The hacienda Jaral de Berrio, founded 1774, in the current state of Guanajuato, Mexico, was appointed to Miguel de Berrio y Zaldívar, Marquis of Jaral by Charles III, and was Mexico’s largest hacienda. Home to generations of the Berrio lineage, it’s wealthiest owner, Juan Nepomuceno de Moncada y Berrio was considered the richest man in Mexico during the 1830s, and was said to have left a hacienda to each of his 99 sons. During its heyday in the late 19th century, it housed up to 6500 people and had its own railway station, post office, two primary schools, and a parish church. As was the style in this Francophile obsessed society, the main building was lavishly furnished and the walls hand frescoed or plied with imported French wallpaper.
Today, the ex-hacienda is a beautiful decaying ruin that houses the Jaral de Berrio mezcal factory. Visitors have free range to explore every part of this building (at ones own risk of course). Walls are collapsing, the floors of second story rooms have fallen in places, leaving dangerous holes, ceilings expose open sky, and the whole place is overrun with vermin and birds. Completely ransacked over the years, there are no windows or doors, the wooden frames are stripped, fixtures are gone, and all of the copper wire has been pulled directly out of the plaster walls, leaving violent grooves. The ex-hacienda truly is the embodiment of the old cliché “faded glory.” That being said, it is possibly one of the most magical places I have ever been, and I am so lucky to have had the chance to visit several times.
These images were taken on two separate occasions and represent the dualities between light and dark, as well as a departure into a bit more lavish costuming. I have refrained from posting these images, as I am planning on regularly returning to this hacienda to continue to delve into this body of work. Regardless, it felt like unfinished business not to have posted something, and by something I mean a lot of photos.