Wednesday, 25 July 2007

El Chiripazo


La noche anterior, sentado en un café del centro pude ver y sentir las posibilidades del lugar. La estructura de la antigua Plaza, los magníficos arcos. El problema era que a esa hora estaba invadida de incontables hombres y mujeres rubios hablando y fumando y bebiendo al aire libre.
Decido entonces, a la mañana siguiente, deambular entre el silencio de las siete y media en San Sebastián, donde solo unos cuantos ciudadanos se deslizan entre las sombras que proyectan las columnas. Al doblar una esquina me encuentro de buenas a primeras con este hombre que recoge los desechos de la noche anterior y sin pensar en la exposición correcta oprimo el disparador.
"Al carajo con la exposición corecta", me repito, mientras veo flotando este barrendero que viene a inscribirse en mi negativo, una mañana del verano de 1988.

Sacre Coeur, una de la madrugada


Con la cámara en una mano y una botella de cerveza en la otra, el fotógrafo decide probar su suerte y trata inútilmente de congelar el confuso ritmo de caballitos y cebras multicolores que parecen girar eternamente. Lo único que logra extraer de la luz a esa hora de la madrugada es el perfil austero de la Basílica del Sagrado Corazón custodiando la colina.

Dos Marinas, dos...


Many years had to pass for these two Marinas to meet. One was born in Toronto in 1981, the other one in Maidstone Hospital, England, in the very hot summer of 2003

Arco de Cuchilleros


Después de haber leído un texto de Carlos Fuentes acerca de Madrid, una noche en Madrid, salí a buscar con denuedo esta imagen...hasta encontrarla. Está ubicado en un extremo de la Plaza Mayor, donde una estatua ecuestre guarda el orden del recinto abierto y donde la luz golpea con un brochazo naranja los balcones en la tarde.

Paseo del Prado



Caminando por esta bella avenida Madrileña me encuentro con una mujer de edad, a quien la vida parece haber abandonado, y quien me trae a la memoria imágenes que creía perdidas para siempre en mis vericuetos subconscientes que involucran los años cincuentas...Ella mira el entorno con un aire de quien no pertenece y está sentada justo enfrente del monumento desde donde Velázquez hecho bronce parece dirigir el agitado tráfico con leves movimientos de pincel en mitad del vuelo.

Cara de patata


Flotando en el espacio de una pared, en la tarde madrileña hay un rostro sin nombre, ni más rastro de autor que unos cuantos garabatos.

Un largo corredor...(Reina Sofía, Madrid)




















...luz de oro tiñendo una columna
dos o tres cintas hechas sombra
un antiguo sabor en la memoria
en el claustro de un aire hospitalario...

Thursday, 19 July 2007

El Indomable Memo Correa


Memo belongs in my personal album since the days in which we were both ten years old. This is not him anymore, this is what he looked like in 1975, when he was all suave, sweet talking his way into all the girl's dormitories, whilst getting his degree in Architecture. Nowadays he is a grandfather, and he is still trying to sweet talk his way, albeit with much, much less success than thirty years ago.

Hernán Toro in Cali


In 1975 I went back to Cali for the first time after two years in Toronto, in the company of Margaret Thurlow, who was teaching me photography at the time.
The very next day while walking in the downtown area, trying to get my memories in place, I ran into one of my dearest friends on planet Earth, the writer Hernán Toro. We had one of the street photographers in Puente Ortiz take a picture of us in the company of Margaret. Hernán still lives in Cali where he teaches literature at Universidad del Valle.
The photographers in the bridge and the adjacent park disappeared many years ago.

Memory trip


This has turned into a memory trip and so I have found a picture of my cousin Henry Salazar in 1975, trying to light a cigarette out in the countryside a couple of hours south of Bogotá.

Ever and face


My friend, the painter Ever Astudillo, came to see me in San Francisco in 1992 and I got this shot of him at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair of that year. He seems to be paying homage to the street artist that painted this anonymous face.

Dog looking


This image has been sitting patiently for over thirty years to see the light of day. It was taken in Pantano de Vargas, Boyacá, Colombia, sometime in the spring of 1975

Diablito at the door


This is El Diablito, one of the most accomplished street thieves in my neighborhood in Cali. He seems to be spying into a room that I used in one of my trips south, on one of those days in which I slept with my camera under my pillow.

In the service of my country


This image of a long gone time shows my father and sister, and myself, during the forgotten year of 1969.
It was after high school and there was nothing else to do, except to get a passport.
But before that could happen I had to secure the obligatory military certificate, hence this picture, taken by an ambulatory photographer, such as I myself would become a few years later.
My mother used to bring me delicious home-cooked meals and fruit juices, which were the only respite during days filled with mindless drills and military discipline.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Sombras Gaditanas


"Sombras nada más" es el título de una famosa canción romántica del Caribe.
Y el Caribe parece estar siempre presente en el espíritu, la arquitectura y la luz fuertísima del Puerto de Cádiz.
Hay en su ambiente mucho de ese aire que se siente y se respira en el Viejo San Juan o tal vez en la Habana y, por supuesto, en Cartagena de Indias.

Ship aground

























I found this beautiful edifice in a corner in Cadiz and couldn't help but think that it was an ancient vessel run aground.
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But that is the way I felt that afternoon, anyway...

Three precious beings


This trio represents a great chunk of my life. Sahara, when she was a few months old in toronto (1981), and her mother Laura Paull. They are smiling and proud and looking all beautiful the summer that my brother Beto flew in from Colombia to meet my daughter.
Beto, unfortunately is no longer with us, but he still lives in our hearts.

Sahara 1991


This is Sahara, as a ten year old child in San Francisco, California.

Annie Leibovitz, 2003


Imagine my surprise when I turned my head towards my left side whilst sitting in front row of graduation ceremonies, in Vassar College, and I found the great American photographer sitting next to me.
What do you do? Well, just what any self-respecting photographer would do in a case like that. Ask the colleague if it is OK to take her portrait. Which she very graciously obliged.

©Lalo Borja

Spanish Harlem




















This young boy was gliding towards the camera as if he was on roller skates. The streets were full of sounds and smoke; full-on afternoon sun and the ever-present tum-tum of drums modulated by trombones and trumpets. There were bongoceros and dope smokers dominating the ambience. Not a single incident, it was all peaceful and full of fun. It was the summer of seventy seven.