Talk about attitude! If there was ever a plant I wish to emulate, it is the maguey. The largest of the agave family, the maguey occupies a special place in the cultural history of Mexico as an ancient source of food, clothing, tools, and the fermented drink, pulque. They are a solitary presence in the sere high desert of Mexico, and now like the rest of us, they face the added challenges of climate change. With needle-sharp spikes at the tips of their 6 to 8 foot fronds, they exude an in-your-face defiance confronting adversity. They grow for decades, acquiring scars and remarkable colors, and then they send up a 20-30 foot flowering shoot that marks their last year of life. Although they may wither, they display resilience, showing signs of rebirth and renewal, defying death. These images were acquired during several sojourns to San Miguel de Allende and Mineral de Pozos, 130 miles northwest of Mexico City. I have taken artistic liberties in making these hyper-realistic constructed portraits of maguey, compositing many images of the same plant viewed from different angles in order to emphasize their distinctive character and fearsome beauty.
Richard Alan Cohen