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Portraits of Mexico City: A Missing Identity

Growing up third or fourth generation Mexican American in Southern California is as usual an occurrence as 70-degree winters, Santa Ana winds and scorching summer fires. It’s an ethnic identity so common that it doesn’t feel like an identity at all. Spanish streets, cities and surnames are as omnipresent as we are, and yet my mixed ethnicity followed and shaped my childhood. My father’s attitude toward day laborers standing pensively on suburban street corners to his overly respectful interactions with policemen, gave me a sympathy and wariness I subconsciously internalized. Moving away—to the midwest, abroad, down south, back east—this identity faded as quickly and unexpectedly as childhood. With so much Native American mixed into my … [Read more...]

Aquatic Quads

Seattle Aquarium, 2010 Monterey Bay Aquarium, 2014 … [Read more...]

A Train From Marrakech

Morocco looked the way I’d imagined it, full of tiny twisting streets that are old, narrow and confining, and where being lost is simply a part of tourist life. Dead ends, doors that look exactly alike and giggling teenage boys lurking in shadow, watching bemused as you wander astray were daily occurrences. Summer in Marrakech is dry and cracked, and I felt sorry for the nested storks perched atop the old city walls. The souks are thronging during the day and shuttered in the afternoon, and only animals and unwise tourists are caught outside at midday. Riads, cool and quiet, are enclosed sanctuaries, more calm and beautiful than any castle I’ve ever seen. Sitting on a rooftop, surrounded by skulking cats, you are overlooking history. … [Read more...]

Little Scenes 1&2

Little Scenes, Circa 1978, Diana Camera Contact Prints, Photography by Brian Forrest —     … [Read more...]

The Characters of Paris

Travel can tell you more about who you are than it might about the places you visit, and can be the best way to look for who you were. A decade after I lived in France, this felt like the perfect summer to revisit and revaluate, to dust off old memories and sentiments of a place that was once familiar and yet foreign. Who changed more, I wondered while crossing the Atlantic, myself or Paris? While I was away, I soon discovered, Paris had become warm and friendly, outgoing and uninhibited. It was more expensive than I recalled but also more beautiful, as rainy patches gave way to brilliant sunshine. Café culture was as seductive as ever, and the lifestyle, as I remembered, seemed less exhilarating but more enjoyable. The pace of life is … [Read more...]

Medina to Prada: An Arranged Marriage

This past Sunday morning I was in Morocco, in Fez for the World Sacred Music Festival taking photographs along the way. The next day, Monday morning, I was in New York, a stop-over between flights, walking with my camera. Today, Tuesday, now, I am back home in Los Angeles, joining images together, thinking I'd be writing a framing paragraph of straightforward information about the origins of these jolts of color. I thought that this was going to be a comparison about fashion, maybe even a snarky one: a comparison between the authentic Medina quarter of Fez -- a maze of shops and residences, mosques and fountains, artisans and palaces -- and the Dover Street Market which I came upon on 30th and Lexington, where I pressed 5 and … [Read more...]

Desert Series, Selection_Three

Desert Series, Selection (1991-2000), Photography by Brian Forrest — Two Roads, 1992 Dark Field, 1992 Tissue, 1996 Fence 1997 … [Read more...]

Memorial

For the many and the singular whose lives have been swept away through fear, anger and pride.   All Photography © Nancy Cantwell   … [Read more...]

Signs of Our Time

Melrose Avenue Graffiti, Photography by Michael Varhol — I found Graffiti Girl, the work of street artist Common Cents, on Melrose Avenue and was drawn in by her old school Betty Page sexiness and her enticing pose.  With her face half hidden behind an alluringly raised shoulder and spray can at the ready, she symbolizes the inherent illicitness of graffiti and street art, both in its uncensored content and often unauthorized use of public spaces and private property. Like the artists themselves, Graffiti Girl keeps her identity hidden, exemplifying the art form’s seductive outlaw aura while inviting viewers to live a little dangerously themselves. The temporariness of the work, which can appear and disappear within the space of an … [Read more...]

The Photograph in a Post-Digital World

What Is a Photograph?, International Center of Photography (ICP), January 31–May 4, 2014 — Owen Kydd, installation view of Knife (J.G.), 2011 What Is a Photograph? is the latest exhibition to open at the International Center of Photography (ICP), and its title asks one of the most relevant questions facing not just photography but art today. Opening coincidentally after the Aperture Foundation published a new book of essays by John Berger titled Understanding a Photograph, this is the topic du jour for photography in a post digital world. Despite reviews suggesting that the ICP exhibition answers none of the questions it poses, the twenty-one artists it represents, ranging from young makers to some well-established old-timers, do … [Read more...]