I was excited when the Sonoran Institute recently sent me to photograph their Colorado River Delta restoration project in Baja California, Mexico. The Sonoran Institute is a U.S. non-profit that works to
establish community based conservation programs. This Delta project is located on the Colorado River at Laguna Grande about 40 miles south of Mexicali and the U.S. Border with Mexico.
This section of the Colorado River has not flowed in many years and before restoration began was a tamarisk choked oxbow meander 40 miles up river from the Sea of Cortez. The workers at Laguna Grande are from the nearby village of Fransisco Murguria. These people were farmers who found work in conservation through the help of the Sonoran Institute and other NGO's as well as the Mexican and US government. Their main goal right now is to restore trees and riparian habitat in the Colorado River delta as well as monitor and collect data on site.
Since the Sonoran Institute is very focused on community based programs I decided to shoot portraits of the people working in this program. With help from my photo assistant Dawn Kish we set up a portable studio under a palapa at Laguna Grande.
It was a Richard Avedon inspire studio with white backdrop with a very modern twist. My favorite subject was Alfredo Ramos who was the first person hired to work at Laguna Grande.