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.
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. www.brittanystaddon.com