El Paso, El Paso, El Paso: Photos that capture the spirit of Texas

I’m in El Paso, Texas for Rock The Vote. I’m shooting a campaign aimed at youth. I spend my days shooting portraits of strangers. The nicest strangers. Ones who agree to meet with me (a stranger) and open up about their lives in a way I’d be too scared to do at confession. Entering a conversation as a representative of Rock The Vote accelerates intimacy between me and the subject in a way I’ve never experienced. They are ready to share — and I am ready to listen.

I chose El Paso because of its geography. I wanted to experience a place where discussions about immigration, race, LGBTQ, and women’s rights were practical, not theoretical. I wanted to experience a place where the population is 80% Latino and that’s home to America’s second largest Army installation, Fort Bliss. How does a place that shares a border with both Mexico and New Mexico identify itself, stand up for itself, and become itself?

El Paso got under my skin. It’s complexity and beauty and ugliness and diversity were all honest. It is what it is — and even though it’s confusing, it’s not trying to be anything else. Authenticity and pride are as contagious as they are affecting.

Below is a gallery absent of portraits and full of pictures that look how it felt. To see how true El Pasoans feel about El Paso, visit Rock The Vote on Instagram, Facebook — or here.