Sunday, March 28, 2021

Roy's Motel + Cafe, Route 66, California, 2019


This print was made in the darkroom in honor of my dear friend David. The negative was exposed late 2019 while driving on Route 66 on the weekends. I was working in Los Angeles and took advantage of the weekends to explore the landscapes of Southern California.

I was driving on Route 66 on this day when I saw a toilet sitting outside. I pulled over to photograph the scene, and that negative was also printed today. I was photographing the toilet when a man also stopped to make a photograph of another sign. We were about 10 miles away from the sign in this print, and I knew nothing of Roy's Motel Cafe. The man then told me that in an hour the sign was going to be turned on for the first time since the motel closed in 2005. 

We drove as fast as we could to Roy's and set up our cameras as the sun set behind the sign. This image was made the minute the lights were turned on.

Claudia, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2014


Hace más de diez años conocí a esta joven por casualidad, mientras visitábamos la casa de su familia para hablar con su prima sobre fotografía. De alguna manera se enteró de que estábamos allí y entró corriendo. Ella no dijo nada, pero sus ojos hablaban perfectamente. Ella aceptó ser incluida y desde entonces nunca ha abandonado mi trabajo.

Ahora ella misma es una artista y crea imágenes similares en contenido a su retrato cercano. Me enorgullece verla crecer como artista y sabía que tendría éxito independientemente de sus opciones profesionales. Ella es un camaleón como modelo, tal como muestran estas dos imágenes. Tiene una presencia genuina frente a la cámara que todo fotógrafo puede apreciar.

¡Esperamos que 2021 sea amable con ella y le traiga mucho éxito!

Young Nica + Field, Miramar, Nicaragua, 2020


Going back to Nicaragua for me was like going back in time to a different life. My parents made a life for themselves in this beautiful land, and giving us the opportunity for a better future. An earthquake in 1972 destroyed all of that, but did not destroy our memories of it all. The people of this country embraced me like a brother and have allowed my photography to take root in the land of my birth. I will always be grateful to them now, and to their hospitality at the time of my parents' generation in this land.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Preparation, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019


Being trusted to fix the fabric means the world to me, and reminds me of my obligations to this community. Moments like this allow me to show these young students my dedication to them, a rare privilege for those outside of this region. 

One look into her blue eyes makes it clear that the work is both important and necessary. The fact that this work is needed in more villages than one can possibly count only makes it more urgent. Anyone moved by this is more than welcome to join.

Blue Eyes + Green Field, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2019


Her eyes are blue and as clear as the sky. This portrait of her was made behind the religious school she attends, with my friend Imdadullah's home in the background. This is his village and portraits of the children are only possible because of him. Over the past few years this has been the village in which I stay, thanks to Imdad's beautiful family and home. Every time we arrange a session with the children I ask for her by name, and someone goes running to call her. Sometimes she comes, sometimes she's missing. Regardless, just having this single portrait of her is everything to me.

Karla Pozo + EGOS, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Esta fue una de esas grandes tardes con Gysleda Virginia De La Barca Vega y sus alumnos de EGOS. Acabábamos de terminar nuestra fotografía digital cuando llegamos a esta esquina. Acababa de llover y la luz era hermosa. Los estudiantes habían caminado toda la tarde y dos tuvieron la amabilidad de dejarme fotografiarlas aquí.

Una de las dos modelos fue Karla, alguien que me ha permitido fotografiarla muchas veces antes de esta tarde. Como habíamos colaborado antes, sabía qué hacer sin instrucción. Fue una pose magnífica, ¡y estoy muy contento de tener la luz!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Best Friends + Home for Mentally/Physically Challenged, Kisumu, Kenya, 2007


Over thirteen years ago her portrait was made during a visit to eastern Kenya. Thanks to the kindness of a foundation called Maragoli Community Development Foundation, we visited many schools as well as homes for children with special needs. On this day we visited a school on the outskirts of the city and photographed its students against the backdrop of a school wall. This was the only dress that they owned, and had put them on as we arrived. Their hardships are unimaginable and this is an improvement over experiences with their own families, with some chained to trees for much of the time. Now they are in great hands with a passionate team.

Note: printed in the darkroom just today onto fiber paper, tones in selenium for permanence.

Young Student + Madrasa, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


Earlier last year due to the pandemic, my return from India was delayed by 6 weeks. The entire time all 600 or so rolls of film were tucked away in the suitcase. My concern was that as the temperatures increased damage would be done to the film. I did the best that I could by keeping the door of the room closed during the day, and open at night. My host family allowed me to use the cooler as well. 

All the while I had the digital images to review, including this portrait. This young girl and her sister have been photographed by me over the past five or so years. I would look through the files and just hope that the film equivalents were safe. Taking walks twice a day helped, and the birds on the wires kept me company.

Now I look back and have even more appreciation for my host family. All of the film was processed successfully and her portrait on film is just as exquisite.

Boy with Severe Burns, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


One afternoon we were invited by the headmaster of this school to visit his home. We accepted of course and visited his home while we were waiting for the sun to set a little more. He wanted us to meet his family, especially his son who had recently suffered a serious burn. 

We were met by a young boy who, despite the immense pain, managed to have the courage to sit down with us. His father told us the story behind the accident while his son sat quietly at his side. While we did our best to keep strong faces, it was very difficult for me to watch this young boy work through his pain. 

After tea we drove back to school with the headmaster and his son. After we were done with the girls' photography, the father gave us permission to make his son's portrait. The young boy walked up and withstood his pain in order to make this portrait. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Shanu + Book Bag, Rajasthan, India, 2020


She is always so serious when in front of a camera, even when receiving a new book bag in front of her classmates. All of the sewing students attended and presented each student with a new uniform as well, hand-made by them. This is an incredible house, home to both the sewing instructor and the elementary school teacher... both sisters. I have visited this home since before this classroom was built, even before the second floor was made. The young woman next to me, now the teacher, used to be a student in the girls' school back then. One look at the smiles of the sewing students tells me that the sewing center needs to open soon, and open soon it will once the virus eases its grip on the world. 

Laura + Dry Lake Bed, Southern California, 2019


Last week Laura asked me to scan one of her color images, and I was glad that she did. We exposed one color roll towards the end of our session when almost all of the tones matched, with the exception of the sky which was the exact opposite in color. The location was magical and Laura sacrificed tremendously to make it happen. To have this image as proof of our time together on that dry lake is the gift of photography!

Young Student + Board, Humana People to People India, Rajasthan, India, 2006


This portrait dates back to my first trip to India, and my first experiences with Humana People to People India. My time in the villages with Humana opened my eyes to an entirely different world, and introduced me to the work of community development from the ground up. It was a privilege to be able to visit more than a dozen schools in the Virat Nagar region of Rajasthan, and to this day this place means the world to me. While the schools are now closed, the foundation and I have maintained contact to this day. In addition, I have visited many of these villages over the past few years and we have begun three sewing centers in three of these villages, with one elementary school as well. My goal is to revisit all of these villages once again and present a plan to revisit the work started more than 20 years ago. One look into her face tells me the incredible value of education, and convinces me of the need to do what we can to make such more possible for the girls of this region.

Note: this frame was just scanned this evening... seen for the very first time since her portrait was made in 2016!

Monday, February 8, 2021

Massai + Me, Kisumu, Kenya, 2007


While making sure all film rolls have been scanned, this frame ran across the screen. It dates back to 2007 and my time with the Masai of eastern Kenya. A dear friend Nga Nga made it all possible, and allowed me to meet an very kind community. I am glad that Nga Nga used my camera to make this image, and look forward to my return to their community one day in the future. After we finished our session in the countryside, this group of men decided to walk back to town rather than take a bus... a walk of around 10 kilometers in the hot sun. What inspirations! 

Massai + Sky, Kisumu, Kenya, 2007


Last month was spent scanning all of the color film from the past 20 years. For some reason, I scanned the monochrome only, and neglected the color film all these years. This young man belongs to the Masai Community and was photographed during my time in Eastern Kenya. Thanks to my brother Nga Nga this work was possible, and I will forever be in debt to this great man.

Young Student + Classroom in Construction, Shamli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, 2020


If at all in doubt, one look at her portrait and all falls into place. She attends a small, religious school in the state of Uttar Pradesh. For her portrait she was standing near a window in a newly constructed classroom. The confidence she shows is remarkable for her age, and for a young girl having her portrait made by someone so different from the men in her village.

Her headmaster is a good man and is planning to construct a new school for the girls of the region. He is moved by the fact that education for girls is less prized by the villagers, in comparison to the education for boys. His decision to pursue such a plan impressed me deeply, and I will work hard on my end to gather the funds necessary by reaching out to the Muslim Community on this side of the world... and every other source of course. 

One look into her eyes makes it clear that the work is both important and necessary. The fact that this work is needed in more villages than one can possibly count only makes it more urgent. Anyone moved by this is more than welcome to join. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Luis Miguel + Las Canchas, Santa Maria del Mar, Cuba, 2018


This image brings so many memories back from my last summer in Cuba. It was the last time I was allowed into the country with my film. My hope is that we can make arrangements to return with my film in order to make such images. Thanks to Luis Miguel and his creativity we had a great morning at this racquetball court just off of the beaches of Santa Maria. This is perhaps my favorite place on the island for photography, and I look forward to another morning there.

Anays + Water, Santa Maria Del Mar, Cuba, 2016


 

I do miss the days in the waters of Cuba, and with the talents of that island. Hopefully one day soon we will see the other side of this pandemic and get back to these waters.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Mango Habana + La Noche, Habana, Cuba, 2018


El verano pasado por la noche caminé por las calles, buscando luz en las calles. Fue una experiencia increíble, más fácil que fotografiar los edificios durante días.

Esta isla siempre me ha enseñado valiosas lecciones, las familias me han tratado bien, como un hermano y un hijo. La paciencia ha sido una lección que me ha permitido ver mi trabajo de una manera diferente.

La paciencia del verano pasado me permitió pasar menos tiempo detrás de la cámara y más tiempo con mis amigos. Tomar un descanso para descansar durante el día me permitió caminar por la noche, viendo la ciudad sin luces y sin turistas.

Algo sobre la noche hizo que mis conversaciones con la gente de esta ciudad fueran muy diferentes. Las conversaciones fueron más relajadas, sin el intercambio habitual entre turista y habitante. Las imágenes tienen una sensación diferente, y me alegro de haber aprovechado la oportunidad para hacer imágenes por la noche.

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Last summer I walked the streets at night, looking for light in the streets. It was an incredible experience, easier than photographing the buildings during the days.

This island has always taught me valuable lessons, the families have treated me well, like a brother and son. Patience has been one lesson, which has allowed me to look at my work in a different way. 

This past summer patience allowed me to spend less time behind the camera and more time with my friends. Taking a break to rest during the day allowed me to walk around at night, seeing the city without lights and without tourists. 

Something about the night made my conversations with the people of this city much different. The conversations were more relaxed, without the usual exchange between tourist and inhabitant. The images have a different sensation, and I am glad to have taken the chance to make images at nighttime. 

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 503CW/100 mm combination.

Bailarina + Plaza, Habana Vieja, Cuba, 2018


Esta noche en mi apartamento estoy escaneando los rollos del verano pasado en Cuba. Se ha seleccionado una imagen para compartir esta noche, un recordatorio de una tarde especial con Iberodance.

Estábamos haciendo un video esa tarde, moviéndonos de una plaza a otra. Después de terminar esa parte del video, estábamos a punto de pasar a la siguiente plaza cuando le pregunté al equipo por unos minutos.

Cuatro de los bailarines se quedaron atrás e hicimos una docena de fotografías. Esta es una de las bailarinas y esta es solo una de las fotografías realizadas. Fue una tarde mágica y estoy agradecido a la compañía por esta imagen memorable.

¡Iberodance, hasta nuestra próxima vez juntos!

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Tonight in my apartment I am scanning the rolls from the past summer in Cuba. One image has been selected to share this evening, a reminder of a special afternoon with Iberodance. 

We were making a video on that afternoon, moving from one plaza to another. After we finished that part of the video we were about to move to the next plaza when I asked the team for a few minutes.

Four of the dancers remained behind and we made a dozen photographs. This is one of the dancers and this is just one of the photographs made. It was a magical afternoon and I am thankful to the company for this memorable image.

Iberodance, until our next time together! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Tamy y Museo, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Every once in a while a photographer faces their creative equal, a person who helps them elevate their art. This has been my experience with the magnificent Tamy. She challenges me on every level, and for such I am eternally grateful.

De vez en cuando, un fotógrafo se enfrenta a sus iguales creativos, una persona que les ayuda a elevar su arte. Esta ha sido mi experiencia con la magnífica Tamy. Ella me desafía en todos los niveles, y por eso estoy eternamente agradecida.

Karen y Laura, La Habana, Cuba, 2018


Hace dos veranos, mi querida amiga Gysleda Virginia De La Barca Vega me concedió el privilegio de colaborar con algunos de sus alumnos de su escuela ModaEgos, entre ellas Karen Machado Vazquez y Laura Rivalta que aparecen en esta imagen. Este museo se convirtió en uno de mis lugares favoritos para nuestras sesiones, y muchos de mis amigos cubanos lo reconocerán el verano pasado.

Este verano espero ver más espacios y volver a visitar a muchos de ustedes en Cuba. También espero incluir más el mundo del baile en mis imágenes ... ¡las modelos y los bailarines son bienvenidos!

Two summers ago, my dear friend Gysleda allowed me the privilege of collaborating with some of her students from her school ModaEgos, including Karen and Laura featured in this image. This museum became one of my favorite places for our sessions, and many of my Cuban friends will recognize it from last summer.

This summer I look forward to more spaces, and to revisiting many of you in Cuba. I also look forward to including the world of dance more so in my images... models and dancers welcome!