The matanza—Spanish for ‘slaughter’ or ‘killing’—is a link that connects current and future generations of New Mexicans with their ancestors. Before electricity, it was a way for communities throughout the region to ensure everyone had fresh meat during the winter months. Today, it endures as a celebratory time for friends and neighbors to reconnect over a day of feasting. Killing Tradition: Matanzas in New Mexico is an ongoing, personal project and visual exploration of the cultural significance of this tradition and its place in contemporary society.
Fueled by the light, lonely landscapes and diverse people of New Mexico, photographer Steven St. John loves to explore his home state from his base in Albuquerque.