A Weekend in the Dominican Republic

Being a photographer, I always envisioned myself in a foreign land, documenting a culture unfamiliar to me. Trying to adapt to the ways of the locals; absorbing all knowledge they have to give away to a stranger like myself. To then return home with amazing pictures that'll allow me to share my journey with others.

Well, this was all a "dream" up until last month, when my aunt chose the Dominican Republic as her wedding location. A few other family members and myself got our tickets last minute (with the help of the bride). After some paperwork and passport fees, we were finally ready to go.

After I returned and had a chance to review my photos, I chose a few of my favorite shots and added the back stories to go along with them.

I was only able to go for a weekend but I was grateful nonetheless. When I wasn't acting like a tourist (site seeing) I was hanging out in San Pedro de Macoris. It's a town known to produce some of the countries best baseball players and fisherman. The images above show the people and kids on what is considered normal day.

I've seen plenty of elders in my lifetime, but the old woman in the photo above caught my eye from the moment I saw her. Seeing her standing there with her slumped posture and weathered face, people may say she was "tired" or "old", but what I saw was "wisdom" and "experience".

The young boy kept following me around. Right before I left, I flashed him the "peace sign" but he seemed confused. To my amazement, he had no idea what I was referring too. Even after I showed him how, he explained to me that he wasn't 2 years old. I was stuck in a moment of awe as I explained the significance of this universal sign to a child.

I met a good man by the name of Elvin during my stay. He was born and raised in San Pedro de Macoris. As he showed me around on his motorcycle, we shared our views on life. He took me to his hideout. It's a spot near the ocean, where he sits to think and relax. It was amazing being able to share such a moment with a humble individual as himself.

After hearing so much about San Pedro's fishermen, there was no way I was going to leave without documenting at least one catch. So, I asked around and got access to the boat yard. They were actually excited to have me photograph them at work. Oh, and please notice the fish guts in the happy fisherman's hands.

My mother is a big fan of Sunsets and Sunrises. When she caught wind of my travels, she nicely asked for a picture of the Sun setting or rising. I'm a good son. I did as mother asked.

The day before my trip ended I asked my aunt's new husband to take me where tourists don't go. I wanted to see the country through the eyes of the natives. Surprisingly, he agreed, taking me (and those with me) on a 2 1/2 hour car ride into the mountains, away from the city, electricity, and even hospitals. The environment transformed before my eyes. The streets began to turn into dirt roads. The homes began to look more like cabins and huts. The adults and children sported clothes that clearly has been on their backs for days at a time. It humbled me to witness these living conditions.

Half way up into the mountains, we came across a fruit stand in the side of the road. Those who were with me stopped to buy fruits and vegetables from this local family, as I photographed the kids. The little girl and boy in these pictures stayed with me (spiritually). I spend the next few days thinking of them. Their faces engraved in my memory. At this point all I could do was think of my own daughter and feel grateful.

On our way back into town we stopped to enjoy the scenery. It's not every day that a city boy finds himself in front of such a beautiful landscape. 

It's funny how people who have so little to give, have so much to teach. I walked away from this trip with more then I imagined. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

*For more pictures Click Here.