All photos © Jenn Ackerman for The Wall Street Journal.
On a recent assignment from the Wall Street Journal to photograph the owner of a tortilla factory in a small Iowa town, Jenn Ackerman and Tim Gruber ended up shooting a photo essay about the town’s growing Latino population. “It was one of those assignments we live for – meeting people and places that we would probably not be introduce to otherwise,” the Minneapolis-based husband and wife team says. “We spent the morning at a church celebrating a baptism with a family we had just met, the afternoon at a tortilla factory and the evening with multiple families at their birthday parties. We even got to join in and hit a couple of pinatas ourselves.”
Above: A food truck serves tacos at a park in Ottumwa, Iowa, on September 16, 2012.
Mario DeLeon, a lay minister at St. Mary of The Visitation Parish, stands in front of the church before Sunday mass in Spanish in Ottumwa, Iowa. He is one of many immigrants that are moving to the Midwest in search of well-paying blue collar jobs and affordable housing.
Parishioners leave St. Mary of The Visitation Parish after the Sunday Mass in Spanish on September 16, 2012.
Super Mercado is located on Main Street in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Jose Rodas makes tortillas in his factory in Ottumwa, Iowa, on September 16, 2012. After working the local pork processing facility for years, Roads, originally from Guatemala, has bought a home, co-signed his daunter’s mortgage and recently opened the town’s first tortilla factory.
Pedro Carbajal unloads balloons with prizes during his daughter’s first birthday party.
Maria Brajas, left and Pedro Carbajal celebrate their daughter’s (Natalia Angeline Carbajal Barajas) first birthday.
A family celebrates a birthday with a piñata.