Beyond the mountains of Aguascalientes in central Mexico is a small town called Presa de los Serna, here, over the course of seven years, Chicago-based photographer Kevin Serna created the series ‘La Presa’.
The series is an exploration of self and place, the town itself paternal home of Kevin’s family. In his own words that follow, he explains the story of the Presa de los Serna and his reasons for photographing both the town and its people: My father’s identity was shaped in a town called Presa de los Serna; his language, his values, and his expectations. My identity was shaped in a predominantly white suburban town outside of Chicago. I’ve always sensed our cultural differences and at times painfully so. With ‘La Presa’, I wanted to confront my relationship with my father through observation of the place where he solidified his identity in before immigrating to the U.S. during the late ’70s.
In ‘La Presa’, we arrive in a small mountain town located in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Over the seven-year span of this project, many of the photographs take place during an annual week-long celebration of San Jose, the Father of Jesus. In these observations, he is almost never directly photographed, but simply a character at the edge of the frame guiding me into the world I believe he truly inhabits. Through these photographs; mutual empathy and realizations emerge and the divide mends. This is how I am able to truly know my father.
All images © Kevin Serna