Rodolfo Castellanos Oaxaca Susy Bando Oaxacking

My Oaxaca photo shoot at Abastos Market

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I hate having my photo taken. I feel most of the time in posed shots, I’m awkward or have a fake smile. In most candids, I look angry (bad eyesight = squinting= angry 11’s on my forehead) and it takes me at least 10 tries to get a selfie that I’m somewhat satisfied with. Having said all of that, or maybe because if it, I am so happy when I see a “good” photo of myself.

I’ve been wanting to get new photos of me to replace on this site on the About Me page, as the ones that were previously up are now 6 years old. It’s been in the back of my mind for years to ask some photographer friends to help me out, but I’m such a procrastinator.

So one night while I was in Oaxaca when I was out drinking (too much) with Omar, I got on to this subject with him and his (photgrapher) friend Greg. As the conversation went on, I got it into my head that Oaxaca would be the perfect place to be photographed as it’s one of my favorite places on earth. I remember discussing how hard I am to photograph with the 2 of them and perhaps challenges were made and accepted during this chat. I say “perhaps” because there was a lot of mezcal consumed that evening…

Fast forward 2 days, and I had just gotten in from a run when I received a panicked text from Omar telling me that Greg was waiting to take me out on a photo shoot. I had just 15 minutes to shower, change, and be at Origen restaurant, which was a 10 minute walk away. Luckily, I’m not a huge make up person, but I kept thinking if I was going to get photos done, it would have at least been nice to do something with my hair more than running water through it to get the headband crease out of it. But there really wasn’t time for anything other than throwing on some clothes and running over to the restaurant.

The morning of my photo shoot consisted of me crashing one of Chef Rodolfo Castellanos’ cooking classes and going to Abastos market with him and his group.

Omar and Greg told me to just be natural and relaxed which is hard for me in social situations even when there’s not a camera on me. That coupled with the fact I felt bad for following along on the class with paying participants, made for hard work for Greg. But he did the best he could. All the photos in this post are taken by Greg Chavez Martinez.

I tried to stay out of the way of Rodolfo’s class at the market. As I wandered around, I was feeling so grateful for my unplanned day at Abastos, a market I never come to unaccompanied because it’s seems overwhelmingly complicated.I tried walking a few steps behind but Rodolfo is always generous and shared the treasures and treats he was seeing around the market with me to taste as well.

Rodolfo Castellanos Oaxaca

Rodolfo Castellanos Oaxaca Abastos
Rodolfo slicing up a little pink banana for a taster.
I love learning about (and tasting) all of the amazing products at the market. Each visit I experience new things to add to my food memory bank.
Rodolfo Castellanos chef Oaxaca
Chef Rodolfo opening up a cacao fruit in a highly technical manner.
Me, trying to fish out some cacao fruit. Judging from his face, Omar didn’t like it at all!


Susy Bando Abastos


Susy Bando Vancouver
Checking out what was bubbling in the pots.
Susy Bando Oaxacking
While I was self conscious about having Greg follow me around, knowing he was taking photos of me, I couldn’t hide my joy of wandering Abastos with some of my favorite Oaxaca people.
Rodolfo Castellanos Chef Oaxaca
Rodolfo picking up some wonderfully aromatic jasmine flowers.
Susy Bando jasmine
Greg tried his best to get me to pose for some shots…
Susy Bando Oaxaca Abastos
But most of the time, Greg just followed along snapping away.
Susy Bando Food
The variety and quantity of merchandise for sale at Abastos always astounds me.
Susy Bando Oaxacking
Omar took the opportunity to document Rodolfo’s trip to the market as I followed along.

Of course no trip to the market with Rodolfo is complete without a stop for something to eat.Rodolfo Castellanos

Abastos Oaxaca empanada
Breakfast in Oaxaca is as simple as this.
Susy Bando
Yes this shot was staged, but I did really want to closely check out the big vat of salsa they had on hand.
Susy Bando Rodolfo Castellanos
I always appreciate how quickly Rodolfo is to pull his pocket knife out to cut everything into shareable bites. A little taste here, a little taste there… This is my kind of eating!
Rodolfo Castellanos
I love that tasajo always seems to show up in meals with Rodolfo.
Rodolfo Castellanos Susy Bando
So much to appreciate… This is my happy…

Susy Bando

Rodolfo Castellanos Oaxacking
Through the maze of Abastos, Rodolfo always seems to know exactly who to purchase from. Here, this woman only has a few items to sell, but what she did have (nopales here) looked great.

Rodolfo Castellanos Oaxaca Greg Chavez

Rodolfo Castellanos Susy Bando Oaxacking



Susy Bando Oaxaca Abastos Oaxacking.JPG

We all packed in to the car to head back to the restaurant where Greg & I left the others to continue our photo shoot/walkaround Oaxaca. The rest is another post to come soon!

Greg Chavez Oaxaca Photographer
Gracias Greg for following me around and putting yourself in out of the way places, so I’d be less self-conscious of having my photos taken. My love for Oaxaca markets completely comes through in these photos!




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