

This time of year always gets really busy, not just jam packed with schoolwork, but a bunch of photography requests, including graduation shoots. Being from  Las Cruces, it is really easy to be accustomed to “knowing” everyone, but not actually know them.IMG_6711I met Gina in middle school, she is  year older and I’d always see her around, but never talked to her. Because of social media, she followed me through Instagram and actively watches my adventure in photography.

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