Chiquiti Boom

35mm black and white film

Back in the 1980s, I used to go to Nuevo Laredo two or three times a year to visit my grandmother, my dad’s mother. My dad and I would drive down there together, sometimes with some other relatives.


My grandmother’s house sat on a corner, on a busy street, just a little bit south of the main business district. She owned that house, another house next door that she rented out, and a courtyard in back of her house with an unused well and some small structures — shacks, I guess you’d call them — that she also rented.


When I visited, I’d carry my camera and I’d walk the neighborhood. It was an interesting neighborhood, with a motorcycle shop down the block, a taqueria and a bar across the street. It was similar to how we live here in Southtown, with small businesses and residences all mixed together.


For this photo, I was in the courtyard behind my grandmother’s house, and this little girl came to the screen door. There was a piece of cloth covering the screen, and she lifted it to look out. That’s when I got the photo.


It wasn’t until later, when I developed and printed it, that I noticed that her tee shirt carried a promo for Carta Blanca beer. I remember thinking that it seemed pretty odd to be putting beer advertisements on clothes for toddlers. But I’ve always loved the photo.

See more of Al's work on his website.