Inhabiting Darkness (Habitar La Oscuridad): The photography of Marco Antonio Cruz shines a light on compassion

By Kimberly Conner

To experience Inhabiting Darkness (Habitar La Oscuridad) is to understand that whether we navigate the world with sight, or without it, we are united by a shared humanity. This collection of stunning black and white images offers a rare insight into what it means to live with visual impairment. Curated based on this year’s Common Experience theme of Compassion, the photography of acclaimed photojournalist Marco Antonio Cruz shines a light on the value of empathy.

For 16 years, Cruz documented the lives of the blind and visually impaired. His incisive photojournalism tells the story of a common human experience. Cruz reminds us that no difference is so great as to separate us completely. The images of daily existence in Mexico are vibrant with life, showing subjects at work and play, attending school, and sharing hope.

Darkness, Cruz’s photographs reveal, is subjective. It is how we choose to exist that truly matters. A life lived without sight is no less meaningful than a life lived with sight. We see that humanity is interdependent, whether navigating existence in la obscuridad or in light. Cruz’s images show that a shared need for connection, hope, and compassion transcends our differences.

The guidance and friendship of Cruz’s mentors and peers played influential roles in his work and growth. Documentary photojournalists Héctor García, Nacho López, and Mariana Yampolsky, all of whom focused on capturing the daily lives of the people of Mexico, helped shape Cruz’s own photo journalistic trajectory. The pioneering work of these photographers can be viewed in an adjacent gallery.

Cruz’s career as a documentary photographer and narrative journalist also included directing the independent photo agency, Imagelatina, for 17 years. There, Cruz worked alongside three other notable photographers: his wife, Ángeles Torrejón, Keith Dannemiller, and Antonio Turok. A second adjoining gallery displays their captivating journalistic photography.

One of the small galleries featuring the work of Cruz’s peers.

Inhabiting Darkness / Habitar La Oscuridad, along with images that reflect Marco Antonio Cruz’s evolution as a documentary photographer and the impact of his mentors and peers, will be on display at The Wittliff Collections through July 17, 2022. For location and current hours of operation, please refer to The Wittliff Collections.

Kimberly Conner is a copywriter and editor in the IT Marketing and Communications office of Texas State University.