Cerro de León (Mexico)

That day I went out by curiosity and who knows maybe some kind of intuition led me to the town fair of modest Cerro de León only a few miles away from the shooting of Dana Rotberg’s Otilia Rauda, for which I had come to Mexico.

Friendly atmosphere, locals’ faces bubbling with excitement, there was plenty of mezcal (a national drink), final preparations for the most expected event of the day: the horse race. I just felt at ease among those simple and caring villagers. I had escaped the kingdom of touristy clichés or imageries.

As the race got closer, I was already behind the gate, a simple string of iron separating the scratched race track from the seats for the audience, with my camera focused on the spot each horse had to pass by.
The feast was at its peak as I was surrounded by the joy of the locals as the race began.
And then things followed on from each other as in a silent movie.

From a loud crowd, the audience suddenly turned into motionless witnesses. A horse’s life was passing away painfully in front of the audience in dead silence.

The dying horse was hectic in a deep and painful sigh until the death rattle came from the deepest of its soul; its eyes became glazed more and more.

Distraught, the master went on patting the horse’s neck weeping as he knew the end was near.
With my camera, I grasped every sequence of the horse’s death: the three gunshots, the horse’s corpse being put way in the wasteland nearby, picked up by the backhoe, and buried in the local waste collection site.
Years after I left besieged and ravaged Sarajevo, it was the first time I felt so overwhelmed again.

The images of the torn corpses of my fellow citizens and the pains of the wounded flowed back to my mind; the death rattle of the dying rushed back to my ears.

Once more I could tell with the eye of my camera that life is on a razor’s edge. A horse’s life, a man’s life, just the same.

That event stuck in my head like a series of pictures and this is why I chose to show them as they followed on from each other.

If only I had dreamt them, as in a movie.