Photo compilation of Alek Villarreal. (Ezra Rodriguez/

Traceurs blast like bullets vaulting obstacles, leaving no trace behind

EL PASO – It is a warm Sunday afternoon and a group of young men has gathered at the University of Texas at El Paso to practice parkour (PK) – the gymnastic art of overcoming all obstacles by leaping, springing, and vaulting. More than physical exercise, parkour is a way of life to its practitioners. Dressed in sporty outfits, they begin stretching and warming up for the workout ahead. A large cloud has just covered the sun and the young men smile in admiration. It’s going to be a great day.

The Mexican gray wolf is a subspecies of the Gray Wolf. Mexican wolf at the El Paso Zoo. (Ezra Rodriguez/

The Mexican gray wolf still struggles to survive in the American southwest

EL PASO – After almost 14 years of effort to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf into the American southwest, less than 60 lobos roam today in the 4 million acre territory along the Arizona-New Mexico line. It seems that life is not getting any easier for the lobo. In 1970, predator control programs almost drove the wolves into extinction until efforts to reintroduce them started in 1998. Currently in New Mexico and Arizona only 58 Mexican wolves survive, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1998 wildlife officials estimated that by 2006 the wolf population would have reached 100 in the region.

As far as the eye can see. (Ezra Rodriguez/

Viewing the world through photography keeps the artist motivated and inspired

EL PASO – When my passion for photography started six years ago my sensei, friend, and fellow photographer, Victor Peña told me that photography was like marriage. “Many people think that being a photographer is a piece of cake, but it is much harder that it appears to be,” he said. He also told me that to achieve a successful marriage a person has to work hard to get it. Photography is not much different. I have found that not all days are going to be happy and cheerful; there are days when things are not going to be as one plans.

Pachuco Zoot: A Tale of Identity by coreographer Lisa Smith. (Ezra Rodriguez/

The Pachuco’s zoot suit established cultural identity, challenging prejudice

EL PASO – He stood tall and proud next to his newly polished red 1937 Chevy Deluxe Coupe, the feather on his wool felt tonda gliding through the cold spring breeze, his lisa and drapes crisp without fail. The two toned calcos on his feet shined as a star on dark cloudless day. No one in the barrio had trapos as suaves as this vato. He is part of the Pachuco subculture of young Mexican-American males that developed in the Southwest during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. They wore brightly colored zoot suits and spoke in a lyrical blend of Spanish and English called Caló.