Tuesday 28 June 2011

Camilo Alberto Borja Turns Five

I know this does not compare in execution or the choice of location to that wonderful Irving Penn portrait of a young Peruvian child standing next to a small table in Cusco, but I did my best to portray my own boy as he approached his fifth birthday.
It is possible that the lack of a smile may be in his bloodline. I have never been one to sport a ready-made smile when confronted by a camera and this was expressly mentioned when I first asked him to stand for his portrait. His one condition was simple and to the point: "No smile"

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Summer has begun

Summer arrived at midnight last night. Not that we take any notice of that slight fact in England where it has been raining like a mother for the past two weeks after a wonderful April and May, full of sunny days and longer nights. June hasn't been too hot. Summer is the time when all things grow, plants, hair, relationships, children. I am using the little wooden chair as leitmotiv, as a visual anchor to classify some of my children's artifacts, toys, books, clothes, to establish a summary of elements that they have outgrown on the way to yet another summer. The chair will be the permanent object in an otherwise changing tableau.

Un Caballero sin Cabeza

Monday 13 June 2011

Late Evening in June...

It is sometimes said that we are confronted by our own images as we are by our own mortality. Somehow the two seem to go together as we assume that we look the way the times we live dictate our countenance.
This portrait, taken by my dear friend Adam King, speaks the truth about who I am and what I look like, as well as my two children. I was never one given to the facile smile, there was never a "Say Cheese" moment for me, ever since I can remember being confronted by the infernal machine of truthful rendition.
Thus, while looking at this reflection of my own face I must say in all honesty that the furious gaze is all me, even while in my heart I am nothing but a pussycat. Life's full of contradictions, that's all I can say.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Half and Half

For a while now I have been thinking about producing a portrait project with friends. My idea is to use the close-up lens to see my subjects under and from a different angle altogether. I want to go past the normal approach and to examine skin, wrinkles and facial hair.
I have finally started and here are the first shots. I must say I am pleased with the initial results even if the light went wrong, or I went wrong, at times during the session.
The portraits are stark and gritty, which is what I had originally in mind. It remains to be seen how it evolves and also if I can sustain the spirit of the project to high standard. I hope so.

Monday 6 June 2011

Hace ya Varios Años Desde un Puente...

El río cruza la ciudad en silencio
Esta ciudad que nunca será mía
A la que sin quererlo pertenezco

Su mudo rumor me ata
A la sombra de sus puentes
A los vientos helados de sus noches

El río me descubre los terrores del día
El canto silencioso que lo niega

O la dulce aceptación
De su vaivén bajo la luna

El río me distancia de todo
Lo que existe

En el tiempo
Y en sus aguas

El río habrá de transformar mi vida
Y lo que fueron mis recuerdos

El río es el ahora
Me limpia del pasado

Me muestra los espejos
De un presente que ignoro.

Inglaterra, Junio 6, 2011

Sunday 5 June 2011

Between Tunja and Duitama, Boyacá, Colombia 1975

In 1975 I travelled to Colombia for the first time after having moved to Canada in 1973. The trip was a revelation since it was the first time I was able to travel freely to places I have never visited before. The time spent going around my own country gave me an amazing insight into the beauty of a marvellous place. 
Noteworthy among many was the discovery of Boyacá, the land of my maternal grandmother. Travel by land was the best way to discover the country and this image was taken as I had been sleeping while going from Bogota to the beautiful land of my ancestry. 
I opened my eyes coming out of the slumber in the moving inward kaleidoscope and on the opposite seat  there they were; touched by a beautiful light as the landscape rolls indifferent out in the real world. 
The camera tries to see what the young man dreams. The light his only witness to those dreams. This time for real.

An Innocent Mind Stumbles Upon Conceptual Without Knowing it Back in 1975

Two Couples, Two Different Readings

Man Playing Saxophone in a Basement

Man Whose Shirt Resembles a Movie Screen

A Bagfull of Negs

Sometimes nostalgia has its madeleine moments (some of you would know what I'am saying) and then the past comes in torrents both in the mind and in the old black and white prints stored already for so many years so that the light (the light always present, the light of the present) does not destroy its molecules full of silver and dark shadows.
Funny how memory knows where to go when the desire strikes to look at old days so far gone as landscapes from a train, rapid, distant, impersonal, indifferent and changing so fast one does not know if we should keep on looking or to close one's eyes. Not that it hurts or nothing, it's just the way things are...

By Jack Peilow, ten years had passed since...

This shot was part of a series that young Jack did at the time and was entirely related to beards.  Jack went around town asking men to pose...