Photo Essay: Pride and Resilience of the Mam People

May 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm  •  Posted in Photo Essay by

text and photos by Brittany Staddon


The Western Highlands of Guatemala are full of the history and culture of the Mam people. For over 20 years, CAUSE Canada, a Canmore-based international relief and development agency, has been working in this region to empower and improve the lives of the indigenous people through water, health, forestry, and more recently, microcredit and women-empowerment programs.

In May 2010 I travelled to Guatemala for two weeks to document their work and see the small businesses many of the women had started. Despite the stunning colours of the women’s traje (traditional dress), black and white is the medium that seemed to display a greater depth of character and circumstance. These images show the pride and resilience of the Guatemalan people through their culture, humour and lifestyle. Though foreigners are looked on with skepticism, all of these people were kind enough to give permission for their photographs to be taken.

Click here to view complete photo essay with captions

Brittany Staddon is a 23-year-old recent graduate from the University of Calgary with an honours degree in Biomedical Sciences. Self-taught in photography, she is currently taking the year off to focus on her true passion: travel photojournalism.


  1. Tatjanna Miller / June 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm /

    Brittany’s images are captivating! I can’t wait to visit Pana in October and work with the people! They are so proud and beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Alyssa Schroeder / June 19, 2012 at 3:04 am /

    Stunning images. Brittany is so talented at storytelling.

  3. Dani / July 4, 2012 at 4:33 pm /

    These are brilliant and gorgeous! Really makes me want to travel, love all the life found in the faces and moments. Saw the blip in your magazine and then found it VERY difficult to find the actual essay – had to resort to Google. Maybe a more prominent link would be helpful?

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