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Alumna and Photographer Minta Maria Captures Spirit of Traditional Mexican Rodeos
For two seasons, San Antonio-based photographer Minta Maria, BJ ’04, has documented the local charreada, atraditional Mexican rodeo that originated in the 16th century among Spanish conquistadors. Her project, titled “Nativo,” is an intimate, ongoing portrait of the family-friendly Sunday afternoon events that include team roping, bull riding, and culminate in the paso de muerte, in which the charro, or Mexican horseman, leaps from his tame horse to a wild one, holding on while it bucks. “I love seeing the female riders,” Maria says. “They wear gorgeous dresses, show up at 5 a.m., work the horses, clean the trailers. It’s a lot of work and dedication, and their pride is really beautiful.”—Chris O’Connell
“The men and women who participate in the charreada are typically from a long lineage — it’s part of their family. Their parents and grandparents did it. It stays in the family. And it’s really hard work.”—Minta Maria
“I normally don’t photograph in the noonday sun. It was at first a challenge and now I really like photographing in that environment.”
“Their openness and our mutually respectful relationship allows me to photograph from many angles and really get up close.”
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