“…ando lejos de mi tierra / y nomás me acuerdo me dan ganas de llorar”
“…I’m far from my land / just by remembering, it makes me want to cry”
The Cardenche is a beautiful desert flowering cactus, adorned with sharp, prickly thorns. When these thorns pierce the skin, it is utterly destructive— attempted removal causes extreme damage due to their inverse spikes. The musical tradition of “Canto Cardenche”, which comes from the region I’m from—Northern Mexico— was named after this flower, referring to the way love can fill the heart with joy but also leave it deeply hurt.
"Love enters easily, like a thorn, but it hurts the most when it leaves."
My hometown of Durango in Northern Mexico is a place renowned for its expansive desert— the lyrics of the Canto Cardenche delve into the hardships of desert life and the heartbreak of lost loves. It is a genre that embraces the rawness of human experiences, where the theme of death looms ever-present.
The Canto Cardenche tradition showcases a unique form of beauty in the desert— it represents a beauty that doesn't conform to commercial or standardized ideals. It is a beauty that emerges from the struggles and stories of a specific corner of the world, transcending superficial appearances. I believe that beauty knows no boundaries, and specific, personal stories should be honored above the generic. I want to keep pushing to look beyond the surface, and embrace the beauty that arises from the depths of our souls, driven by our journey of self-discovery and personal evolution.
Through the lens of El Canto Cardenche, I found inspiration—a reminder that beauty is not confined to a predetermined mold but rather emerges from the heart of our cultural heritage, our journeys, and the stories we hold within. It is a testament to the power of reclaiming our unique identities and cherishing the beauty that arises from the depths of our souls.
In this series, I invited Laurel Charleston, an extraordinary makeup artist and model, Nathan Sweet a great stylist and the amazing Rachel Hopkins. Together, we set out to blend our stories, connecting our different backgrounds and life experiences to reach a new artistic height. As a trans woman, Laurel’s very identity and existence defies what has been traditionally understood as “beauty”. Her own sense of beauty and essence extends deeper, rooted in the joy and pain of her personal growth. By having Laurel represent the concept of Cardenche, we reflect on the multi-faceted, ever-changing nature of beauty.
Photography and creative direction : Fernando Rdz "Nobody"
Model & Make up artist: Laurel Charleston
Stylist: Nathan sweet
Hair: Rachel Hopknis