Self-Portrait, San Jose Purua, Mexico, 1976

After my engagement broke off, I went to Mexico to find my way as the famous photographer Tina Modotti had years earlier. I visited Leonora Carrington, a surrealist painter, at her gracious home in Mexico City. She told me, "We know how to heal people here -- take the mushrooms in Palenque or go to the mineral waters." I went to the baths and learned to let the waters penetrate my soul. The local Indians showed me how to splash the droplets on my heart. It was here that this major sadness floated away. Compelled to portray water and its uses years later, I journeyed to Aix-les-Bain, France and stayed as a guest of a famous spa doctor, Francois Forestier, whose family had administered Napoleon a water cure. From there I traveled on to Spa, Belgium, to shoot one of earliest spas. I arrived just as the Chernobyl meltdown crisis occurred and sat with the managers worrying about the contaminating winds blowing through Europe and the possible destruction of the water source. That was a defining moment in my desire to show the preciousness of water. Wolfgang Becker, curator of the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, wrote in the exhibition catalogue of my experience, "Linda Troeller often searches the close-up and the flowing movement in such a manner that it marries the human being and water in a state of ecstasy. Colors and shapes in the photographs assume the expression of oceanic drunkenness. She has discovered a picture of human experience, which is organic, blurred, warm, comfortable, mysterious, and holistic."

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