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Portraits capture the dreams that haunted Pedro Tec

Ahead of his show at the MACAY, photographer discusses his 'obsession'

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.
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Merida, Yucatan — Pedro Tec didn’t go to art or photography school. He had his dreams as a teacher.

He was chosen from “the other side” to create his art.

That’s how Pedro describes the forces that led to a lush photographic exhibit that opens at the MACAY on Friday.

In the darkest moments of his life, Pedro found a series of characters in his dreams. It started four years ago, when he was 25.

“Some time ago, a man entered in my dreams, and he guided me in many ways,” says Pedro. “One day, in my dreams, we come to an old place and looked at all these people, the images in the photos. Then a magic smoke arose from them. I do not know if they were dead or were magical beings. These dreams were very recurring and I stopped them.”

Enveloped in an imaginary icy mist, it seemed to him that they were coming to him in a kind of dance between Earth and the beyond.

Soon, with the help of his camera, often a cellphone, Pedro captured those dreamlike faces in the people he saw passing on the street, many of them homeless.

“It was very similar to the people of my dreams and I was able to make a connection with them. It was brief and magical,” says Pedro. “My art is to use magic to freeze that eternal moment, it is unique. You know, I love magic.”

This is how “Los Mayas Eternos” (“The Eternal Maya”) was born, a series of 20 black-and-white super-detailed images that capture the mystery of Pedro Tec’s dreams.

“Creating this series was an obsession that consumed me at night, asking me who they were, reading their faces, their hands, their essences. It was almost an insatiable need to discover their worlds,” says the photographer.

“First I had to earn the trust of these people, to enter their world, to engage in a conversation, a closeness. All the work has been done with great respect and in order to convert our forgotten ancestors into a visual discourse that allows us to feel pride in our ancestral roots,” he says.

Pedro has found this photo project to be therapeutic.

“Art gave me life. It is so strong, it breaks languages, crosses mountains, seas, towns and at the same time. I love art,” Pedro says. “I did what helped me to survive my past, a dark time. I came from the dead, thanks to photography, my plans.”

Asked if he has any other artistic projects in the works, Pedro is philosophical.

“I will continue to let destiny take me through the world, on this path called life,” he says.

The exhibition will be open at the MACAY starting Jan. 25. A free public reception is planned at 8 p.m.

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