This series of images began on the coast of Oaxaca (in Mermejita), Mexico. My husband and I were taking some time off from a couple of very busy years working, to relax and re-connect with nature and our bodies. Every morning for three months we hiked out to Punta Cometa to see the sunrise, and every evening we sat watching the sunset on Mermejita. We were also in an area of Oaxaca which is a sanctuary for turtles. There is a brief period of three to four days every year when over one hundred thousand sea turtles come ashore to nest along the coast. I kept on coming across Olive Ridley turtles that were old and dying. I’d try and push them out back into the ocean, and they would eventually come back up to shore and die. I decided to learn to clean the bones and also look behind the symbolism of this beautiful creature. I discovered that the turtle symbolizes Mother Earth as well as being centered and well-grounded in life—this really resonated to the reason I was living on the coast, to wanting to find myself grounded again and well centered. I also felt it would be a perfect starting point for a personal project exploring the spiritual connection between humans and animals. How this would look I had no idea, and so the project began.
This was the turtle shell I learned to clean for the next two months. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with it in terms of using it for an image. I decided it might be interesting to put on a persons back, almost make it seem like wings. I was looking for a woman that would have a shaved head to really show the full shell, and that same day I met Mariana walking down the street and asked her if I could photograph her. I then built with plastic tubing and thumb tacs two sets of wings where the turtle was hung while I photographer Mariana.
Here’s an image from my iphone of a bird taking a taxi ride on a turtle. The house we lived in on Mermejita, every morning we sat and drank our coffee watching whales, turtles, dolphins, flying manta rays playing in the ocean before our eyes. This project was also started in February of 2013, a celebration to all us snake women (Chinese calendar).