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LUIS BERNAL

A LESSON ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT

Journeys and Perspectives: A Lesson On What Is Important | Onyx and Alexa

Posted: October 16, 2019

Words & photographs by siblings Onyx and Alexa on Twitter

Dear legend,

Standing in the midday sun in Dolores Hidalgo, a historic city famous in the fight for Mexican independence, Luis Bernal offers to take photos of tourists in the main plaza. He has been doing so since the 1940's, when he used to charge 5 cents per photo. His face does not appear in those countless photos, but he has been leaving his mark long before the invention of the selfie, long before the plaza became a popular tourist area, which Bernal says did not happen until the 90's.

Bernal walks the steps of heroes; it is in this plaza, in front of the Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Parish, where Miguel Hidalgo & Costilla called to arms against the Spanish with his speech "El Grito de Dolores" (The Cry of Dolores) one fateful day of September 16, 1810, now oficially known as Mexican Independence Day.

It is also in this place where Bernal reminds us of what is important in life.



Journeys and Perspectives: Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Dolores | Onyx and Alexa

What is important in life?

At 95 years old, Bernal impresses with his vitality, positive attitude and strong grip of the camera. A good part of his day is spent helping tourists capture special moments, but his purpose in life goes beyond photography.

Unlike the heroes of the Mexican independence movement who walked the streets of Dolores fighting for freedom, Bernal walks for what he considers to be important in life — helping others in the community.

Bernal pays attention to the people around him. He will gladly help someone cross the street, buy a soda or a warm meal for someone who looks tired or in need, share a few historical details of the city, and even give some advice on life.

Journeys and Perspectives: Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Dolores | Onyx and Alexa

Luis Bernal | Dolores, Hidalgo

BERNAL'S ADVICE

FOR A LONG LIFE

Born in 1924, Bernal makes an effort to stay physically active. He rides his bicycle everyday, sometimes making deliveries of class photos he takes for schools. When his children offer to take over some of his daily activities, he tells them to let him do what he can.

FOR WOMEN

Bernal believes the best inheritance a parent can give their children is an education. Women should believe in themselves and their self-worth. If they're ever in a relationship where they are mistreated, having an education gives them the tools to support themselves and leave relationships that cause them harm.

FOR MARRIED COUPLES

Bernal believes it is important for couples to have a place of their own. If they have any issues within their relationship, no one else has to witness them, and they can work them out together.

Journeys and Perspectives: Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores | Onyx and Alexa

Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores | Dolores, Hidalgo

MEMORABLE KEEPSAKE

Onyx and Alexa in Dolores Hidalgo

Onyx and Alexa Aker | Photo by Luis Bernal | Dolores, Hidalgo

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