Friday, December 6, 2019

Brent Kollock: Stories from the streets of Mexico

Woman offering prayers
Photograph © Brent Kollock
Deep in the hills and valleys of Mexico lie spellbinding tales of the people that have inherited the secrets of living in ancestral tradition and newly adopted modern ways.  Quietly capturing these stories is the everlasting curiosity and talent of life and street photographer Brent Kollock.  

His travels have led him to the everyday lives of market vendors, street circuses, performers, carnivals, children, street food, religious ceremonies, Prehispanic rituals, and even burials.  Different regions have provided a background of photographs in their purest form, setting the stories in their most natural, vulnerable, and unobtrusive capture of a reality that can be seen today.  It’s a stark, black and white vérité style with subjects stopped in an eternal moment in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima, Guanajuato, and Puebla. 

Tuba Player
Photograph © Brent Kollock
Photographing everyday life confronts Kollock to see and live like a local.  To acquire a delicate sensibility to his surroundings and understand the customs of the natives and the realm of their triumphs and hardships of survival and celebration of life.  People commune with animals, with the past and the present, with the underworld, the dead and the living.  Their food becomes ritual and ceremony becomes blurred with dreams.

Armed with such sensibility, Kollock’s craft and skillful command of the camera, have led him to closeness with his subject to chronicle moments as they happen.  In many of the photographs, his subjects’ eyes seem to hypnotize and speak to the viewer which can be interpreted as an invitation to look in.
Children performing Pastorela
© Brent Kollock

Brent Kollock is an artist of life, a poet, an artist documenting on 35mm film and digital capture.  They’re scenes of relevance and passing time.  
There’s an almost spiritual quality to his photographs.  His images are filled with the beauty and absurdity that never fail to evoke a strange yet intimate sense of humanity.  

Kollock’s perseverance to capture humanity has led to an exploration of the significance of the stories he has brought from far away lands.  At the heart of his stories, lies the human spirit and the quest of seeking peace and harmony.  A quest to establish meaningful connections to people and animals and a clear representation of who we are.

Market Musicians (Abuelos)
© Brent Kollock
Kollock’s body of work is of light and darkness and assumes the perspective of his subjects.  There is a fundamental narrative of struggle, survival, joy, and even oppression and freedom.  His subjects emerge from the shadows and they belong to their societies, they may be solitary or in groups of families, but all have intricate and fascinating stories to tell.  They’re a reminder that all of humanity has a fundamental need for expression. And the photographs serve as a lasting monument to his talent.

Artist, Photographer, Writer Brent Kollock
Brent Kollock presents A World Away Just Next Door: Street Photography in Mexico in a solo exhibition at the Latino Cultural Center, Dallas.  Fine art black and white prints are selected and curated by legendary artist and activist Viola Delgado.

The exhibit is free and open to the public on November 22 through January 4th, 2019.

2600 Live Oak Street - Dallas, Texas 75204

For more on Brent Kollock or to purchase his art photography books visit:

Written by Leticia Alaniz
© 2019


Monday, June 25, 2018

Margarita al Pastor - It's a Tacos al Pastor Devilish Cocktail

Margarita al Pastor
Photograph © Leticia Alaniz 2018
All Rights Reserved
Want to know about a tongue tickling summer beverage that has tacos al pastor written all over it?  It’s the Margarita al Pastor.  Literally, if you love tacos you don't neeed a translation for tacos al pastor.  If you like the namesake tacos, you’ll love the take on this smooth Margarita that’s an explosion of flavors reminiscent of the famed Mexican street tacos.  It’s a diablura (devilish) of a cocktail that will make you hungry and by the third sip, you’ll be hooked.     

It starts by combining spices, herbs, pineapple juice, lime juice … and all that goes into a traditional Margarita (except triple sec, it's sweet and sour enough without it).  Creative mixologist Gabriel Orta shares his recipe for a spicy cordial that can be pre-made for the Margarita al Pastor.  But my take on the Margarita also includes muddled cilantro and basil as the base for the preparation.  It’s kind of like the fresh cilantro you add to your tacos before enjoying.  

Have a Margarita al Pastor and enjoy the recipe below.  Let me know in the comments what your friends or family say about it when you surprise them with this amazing taco-in-a-glass cocktail that pairs the flavors of Mexico, elixirs, and the famed blue agave mezcal of the regions.  One last thing, I recommend you use good quality spirits. 

First Step: Chorizo Spice Syrup


2 qt of water
1/4 C cumin seeds
1/4 C smoked paprika
1/4 C black peppercorns
3  dried chiles, halved and deseeded  (Ancho, Morita, or Chipotle)
1 C sugar
1/2 C mezcal joven

In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Add the cumin seeds, smoked paprika, peppercorns, and dried chiles.  Stir and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Add sugar and stir to dissolve.  Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce heat, simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Strain liquid into a container.  When liquid has cooled, pour half (4 cups) into a container and add 1/2 a cup of mezcal joven.  The rest of the spice syrup can be reserved for up to a month in a sealed container, refrigerated for another batch.  Just make sure to add the 1/2 cup mezcal before making more cocktails.      

Margarita Al Pastor

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz Chorizo spice syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz 100% blue agave mezcal 
  • Fresh cilantro, fresh basil leaves

Spicy Rimming Sugar

  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Sliced pineapple for garnish

  • Directions

  • Roll a cocktail or traditional Margarita glass around with a cut lime or a piece of pineapple, then press into the spicy rimming sugar on a plate.  Set glass aside.  In a cocktail shaker muddle a few leaves of cilantro and one basil leaf.  Next, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add lime juice, pineapple juice, Chorizo Spice Syrup, and mezcal. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled, about 30 seconds. (In general, the drink is ready by the time the shaker mists up.)  There should be a froth on top from the vigorous shaking.  Fill glass with ice cubes,  Strain margarita into the glass.  Finish with a little dusting of the spicy rimming sugar and garnish with a pineapple slice.  Serve.  

  • © Leticia Alaniz 2018  All Rights Reserved