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Mexican Block Party in Spanish Harlem

Burroughs Lamar | New York, United States


I was fortunate to meet one of the Administrators of this Mexican music and dance organization based in Spanish Harlem at a photography exhibition. It was, coincidentally, not long after President Trump was excoriating the migration from South America into the United States. I impressed upon her the need to have positive images of Mexican people to counter the images of immigrants as people who come to America to take jobs, were devoid of skills and would be a drain on the U.S. economy among other demeaning portrayals. I explained that my goal would strive to present her organization in a positive manner befitting any immigrant group. In so doing, I was allowed to capture one of their weekly rehearsals where there was much practice and technique involved in the beautifully choreographed dances. The elaborate dresses were expensive to produce easily costing well over several hundred dollars or more. There were other acts that wonderfully warm Sunday afternoon, but her organization's performance was the highlight. For all in attendance, were well entertained by Mexican culture on full display on the streets of New York City.

Burroughs Lamar is a self-taught documentary photographer.His serious photography began in 2008, through his ongoing project documenting African American life in his native born Harlem community in the context of gentrification.His interest in the human condition arises from his career in behavioral health, specifically forensic psychiatry, working with his clients, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Social Workers in the treatment of major psychiatric disorders.

With an acute understanding of mental disorders, most occur genetically, other factors include substance use, but most relevant to his photography, through life stressors.Community activism, social protests provide people with a valve to release tension and gain a sense of empowerment against forces of oppression.

The images presented here derive from a personal a project I did this summer.I was granted permission because they wanted a photographer that would understand and be sensitive to the LGBTQ community and respectful of their performance and not exploit them as a freak act.They are serious performance artists.For this reason, it was purposeful to show their preparation as opposed to just stage performance.



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