When I was younger I struggled finding my way around life. School was hard, not because of the academic work, but because of the people. I’m not a socialiser, I never was. It’s a skill that, try as I may, I just don’t have. I was always good at writing and reading, and I used to be good at drawing, but when I started with photography and discovered that I didn’t have to speak or draw to express myself I forgot about everything else and focused on my camera.

The first time I picked up a DSLR I had no idea what I wanted to do, but something in it felt natural to me. Viewing the world through the lens of a camera allowed me to make more sense of it. I spent hours taking photos of anything and everything, no technique or any artistic intentions. I just went out and clicked away, feeling like I was unstoppable. For the first time I felt like I knew what I was doing. Unfocused pictures eventually turned into interesting perspectives and it wasn’t long before I realised that I was drawn to landscapes. Capturing the vastness of an open field, or the beauty of a city skyline, it’s jagged buildings slicing through the sky, became a serious form or art and passion for me. I had a newfound sense of determination to better my technique so that one day I could be a professional photographer.

Photography from then on became something I did every day. I began to look at my city, Hermosillo, and even my own neighbourhood in a new light. I became obsessed with finding the best locations to capture the beauty of my city. As it turns out, my neighbourhood was perfect as it is located in one of the highest parts of the city near. It became my testing ground for capturing sunsets and city silhouettes. My plan was to continue shooting here until I felt confident to go out and travel around the world, capturing everything I saw on camera. It was the perfect plan really, until I got too comfortable and stopped appreciating how beautiful my city was. Everything I did started to feel uninspired, didn’t look quite right, or wasn’t interesting enough.

I started wishing that I was in this city or that place that all the cool and amazing photographers I admired went to, maybe that way I’d get some really cool photos that will make me feel like I finally accomplished something. I completely ignored all the beauty around me. Looking back on that time now I think I became somewhat of a snob; I had lost my desire to better myself because I believed that I was already great. Suddenly I was too good for this town just because I knew how to use my camera in manual mode.

I lost myself in my haste to be this big shot photographer that everyone knows and admires and completely forgot how to cherish the place that started my love for landscape photography. It was necessary for me to experience that though. To know what it feels like to be driven by ego rather than a pure appreciation for an art form. I needed to go to that place inside myself, to know what it feels like. It took me further away from the passion and expression that drew me to photography, but I’m glad for that experience because it taught me so much about myself. Here I was, learning photography, when really photography was teaching me about myself.

When we are young we have big dreams and we want to reach them as fast as we can. We might not yet know how important hard work is in order to achieve success. Then when we slowly start to grow up we understand that it takes time to be ready to fulfil them. Photography has taught me patience, and has made me learn to appreciate the journey rather than trying to sprint to the destination.

So from that point on, with the help of some amazing friends, I started this long and sometimes tedious journey to discover who I was, what I wanted from this life and how to get it. And it was through that process that I remembered how lucky I am to be able to live in this city.

Hermosillo is a city with a small town vibe in the north of México, it’s an antiquated and quite old fashioned. The beautiful old architecture brings people from all over the world and although land wise it is quite a large place city, you won’t see a huge skyline of tall buildings like you would in New York.

I have lived in Hermosillo almost my whole life here. I moved to other cities and countries for a couple of years, but I always found my way back to this place. Maybe because my family and friends are here or because I love the local food. But really I think it is because I love the look of the beautiful landscapes of this city. It’s where I fell in love with photography, and it is photography that helped me fall in love with Hermisillo

The town is known as Sun City because it is comprised of desert landscapes, meaning in one calendar year we see over 300 sunny warm days. Summer is extreme, reaching up to 50ºc.  The rest of the year however, is perfect. Not too hot and not too cold, some days are perfect to visit the beach and some days are great to bundle up and head out to a café, restaurant or a museum.

I work a lot so going to the beach on photography adventures for me can be a bit of a challenge that takes some planning, but I love exploring and wandering around trying to find interesting places. The sand is perfect, there are no rocks, and the beach seems to carry on for miles and miles. On any given day you can walk along and only see a handful of people. The water is perfect to swim if I’m in the mood; the waves are really small and if you are lucky the ocean will be so calm you’ll feel like you are in a pool, I tend to travel to the more secluded beaches, one or two hours away from Hermosillo. The tranquility and aloneness of them suits my introverted nature. I can get lost there with my camera for hours and hours at a time.

This past year I learnt to see my hometown in a completely different way and I fell in love with it again. I appreciate how the sky looks every day, even when there are no clouds to give me the perfect landscape photo. I try to get out of my comfort zone and speak to people, I even enjoy the food a lot more. Looking at this city though the lens of my camera has taught me that everything, no matter how ordinary has beauty in it if you just look for it. To me watching the sun setting is a magical experience because I like to end a long or stressful day with some good vibes and reflecting on how to fix whatever went wrong that day or just simply being relieved that the day is finally over.

It’s easy to fall in love with cities like Hermosillo, they’re not overwhelmingly populated, but big enough that every day you find a lot of new places to explore. When the people speak it sounds like they are always angry, but they’re all really kind and they love to help. The passion that comes through in their spoken language is a beautiful juxtaposition to me. The food is amazing, the culture is unique, and despite the harsh heat, the soul and beauty of this place will make feel alive!

Lourdes Pérez Gómez