The Lacandones Chiapas Mexico


Reserva Monte Azules, Selva Lacandona, Chiapas

Naha, Metzabok and Lacanja Chansayab


“Los Hombres Verdaderos”


The Lacandon are one of the Maya peoples who live in the jungles of the Mexican state of Chiapas, near the southern border with Guatemala. Their homeland, the Lacandon Jungle, lies along the Mexican side of the Usumacinta River and its tributaries ( wikipedia)

Reportage text description coming soon….


Photos All rights reserved © Alessandro Banchelli 2018



Tzotzil traditional wedding Zinacantan Chiapas Mexico


San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico


“It was very cold this morning January, I felt colder because the truck ride from Playa del Carmen to San Cristobal was very long, 20 hours. I arrived the night before the wedding, and I came a bit rushed but knew that i was going to attend something important. Nicoletta had warned me the possibility to attend a Tzotzil wedding, I did not think twice, I found a gap in my schedule and I went to San Cristobal.

The clock touched the 7am in the Highlands of Chiapas, one blue fog broke the sunshine coming out of the mountain peaks; the village was desert and the chimneys spat a soft gray smoke into a smooth, clear sky. Nobody seemed to be on the streets. The meeting was in front of the church, in the downtown of Zinacantan village for the arrival of the couple. A strong curiosity made us move to greet the families who were preparing the big event.

A strong curiosity moves us to greet the families who were preparing the big event. The house was full from early hours of relatives and friends, smelled like party: the elderly was warming their bodies with a breakfast of chicken soup and tortillas while women prepared Mole. Antonia wore a cute Rebozo decorated with floral details and a long braid fell back, wore shoes decoration that sparkled in the morning light. A great rush floated in the air, rare for the tranquility of the mountain people; the younger sister was running in and out of the kitchen looking enchanted Antonia’s dress.

The bride and groom arrived by car. The whole town was waiting. It was a special day, a day to remember. Two families were joining in marriage. Men wore the traditional dress, leather bags, plumes of purple, white and blue ribbon and the distinctive poncho of Zinacantan. Women, very proud of her femininity, was warming  into a handmade rebozos  with floral designs; heavy long skirts fell to the floor. The young women wore shoes bought in a catalog or a store in the city. The hair collected from excessive hairstyles created disharmony with indigenous face. Older women had gnarled feet stuck in black plastic sandals. The shoes were the metaphor of two generations: the grandmothers and grandaughters.

The church of San Lorenzo slept in a darkness broken only some rows of lighted candles, the temple was filled with people coming to meet the bride and groom; kneeling reverently guests launched his mysterious glances toward Catholic deities represented in wooden statues adorned with flowers. Santos and candles, incense and tears of blood, pain and regrets refilled the church of San Lorenzo. The Mass was held between the music of an orchestra and the smoke of incense. A gothic darkness silenced the crowd.

Gone out of the temple after the end of the function, spouses walked to the square opposite the church in a procession ordered. The elderly men sat in a row, next to each other in a low wall that divided the square,  blessing  themselves one with other. The hands touching their heads as a sign of respect and secret words in Tztotzil dialect whispering in the ear. Then it was the turn of women

It was almost lunchtime and the procession moved ‘to the groom’s house, Martin. The reception was organized under a yellow rectangular gazebo designed the logo of the Superior beer. The elders continued the ritual of blessing while the couple were coming targeted to providing their devotion and gratitude to the Virgin of Guadalupe in a room made of gray blocks and decorated with flowers with an altar at the center. It was a small ceremony, nothing more for families. A traditional Maya land censers and statues with various forms of animals led the imagination memory of an ancient ritual.

It was two o’clock when men began to serve beer and plates of food. Chicken soup and Mole. A lot of curious people arrived at the public event, many children, neighbors home or mere acquaintances, standing or sitting around gazebo, almost motionless, staring with an inexplicable depth, and full of mystery, dances, gifts, the cake, the orchestra playing.

On the return trip, with the eyes looking out of the window, i was feeling of having lived a special day.

The Tzotzil ethnic group is very jealous of its privacy , on this day I received like a gift the passpartout  to get into a small portion of their world


All rights reserved © Alessandro Banchelli 2018

Many thanks to

Nicoletta Giuliodori

Marco Giacomozzi



Niños de la Colosio Playa del carmen Mexico


The niños de la colosio Project starts 2011 after 4 years I’m living in Playa del carmen, Mexico. I rented an apartament in Colosio colony and day after day I aware I have around me a lot of kids living and playing. I was starting to shoot portraits at the children. My focus…. investigate the Mayan physiognomy, street by street, corner by corner. I found in their faces adult emotions; these kids need to grow up fast, they have not the time to waste the life in a superficial stuffs. They don’t know the pleasure to have a new tech-toys, a smartphone, a lap top, a PC…. They born in poor families and the majority of the parents works for the wealthy in a Luxury resort.

All rights reserved © Alessandro Banchelli 2018


Payasos sin Frontera Altos de Chiapas San Cristobal de las Casas


I had the privilege to be part of 1 day with Payasos sin Frontera in Chiapas. This no profit Organization wants to draw a smile in the kids faces. We visited the primary school in San cristobal de las casa“ Prudencio Moscoso Pastrana” where the clowns have entertained the students. A lot of fun during the show.

Many thanks to Nicoletta Giuliodori

All rights reserved © Alessandro Banchelli 2018



Reportage Memory of Indocina’s wars


Region of Xieng Khuang


The war doesn’t end with the end of the war operation or with an armistice. The armies don’t polish up their infamous dirt but they return home and leave alives that can only try to forget. The two secret wars followed each other at the border between Laos and Vietnam up to 1974 have left on the territory not only horrors and death, but a contaminated environment disseminated by UXO (residual war) mines, and craters of the various battles. Time hasn’t be able to eliminate the memory of a secret war fought in the silence,when nobody knew. Poverty has amplified the memory and the heritages of a fact happened 40 years ago. The images I want to show you do not tell about single men but make you know the face of a community that slowly try to make of the war a daily fact, with the consciously. The province of the Xieng Khuang, theater of battles and bombardments is for a big part still inaccesible because it is located out of the few roads and paths which are still infested of mines and unexploded bombs so that even the people who live there can’t cultivate their earth ( mainly economic resource!) and the scarce international funds don’t allow to clear the territory: Let’s think that to polish up one hectare of earth they require them 3000 Us dollar!

 In this place, forgotten by the rest of the globe, it is very difficult to live infact for lots of time farmers have had to pick up the UXO to recycle its metal, with all the risks that this involves. In these pictures I would describe an uninhabitable landscape:  the zone of “Nong Pet” full of craters where an attack from the  mountains perpetrated by the Franco-American army and killed at least 150 soldiers lao-viet, or, the “Ban Tin” area where the trenches and the unexploded brooms mine the access, or the old American aireoport of “Ban Nong” now reduced to a sterile strip of beaten earth. Here, in all these places it is still possible to tastean atmosphere of death, of destruction, and the noises such as the sky tell clashes among factions. The war leaves also so much unused material but in an exhausted economy all can be recycled: the Russian wagons are still a valid mean of transport and pieces of exchange, the steel that is melted or sold by the farmers, or the howitzers that serve as foundations to the houses. Armies do not have respect for the sacred, as in the case of the monastery of “Wat Phia Wat” situated in the old capital “Muang Khoun”, bombed and scorned by the “western iron.”  The war leaves always death as in the two mausoleums to Phonsavan. Then, the international community arrives, very later, and in the indifference of the greatest part of the world it tries with sterile means to polish up the territory as in the store of ONU at Phonsavan, but nothing can delete the horror of the history. Only the life and his to revive from the rubbles consoles this place violated by the silence.

All rights reserved © Alessandro Banchelli 2018

Parachicos Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas


Included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage the Parachicos festival is a traditional religion feast celebrates in Chiapas on January between 15 to 23 every year. The Parachico is a traditional dancer who dance on the street from the morning in a procession with different stops in sanctuary or sacred altars.

There are many versions of the history of Parachico but all agree to the myth that one day a beautiful woman seeking a cure for her sick son but after visiting doctor and healers, failed to alleviate it. Someone told her to go Chiapas where surely find the cure, then she moved with all its servants.

Parachicos wear wooden masks with Caucasian features, such as light skin, facial hair and blue eyes, in contrast to Native people’s features. They also wear a round headdress, colorful ribbons, striped serapes, embroidered shawls, usually over black or dark shirt and trousers. Parachicos use metallic rattles locally known as chinchin or chinchines, with colorful ribbons attached to the top and/or handles, which are shaken as they dance and chant.

( Text by Wikipedia)

Photos All rights reserved © Alessandro Banchelli 2018