Women’s Oyster Cooperative

One day while exploring Puerto Penasco, a tourist destination for Arizonans, Mexicans and others along Mexico’s Gulf of California, I discovered a women’s oyster cooperative outside of town. Initially I was struck by the serenity and playful beauty of the cooperative families and the surrounding estuary they depend on, but in talking to the women a more complex story unfolded. The women and men of the cooperative face many challenges, from the backbreaking work of harvesting oysters to encroaching development. The workdays are long, following the rise and fall of the sun. Though Puerto Penasco tourists come to enjoy the fruits of the cooperative’s labor, the financial rewards are few. Undoubtedly strong friendships and family ties make these challenges bearable. All generations and genders share time and space, whether it be sorting oysters in the estuary or preparing oysters plates in the kitchen. Through these images I strived to document a slice of their life.