THE LOW RIDERS AND CULTURE OF ESPANOLA, NEW MEXICO

There is a small town in northern New Mexico that has an unusual creation story.  There is a common misunderstanding by some that low-riding was something that starting in Southern California. The locals hold onto this legend with all of their belief and there are stories out there that support the legend. Working on assignment documenting the life of the street cruisers, I often found myself in areas that further deepened my understanding of the culture, the people and the land.

The first image I had captured while doing the work is that of Alex. He was driving down the main street while I was driving next to him, waiving my arms trying to get his attention. As he rolled down his window, I cautiously rolled down mine. As we drove on the road we had a conversation that began with, “I need to take your picture, would you be willing to pull over?” As you can imagine, most people would feel suspicious and potentially scared by such a request, but after a few moments of consideration Alex pulled over.

One of the other serendipitous moments came late one night in a Walmart parking lot. I remember it was about 10pm as I drove up to a group of low-riders parked. One of them walked up to me and asked “What’s up?” I had mentioned I was working on a project documenting the low-riders of Espanola. He laughed and suggested I come back tomorrow and I did return, I would be welcomed to photograph a low-rider wedding. Let’s just say I returned the next day.