Studied in Costa Rica, Summer 2012
I took this photo in a park in Santa Cruz as a part of a documentary project for my study abroad program. During our 7 weeks in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, we were to identify a particular area of interest in the culture, and do an in-depth documentation of it. As my way of expressing my interest in the people of the country and how they were products of the culture, I did street portraits throughout my time there to document people that I met and found interesting. I would introduce myself, explain myself and my project, and then ask for permission to take a photo.
I had seen these gentlemen talking in a central park area outside of a cathedral in Santa Cruz every time I visited the city. They would sit and talk all afternoon, and I found them fascinating. They were a perfect representation of the genuine connections that people make there that are not ruled by schedules. In terms of priorities, relationships usually come first in Costa Rica.
One day I approached them and asked for a photo, and I will never forget the exchange that took place after I introduced myself. They asked if the photo would be in a museum, and I told them that it could potentially be displayed at my university. Their eyes widened and they looked at each other excitedly saying “Wow! A museum! Really?” “Sure,” I said, “a museum”. Then, one of them asked me a question that summed up exactly what I was attempting to convey. “Is this so that people in the United States will get to know Costa Rica?” I smiled. “Yes,” I told him, “exactly.”