Saturday, 26 September 2020

Beto Borja, In Memoriam

 Hoy regresa a mi mente un gran torrente de frases, expresiones, imágenes y memorias de mi hermano menor Beto Borja. Cada 26 de Septiembre lo extraño más y más. Con el amor de siempre.

La foto fue tomada en el parque de San Fernando en lo que debió ser 1956-57

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Aquella Memoria que Existió...


Las noches sin ti
Las dedico a escuchar 
Una lenta música de aire europeo
A mirar la bruma bajo el puente
Otras, es la espumilla en el café
Humo de cigarrillo
Sábados sin rumbo

A veces el estío entra a solas por
La puerta del balcón sobre la tarde

Esta tarde que me dejaste en blanco
Para que la viviera a mi aire
Para que embadurnase los colores a mi antojo

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Marina Turns Seventeen, Aug 12th - 2020

This image of my second daughter Marina embodies all that is to be expected from a photograph.
It is a record, plain and simple, of a time that was and continues to evolve rapidly.
Little do we know how it works until we see it accomplished outside of memory and how it exists on its own. Not only as a memory printed on paper but also as a confirmation that time as relentless and unforgiving, is also a repository of all that is wonderful in our lives.
My girl was about six years old when this shot was taken. Today she turns seventeen and I thank this little print and the image that lives in a negative for allowing me to view her again, from afar into the receding distance.
What she looked like in those days will remain forever in the surface of a small, beautifully crafted photographic print.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Un Tipo Fuera de Foco...

                    Debo decir que soy un hombre al que atormentan los recuerdos
                    Debo decir también que nunca me he sentido solo
                    Porque siempre he estado enamorado de la luna
                    Me he nutrido del espejismo azul de sus contornos... 

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Óscar Murillo - Newly Discovered Negative (London 2013)

This one is a negative neglected earlier, a few years ago, after I visited the artist in his London studio. Looking at it I find details that the other printed images do not have, namely the frontal stance, assertive and positive; and an insinuation of a larger painting in front of which the artist stands.

Portraits From the Old Country (1995 Cali, Colombia)

The other day I went to the darkroom to print some old portraits I had taken in 1995 and had specifically chosen to reproduce a series of portraits of a local character in the old family neighbourhood in Cali, Colombia.
The character in question had grown up near my mother’s house in the south of the city. From what I gather he had grown up a shy boy since he did not have the capacity of speech. His delivery were a series of gutural and unintelligible grunts and sounds that emanated from his mouth and he helped with his hands and pointing in different directions to make his ideas known to others.
After twenty two years abroad I had lost sight and contact with many different aspects of life in the old neighbourhood. Suffice it to say that the boy, whose name I had never heard, was called by those around me, La Mudita, or the Little Mute Girl.
In the intervening years the young lad had developed a taste for dressing as a girl and, having been an abandoned child reared by others, was without education or means of support. In his late teens and being an attractive strong bodied mulato he/she had started dressing up and took to prostitution in a section of town where street-walkers plied their trade after dark.
At some point before the end of the nineteen eighties there were a series of attacks by gunmen who, according to their communiques, were intent on cleaning that part of the city of “vermin” and other plagues, including travesties, street prostitutes, drug dealers and whoever got on their way.
Some time during those years before the onset of the nineties, the Little Mute Girl was shot and left semi-paralized. That is what I was told by friends and neighbours after I arrived back in the old corral in the early days of January 1995.

One afternoon as I was lying around the house after lunch there was a knock on the front door and I went to answer it. I opened the door and there she was, hair in absolute disarray, burnt darker by the daily dose of sun outdoors and gesticulating wildly in front of me. She walked with the aid of two walking canes in a strange way that had her swing from one side to the other as she advanced forward. 
She wanted to have her picture taken and since she had seen me around with my camera decided to approach me. I though it would be good and set up an impromptu studio and got to it at once. It all took place in my mother’s scarcely populated living room.

Twenty five years later I look at these portraits and feel an overwhelming sense of peace followed by a measure of outrage when I think that the country I have always called my own, my birthplace, is still so wild, so savage in many ways, so unjust and retrograde.
A place where human life still amounts to almost nothing when compared to the prejudice of others.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

My Father Luis Eduardo Borja - Aug 1, 1913 - Aug 10, 1986 - In Memoriam

This indeleble image brings back childhood memories. It must have been taken around 1955-56 by one of those street photographers of the time. We are crossing Carrera Cuarta and Calle Doce en Cali, on the way to Sunday Mass in the Cathedral in Cali. It was the weekly endeavour we had to endure before a visit to the ice cream parlour after church.
My father holds his three boys, my older brother Nelson on the left, myself holding both my brother and my father's hand, and on the right, our younger brother Beto.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Lalo New and Old (and viceversa)

The soul remains the same, perhaps a bit jaded by experience, but the main difference is that one we see inflicted on the face by the forty-one years difference. So much has been learnt and so much lost in all those years. The heart of the young newspaper photographer still beats with the same emotion in the chest of the old portrait-taking man. The former was eager twenty four hours a day and the present one still gets excited only in small instalments. Some things will never change.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Breve Historia de Amor

A media tarde acompañada de su madre, que le ha llenado la cabeza de temores si continuaba su relación con el tipo con quien vive desde hace unos pocos meses, ella sube la pequeña colina que conduce hasta la humilde casa. Allí, luego de abrir la puerta, se dirige directo a la alcoba a recoger sus trapitos y a darle una mirada final al cuarto y la ventana grande que da sobre el balcón. La madre la mira complacida desde el marco de la puerta del cuarto. Ella, la hija, ha traído consigo una caja de cartón de mediano tamaño. En pocos minutos concluye lo que vino a hacer. Amontona en desorden sus dos o tres vestidos, sus tres o cuatro blusas, su piyama de flores de un azul ligero desteñido por el uso. A zarpazos arruma un precario inventario de ropa interior y recoge los dos pares de zapatos que duermen agazapados bajo el lecho. Todo lo mete de forma indiscriminada en la caja de cartón mientras con la mirada indica a su madre que el asunto ha terminado. Sale del cuarto y por un instante duda de si habrá de escribir una nota al tipo detallando su decisión. Decide que no será necesario ya que la ausencia hablará por sí sola. Se dirigen ambas a la puerta y salen a la calle soleada. Así ella da por terminado su romance con el tipo a quien tantas noches susurró al oído que por siempre lo amaría.

Beto Borja, In Memoriam

 Hoy regresa a mi mente un gran torrente de frases, expresiones, imágenes y memorias de mi hermano menor Beto Borja. Cada 26 de Septiembre l...