photo by parker hilton

"My family has been running this shop for 40 years. In 40 years, I have not seen a hat big enough for your head."

When we first crossed the border there was a very interesting flood of emotions. We were all elated to be somewhere new, and eager to begin working on the project we set out to create. Being the least fluent Spanish speakers of the group, Parker and Joel were especially excited to start learning more of the language, but a bit nervous to look like idiots (which would inevitably happen). 

That was up until they met Lorenzo, who spoke about as much English as they did Spanish; forcing a beautifully muddled Spanglish mashup conversation that proved that this project was still possible even while hopping back and forth across a language barrier. They first stepped into his family’s leather shop in Ensenada to pick up a belt for Joel but they stayed to soak up his story and hear about his craft. 

Lorenzo had lived in Ensenada all his life working in the shop his parents had run since the 1970s. He learned about types of leather and the tools necessary to work it over from his father and grandfather. Even in his mid-thirties, his mother still hung out behind the counter, commenting on the photographs we took of him (“Muy guapo Lorenzo!”), much to his chagrin.

After buying a belt for Joel and resizing Parker's in return for the photographs, Lorenzo joked about how one of his three wives might enjoy the photograph of him. His mother scowled in the back room.