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.