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Roberto José Andrade Franco for Texas Highways

Texas Highways

Originally Posted: June 26, 2021

Roberto José Andrade Franco is a Clements Center Research Fellow.

Joel Salcido was 6 years old the first time the craft of photography captured his attention. He was in a Juárez photography studio where his Uncle Chico worked, a serene place as dark as a cave if not for a small translucent window. Young Joel watched his uncle put on green-tinted glasses to carefully retouch black-and-white negatives. Using a magnifying glass, Uncle Chico fixed imperfections with a set of sharply pointed pencils—a technique that has almost disappeared with the rise of digital photography. “It was this magical mystery thing that was happening,” Salcido recalled.

A few years later, it happened again. This time in his grandmother’s house in Juárez. While playing hide-and-seek, Salcido stepped inside a large box. What he experienced made him forget about the game he was playing. He saw the outside world projected upside-down inside the box’s darkness. “I was blown away,” Salcido said. “What is that?” he thought, unaware he’d stepped into a rudimentary camera obscura. READ MORE