Photographer Christ Chávez had never been to a powwow before attending The Austin Powwow last year to capture the festivities for our November issue. He counts the experience as one of the most memorable assignments in the five years he’s shot photos for us. Beyond the great food and friendly people, the music and dancing made the strongest impression. “After I left, the beating of the drums repeated in my head for the rest of the night,” he says. “It was very calming and beautiful.”
This month’s cover photo of one of the dancers, Tyra Tsosie, leads off our Year in Photos—a package of our favorite images that didn’t make it into the magazine this year. Tsosie, 26, started dancing at 8 years old after her grandmother gifted her a jingle dress. Used in the women’s jingle dress dance at the powwow, the dress represents the rainfall that replenishes the earth. “The jingle is believed to be a healing and prayer dance,” Tsosie says. “Jingle dress dancers pray for the healing of a loved one or for those who can’t dance.”
Another photo of Chávez’s included in our compilation is an outtake from an eventful citrus shoot in the Rio Grande Valley. The El Paso-based photographer was set to fly to the Valley when the Jan. 31 ice storm hit and airports were shut down. The Mission farmer he was supposed to meet was worried he was going to lose much of his orange and grapefruit crop. Luckily, the farmer’s losses were minimal, and Chávez was able to make the trip in February. Once there, he met many locals who suggested additional farms to visit; even the waitress at La Fogata had a name of a family who grew saplings. He also got to sample grapefruit pie at one of the farms, which he was happy to report was not bitter or sour but “so delicious.” The resulting photo was so appetizing that readers asked for the recipe.
Emily Roberts Stone
Editor in Chief