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Mexico Magico

Mexico Magico

La Parroquia, as grand and fanciful as Gaudí's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, but here, rather than melting, the architecture soars.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: I literally had my back up against a wall to take this shot. There was also a gate in the way, but I managed to maneuver. From the article Mexico Magico.

Mexico Magico

La Capilla restaurant. Mexican-American fusion cuisine in the shadow of La Parroquia.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: La Parroquia is on the left. We also shot this picture from a nearby rooftop. I knocked on the homeowner's door and asked if I could shoot from his roof. We wound up eating at the restaurant and it was delicious. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

The Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts), one of two art schools. (The other is Instituto Allende.)

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: I just loved the architectural elements of the building, which sits on a hill in the middle of town. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

The courtyard at La Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts). A former convent built in 1765, it exerts its own gravitational pull, drawing passersby into its classic Spanish-colonial courtyard. Along two levels of covered porches supported by a rhythm of arches are classrooms and studios for visiting students and resident-artist instructors.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: There's a nice little café here that reminds me of ones I've been to in Seville, Spain. Actually, the whole town reminds me of Seville. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

The Rico family mariachis on the central plaza, El Jardín. San Miguel is famous for year-round patriotic and religious festivals. Easter is huge, but September has the most impressive fiestas. On September 16, Mexican Independence Day, people from all over the country come to celebrate with fireworks, dances, bullfights, and a rodeo in the cradle of their freedom. Some Americans may fault San Miguel for a lack of authenticity, but urban Mexicans go there to participate in their traditional culture.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: I just stopped and asked these nice people to pose and they obliged. In fact, all of the locals I met in San Miguel were incredibly friendly--lovely and very hospitable. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

James Pinto's 1951 fresco at Instituto Allende. The art and language school has brought American students to San Miguel for 50-plus years. The Instituto drew international students well into the 1970's and 80's. Although today neither the Instituto nor the Escuela de Bellas Artes are the economic catalysts they once were, without them San Miguel might have been a very different place.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: This was shot inside the Instituto Allende, just off the main courtyard. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

Sculpture students Damien Comas and Diego Arrain at Instituto Allende.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: These guys were great -- and lucky. I envied them being able to choose from two great art schools in town and thought how nice it might be to end up here as a student. With its atelier windows and other architectural details, the whole place felt like a European industrial site, almost like a factory in Italy. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

Felix Pérez, a weaving instructor at Instituto Allende.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: He had a wonderful face and was a very gentle and clever man, very entertaining. I spent about 45 minutes chatting with him and he took the time to show me his studio, which had a wonderful vaulted ceiling. Incredibly, he has been teaching art for almost 50 years. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

Church at Hacienda de Landeta.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: I shot this in the late morning. I thought the church was beautifully framed by the trees above and the hedges growing on the sides. From the article Mexico Magico
Mexico Magico

Ristorante da Andrea. At 300-year-old Hacienda de Landeta, a few miles out of town, an Italian restaurateur oversees exquisite handmade pasta and fish that swims away.

Photographer Simon Watson's Note: The restaurant resembles an inviting old storeroom -- there's a soaring ceiling and great light. The ambience was nothing short of charming, and the food was superb. I had the gnocchi. From the article Mexico Magico

See the slideshow: Mexico Magico

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