BEHIND THE LENS
ZACATECAS, MEXICO BEHIND THE LENS OF OLIVER MINT
A first-generation Mexican-American photographer, born and raised in Southern California, Oliver Mint is gifted with the most discerning eye when it comes to capturing compelling and artistic imagery. While studying art history at Santa Monica College, he realized his calling for photography, and moved to New York to pursue his career in the industry, focusing on fashion and documentary. He quickly became a favorite for The Line, and had his work featured in Interview and Vogue.com.
Over the past two years, he has split his time between New York and Bogota, Colombia. Particularly motivated by aesthetic, gender identity and humanism, his curiosity and intrigue in exploring the Latin American region has inspired much of his recent work. A desire to connect with his Latin heritage led him on a cross country trip through Mexico, during which he stumbled upon Zacatecas, an enlightening experience he shares with us below.
What brought you to Zacatecas?
In January I made a pit stop in Zacatecas while on a cross-country road trip through Mexico. Prior to arriving I had no references or knowledge of what to expect in Zacatecas, but after exploring this city for a week, I was really taken aback by its rich history, abundance of art galleries, and silver jewelry!
What does Zacatecas smell like?
In the morning, the city smells like sweet Mexican bread and coffee. In the afternoon/evening it’s all Mexican spices and meat.
What does it taste like?
To me Zacatecas tastes like enchiladas and giant mazapanes because that’s all I had while I was there.
Best discovery of the trip?
My favorite discovery was an old monastery turned museum that holds over 10,000 masks from all around the world. They were donated to the city by Mexican painter Rafael Colonel.
If you had to pick one favorite thing from Zacatecas, what would it be?
You have to go to the restaurant El Rincon Tipico, which is a super cute mom and pop restaurant tucked away in a little alley. The owner of the restaurant usually walks around hosting and chatting up diners while his kids (they’re college students now) cook in the kitchen. I wouldn’t be surprised if his restaurant ends up in one of those Anthony Bourdain type foodie travel shows.
If you like jewelry, you will enjoy checking out one of the many local silver jewelry shops. Everything is very affordable as there is a lot of silver in the area. I picked up a couple simple chains and rings. The designs are mostly the same, but there are some cute pieces.
What was your first impression of Zacatecas?
My first impression of the city was that it felt like I was in Le Marais in Paris. I was really taken aback at how much it felt like being in a European city.
If Zacatecas had a filter, what would it be?
When traveling to Zacatecas, you can’t miss____.
When traveling through Zacatecas you cannot miss the local silver mine nor the giant Mazapanes!
Typical local meal or drink?
Asado de Boda is the typical food here, but they also have quite good enchiladas and gorditas.
Something everyone should know before traveling here?
Make sure to pack comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. In fact, I didn’t take a taxi once while I was here because everything was so close to each other.
How do you define beauty?
Nature, heritage, pain.