Hispanic Pictures La Loteria


Hispanic pictures La Loteria simply reminds us of how different we are even though we are all from Spanish speaking countries. For the most part we understand each other is Spanish, but dialects are everywhere.

In Puerto Rico, Lotería is a lottery ticket sold weekly for fifty cents. The low-ticket price makes it affordable to play with a chance of winning big money prizes. It’s an exciting weekly event!

When I showed this photograph to a friend from Mexico, she asked “what’s this photo about?” since the photo did not coincide with the word Lotería. She explained in Mexico, Lotería is a board game.

With this example and photograph, I aim to bring attention to one difference among Latin American cultures. That is of the numerous languages and dialects that exist. Often necessitating my asking another Latino to explain what a certain Spanish word means, or my needing to do some explaining.

In some cases, it’s not just misunderstanding one word but not recognizing a language at all.

While taking photographs in Ecuador, I asked a woman, in Spanish, if I could take her photo. She responded in a language I had never heard – Quechua – one of many local indigenous languages of Ecuador and South America. Although startling at first, the encounter was fun – I showed her my camera, she smiled, and I took the photo. It was an enlightening moment in which we both recognized we were Hispanic and yet we were so different.

To view my Ecuadorian “hermanita,” tune in to next month’s photo contribution. You can buy La Lotería bilingual greeting cards on www.culturame.com

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.   View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame™

Hispanic Pictures Feliz Año Nuevo



Hispanic pictures Feliz Año Nuevo! captures the uncertainty living in many Latino hearts today, probably due to the difficult economic times that are rampant around the world.

This photo may seem an unlikely selection for the New Year, but the unknown of what’s behind the hats and the solemn look in the child’s face strikes me as an appropriate photo for 2012, considering the many unknowns in our future and the lack of economic and environmental optimism in the air.

Times are uncertain in Guatemala, where this photo was taken, as it is in much of the world today.

The older folks look to comfort the child, but the child is questioning them – as though to say, “what’s with you grown up?” Why is my world so messy?

The answers are few and with no guarantees. In all parts of the world struggles exist and finding the right balance is a difficult process, but what is certain is that we need to provide a safe future with opportunities for our children – no matter in what country, language or culture.

Lets work towards Prosperidad, Unidad, y un Feliz Año Nuevo in 2012!

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.  View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame

Hispanic Pictures El Espiritu de Navidad
The Christmas Spirit


Hispanic pictures El Espiritu de Navidad reminds us that it is time to express joy and spread the love. It all seems bright regardless of the problems we had during the year that is getting ready to go away forever.

We make preparations for celebrating La Navidad with our family and friends, start setting new goals for the new year and prepare spiritually for all that has to come starting on January first.

While strolling along a small village in Costa Rica called Puerto Jimenez, during the month of December, it was enchanting to see that no matter how small, simple or elaborate the façade of a house, most houses were decorated with colorful Christmas ornaments.

This was not surprising, as Latinos are very festive and love to share El Espiritu de La Navidad.

Fiestas are plentiful and homes are ornately decorated as an invitation for friends and neighbors to come and share the holidays.

The house on this photograph was striking, as the contrast was significant. At once it is joyful, with the vibrant Christmas decorations and yet it lacks vitality with its door and wooden window tightly shut.

It served as an inspiration and a reminder that no matter how dismal things may seem, a little decoration and sharing of Navidades can bring smiles and joy, as it did to me!

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo!

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur. View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Culturame™.

Hispanic Pictures El Chico y La Chica…


Hispanic pictures brings this month El Chico y La Chica, a picture that shows the old and the new. Looking at it, it ironically mixes the new world with those little details that prevail in many of our countries of origin.

I still remember hearing the old men passing by offering oranges in our neighborhood back in Colombia, or the many others carrying oranges on their backs at the Plaza de Mercado.

What has changed is the technology that surrounds us, how our worlds have evolved…That mix, the new and the old now through the lense of Debra del Toro.

Since September is a month for new beginnings, I chose this photo taken in Taxco, Mexico for this month’s photo contribution because it represents an interesting contrast of the old and the new.

The young man carries sacks of oranges on his back – a traditional image of labor. The girl sits leisurely holding a cell phone wearing jeans, athletic shorts, and a floral top – a modern cultural image.

Both reveal what was then and what is now – a testament as to how technology may infiltrate culture, but some things don’t ever change.

What does remain constant is the attraction between boy and girl. Will the traditional boy and the fashionably tech savvy girl get together? It is likely the opposites will merge and adapt to the new while retaining their old. That’s the beauty of our world today – we are able to embrace the new while holding onto our cultural traditions and identities.

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.  View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame™

Hispanic Pictures El Cantante


Hispanic pictures El Cantante can depict a typical singer delighting the audience with his singing and music.

In Latin American countries, it is fairly commun to hear singers entertaining crowds or simply by standers at times when it isn’t carnaval or carnival, a special festivity that takes place in Andean countries for example.

Women enchanted by a man singing sweet Spanish love songs with his guitar is a common scene at the many festivals that celebrate culture and traditions of Latin America.

In Otavalo, Ecuador, which is located in the Northern Sierra of Ecuador the women and men dress in traditional costume to celebrate summer solstice at the Inti Raymi or “party of the sun and harvest” festival

During this festival the earth offers all of it’s fruits after the Andean agricultural cycle ends one of its phases. It’s a time of reunion with the family, community, and more importantly Mother Earth.

The Fiestas Patronales, in which each town celebrates its patron saint, in Puerto Rico take place throughout the year.

The festivals are full of color, music, live entertainment, and traditions that often go on for various days or weeks as people enjoy the festivities at their town’s plaza or neighboring towns.

Festivals are also prevalent in Mexico throughout the year. It seems as if Mexico and all Latin American countries look for just about any reason to celebrate; a local saint’s day, a historic event, or even vegetables can provide good reasons for a celebration. Be sure to visit many of the local Latino festivals in your community.

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.   View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame™

Hispanic Pictures Dominoes

La Plaza… Guy Time…


Hispanic pictures Dominoes brings you this month a typical Latin American tradition…Who has not seen men in the neighborhood corners of Hispanic culture countries playing dominó?

On a hot sunny afternoon, I strolled by the Plaza of Rincón, Puerto Rico and noticed the men in this photo playing dominoes. Only the sounds of shuffling and connecting of dominoes could be heard.

Their quiet, stoic, patient demeanor struck me as something from another era. It was a peaceful moment in time in which men were being men, playing dominoes, at the plaza, enjoying guy time while staying cool under a shady tree!

The ritual of men playing dominoes can be seen in big urban cities as well. The men bring a square table and their game to the sidewalks of city streets. Usually near a bodega, where the proximity of a cold “cerveza” keeps them cool on a hot steamy summer day.

Whether it’s at the plaza or the sidewalk, it’s about getting outside, connecting with friends, and staying cool!

Plazas throughout Latin America often serve as the core of the city combining governmental and historical buildings, churches, shopping, and a place to meet and relax.

Gatherings of family and friends in the Plaza, where men play dominoes and women listen to local chismes is a great Latino pass-time.

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.   View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame™

Hispanic Pictures Crosses

Crucesitas “Come in different sizes, shapes y colores. ¡Como nosotros!”


Hispanic pictures Crosses simply reminds us or how common and representative are crosses in Hispanic culture. They are everywhere, in our homes, chests, bracelets, books of prayers, rosaries and so forth.

Hispanics are very connected with religion, and even though in the last 20 years many Latinos have drifted away from Roman Catholicism, Christianity continues to be prevalent amongst us.

It is undeniable that religion and faith are deeply interconnected with Hispanics overall. Our cultural heritage is tied to Spain and Portugal where Catholicism was and still until today is the strongest religious force.

Hispanic pictures crosses appear during our most important celebrations like Christmas, Holy week, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, Three King’s days, etc. They are present reminding us our religious believes and background. Here is what Debora tells us about Crucesitas or small crosses.

I spotted these colorful rosaries on an altar in Chimayo, New Mexico. I was struck by how they hung together in unison yet so different in shapes and colors.

It brought back memories of when my mother used her rosary to pray. I remember her quietly holding her brown wooden rosary in her hands, with her fingers moving from one bead to another, while her lips parted slightly softly reciting her prayers.

She seemed at peace in that spiritual moment, as I imagine the same for the many people who prayed using these rosaries and then leaving them behind as a symbol of unity.

It seems appropriate to choose Crucesitas for my monthly photo contribution with the Christmas holidays being celebrated this month. The message is universal! Promoting faith, love, and unity for all this holiday season and always.

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.   View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame™

Hispanic Pictures Beans

Frijoles a Main Staple Amongst Hispanics


Beans or frijoles are a delicious food that we Latinos love. Many of us grew up eating rice and beans almost on a daily basis.

For many Hispanics beans represent a piece of heritage. They bring to our mind memories of family and loved ones meeting once a week to share foods at lunch time and to enjoy each other’s company.

There are many kinds of beans throughout Spanish speaking countries, and as a matter of fact if you visit the bean section in your ethnic supermarket you will see many shapes, shades and names related to the country that consumes that particular kind of bean the most.

For example, you can see Goya packages of beans labeled as Salvadorian beans, Mexican beans, Dominican beans, etc.

In this Hispanic photo, Debra shows a typical market and gives us a little nugget of info about beans in Latin culture.

Frijoles or Habichuelas, as they are called in Puerto Rico, are a basic food staple in most Latin American countries. Beans were an important source of protein throughout old and new world history, and still are today with the increase in vegetarian diets.

Frijoles Negros are the most popular in Cuba where they are served with yellow rice and accompanied with sweet plantains.

In Puerto Rico, I grew up eating habichuelas with arroz con pollo and tostones (green crispy fried plantains).

In Mexico pinto beans are smashed into refried beans and served as an accompaniment or rolled into a tortilla to form a bean burrito.

In Ecuador as photographed here, these red beans will be prepared into a vegetarian stew.

In whichever form, beans are one of Latin America’s comfort foods cooked with wonderful spices and made to be eaten with a hearty appetite!

Debra Del Toro-Phillips is a photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur.   View this photo and others in our Fotografía of America Latina Collection at Cultúrame™