Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Orchestra rehearsal - Otavalo, Ecuador, 1979


La música venía desde lejos. Desde más allá de la plaza principal.
Mi curiosidad crecía a medida que aumentaba la cercanía a unos sonidos que combinaban un sabor a Europa Imperial y a Sudamérica Indígena.
Cuando por fin hallé la fuente, un pequeño recinto iluminado por tres bombillas eléctricas, la imagen que llegó a mis ojos parecía sacada de una fotografía tomada en Hungría en 1932. Los músicos de la Banda Municipal de Otavalo estaban ensayando para no sé qué función en el pueblo.
Lo que queda consignado en la cámara es el regodeo de la luz en la película blanco y negro. Y la posteridad, que al fin de cuentas termina siendo casi siempre un sueño ya vivido.

Newspaper vendor-Toronto 1974


Uno camina buscando y mirando, y se entrega por completo a la curiosidad o al destino.
Uno anda con los ojos ansiosos, ojos sedientos de aventuras visuales. Uno llega a la esquina donde se cruzan las Calles King y Bay, en Toronto; en el verano del 74, y allí está este hombre esperando ser rescatado de la muerte corporal para permanecer por siempre vendiendo el diario bajo la luz de plata de su sombrilla curtida.

English nude


De los cientos de desnudos que han entrado a mis lentes, este permaneció varios años a la espera de ser tenido en cuenta. Y vaya que ha valido la pena.

Olivier después de la operación


Mi querido Olivier Jean-Robert, joven fotógrafo francés aquejado en mala hora por la maldición del cáncer, acaba de ser operado. Es San Francisco en 1992 y ahora me muestra las suturas, la cruda mano del hombre zurciendo la piel como si fuera un costal.

Olivier feeling pain


Dos días después de la operación Olivier se muestra valiente y obstinado frente a la realidad del dolor.

Looking for Henry Moore




















Esta mujer camina por entre los laberintos de la galería de arte del Ontario College of Art en Toronto, buscando insistente la realidad que esconde el yeso, la madera y el mármol de Henry Moore.

Horse Meat Shop, Paris




















Y de repente, levantando la vista al cielo en busca de un indicio de lluvia, aparece la cabeza de caballo que anuncia que no sólo de pan vive el hombre.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

In Search of Walker Evans' Dream (Paris)



I would like to think that on all those years spent by the American master in Paris he tried in vain to find this image. The epitome of his love and passion for the vernacular. All within reach but of no avail to him. And to think that it took me only a week to find it, a few hundred yards from la Porte de Saint Denis.

Shadow on the grid

Visually Exploiting a Sleeping Man





































I love this shot; the position of the ankles, one superseding the other; the shining fold of the old boot, the humble look of a single sock just peering under the trousers, things like that...

Calle de la Luna


Me parece que nada se le puede agregar a esta imagen que ya no esté implícito en el título.
La belleza está contenida en el nombre de la misma.

Paris era una fiesta


Este hombre sin hogar parece haber encontrado al menos un colchón mullido donde dormir la borrachera de la noche anterior. Por lo pronto no tendrá que despertarse en el frio pavimento.
El título de la imagen se lo debo y, por ello pido excusas por el atrevimiento, a Ernest Hemingway. El original era en referencia a Paris descrita como "A Moveable Feast", lo que no es, necesariamente, una fiesta movible.

Desde la ventana


Después de admirar la extraordinaria exhibición de Alexander Rodchenko en el Museo de arte Moderno en París, no pude menos que sentirme influenciado por sus picados y contrapicados así que decidí hacer esta toma desde la ventana del amplio salón.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

My mother- April 23, 1922-Nov 25, 2007


I know tears must be spilled privately but not today. My mother, Marina Salazar de Borja, has died on this day November 25, 2007 in Cali, Colombia, and I will not be there to bury her.
I am here, in England, mourning her passing and crying silently in my kitchen, thinking about Life, God and all those things one tends to think when destiny strikes another blow to our hearts.
Here she is, in all her innocent looking first identity card taken somewhere in Bogota, around 1940, well before she met my father and made me and my brothers.
They say the Internet makes private matters very public and this message proves it correct.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Modern Lisa


Little did Leonardo know. Universal art can be appropriated and demeaned by modern and unsuspecting modes and mores. This modern Gioconda, cheeky cigarette dangling from her lips, thought that everything is fair in war and love for art.

Manos, paloma





















Two young hands rest on the comfort of the warm concrete on a sunny morning of the parisian summer.
A pigeon has, perhaps, (do they ever?) lost his way and is inquisitively looking around for human company.
Everything is possible on days like these...

The Memorial, Paris



The site is almost empty.
The surrounding area is stern and silent.
The granite speaks for the dead.
The place of full of unknown memories.
There is a heavy feeling in the air.
It is the Holocaust memorial in Paris.
Just behind the Cathedral of Notre Dame, that other place of the memory of France.

Music without a smile


There she was: silent and full of stoicism.
Not a smile, not even a request for a coin in return for her efforts.
But she played on, and on. All the way from Bulgaria.
She was sitting on the concrete slabs of the plaza at the Centre Pompidou striking her mandolin, or whatever it was she was stroking, subsumed and possessed by her silence under the curious gaze of the tourist's camera.

Caballito





















You come from the cemetery in Montparnasse and after seeing so many buried memories you want to see life.
And you don't find it right away.
But all you find instead is this petit cheval going around forever atop the carrousel.
It should be enough to restore a sense of rhythm in your life.

On the sunny side of the street


You walk. You explore the sites, bit by bit.
And then you walk on to a short lived sidewalk and on the other side of the street there is a sight.
You look and think: Damn, this looks good.
Out comes the Rolleiflex.
The rest is what you see here.

Two men by the river


The city is luminous and beautiful.
Two men talk by the shore on the other side.
Life goes on as life goes on summer days.
I am a spy with a camera. That's all there is to it.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Joseph George, Canterbury 2007


This is a portrait of Joe George a former student of mine in Canterbury College and one of the best and brightest to have ever studied there. He graduated in 2005 and now lives in Japan where he is pursuing his unique vision of whatever it is going to be his future.

Walter Martinez (RIP)


Walter was a very ambitious man and a talented architect.
One day he thought he could play at being a bandit as well as an intellectual.
He lost and all his friends lamented the absurd circumstances of his demise.
He was found shot dead like a sick dog and never even made the morning edition of the papers in his old home town of Cali, Colombia.

Rene Ariza, Cuban poet (RIP)

























He was a very good poet, also quite mad by all standards; full of joy at times and deeply depressed at others.
In 1967 he was awarded a national prize and hailed as a bright new playwright by the Fidel Castro regime. But when he decided to speak freely and changed his tune, and criticized the government, they threw him in jail where he spent seven years accused of being a counter-revolutionary parasite. He was taken from jail and put aboard a boat bound for Miami in the 1979 before the exodus of Mariel. There he went a bit crazy while searching for his piece of the American Dream.
He died in 1994 in San Francisco.

Ramon Churruca, Basque artist


This is a crazy-like-a-fox Basque artist who was living in San Francisco at the time this shot was taken (1993).
After I left for greener jungles I lost track of him and a host of other crazies. Who knows where they all are now.

Enrique Chagoya


He has been patiently honing his skills as a contemporary anthropological commentator through the use of engraving and prints. This bright modern painter came all the way from the Distrito Federal, Mexico City, in the mid-seventies to study in the US.
He lives in San Francisco where he graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California, Berkeley.
He is now assistant director at the Fine Art Department in Stanford University, Palo Alto.

Arturo Arias, writer


Arturo Arias is originally from Guatemala.
He has been living in California for many years where he teaches Latin American literature at San Francisco State University. He is a recipient of Casa de Las Americas Prize, one of the most well-respected and prestigious literary awards in the Spanish speaking world.
One bright midday he showed up at my pad, up on Potrero Hill, and lovingly embracing my copy of the Oxford English dictionary went into a semi-trance before I photographed him in 1992.

Carlos Loarca, San Francisco 1992


Carlos Loarca is a Guatemalan painter greatly influenced by modern contemporary schools of art, but with a rich vein of indigenous mythological versions of the universe from his part of the world.
Last time I checked he was living in San Francisco.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Abandoned garden


In Paris, it is well known, everyone abandons the city for a few weeks in August. This inner sanctum in a building bordering le Marais could not be the exception. It was protected from the public by a high fence and its sole function, it seemed, was not to please the roving eye of the tourist but simply to feel the breeze on lazy afternoons.