A Floral Calling: Alberto Arango & Ramiro Guerrero - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

A Floral Calling: Alberto Arango & Ramiro Guerrero


Eight years ago, Alberto Arango and Ramiro Guerrero knew nothing about flowers, except that they adored them.

“At the time, we’d never even been to Mercado de Jamaica,” says Alberto, referring to Mexico City’s sprawling public market, famous for its vast selection of flowers. “But we were anxious to begin.”

“Flowers were calling us,” Ramiro adds. “But we had no idea whether our project would take off or crash.”

The couple have lived together for 11 years. Over the course of that time, each has experimented with a variety of creative undertakings—theater, photography, drawing, architecture—but Flores Cosmos, conceived during a fateful visit to Barcelona, was the only one that stuck.

“Upon returning from Spain, we moved into a friend’s a house just a block away from where we live now,” says Ramiro. “We had no idea where or how we would survive. All we had were our credit cards.”

This portrait is part of our ongoing collaboration with ZEIT Online, who presents a special curation of our pictures on ZEIT Magazin Online.

Now, nearly a decade later, their house and workshop are one next to the other, part of a peaceful and well-kept 1950s vecindad. When the pair leave in the morning, they’re met with the sounds of traffic and the polluted air beyond their door, but inside, they’ve created a veritable oasis, filled with books, art, music, and the joyful meanderings of their beloved rescued dogs, Kodama and Peluchina. (Tending to the city’s strays is another of the couple’s passions.)

“Avenida Revolucion, where we live, is one of the noisiest and ugliest streets in the city,” says Alberto. “But we have a silent, green environment as soon as we close the door.”

For better or for worse, the house also serves as a retreat from the couple’s less tolerant fellow city dwellers. “Some people in the neighborhood have a peculiar attitude toward us,” says Alberto. “They pretend that we are cousins, brothers or close friends, and very few accept that we are married. I tell them openly that I’m his husband and I enjoy seeing the different reactions.”

But for the two, who were married shortly after gay marriage was made legal in Mexico City, the choice to stay—and to forge ahead in their pursuit to add to its beauty—is an easy one.

Says Ramiro, “Although I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with this city, love always wins in the end.”