JUAREZ — The photograph is a self-portrait. But it shows two women — two manifestations of the same woman, a woman who calls herself a hybrid, a dislocated immigrant who still feels at home in a strange new land as she attempts to uncover her own special identity. “I experience a kind of dislocated identity, which I think it’s very common in migrants; feeling like outsiders,” said photographer Sabina Loghin who emigrated from Romania to Mexico when she was four years old. Far from resenting the lack of a visible community from her home country in Cd. Juarez, Loghin embraces her unique hybridization, and acknowledges it as the main inspiration for her art.
MADRID, Spain — Fifty years ago I walked into the Palace Hotel here looking for a cup of coffee and was promptly escorted out by two burly guards. It was Spain at the height of the fascist Franco dictatorship and, at 19, my buddy Mike and I probably looked like communists or worse, like the hippie kids we were, backpacking through Europe, sleeping in youth hostels for 30-cents a night and bathing once every couple of weeks. I carried two Leica cameras with me, my only possessions other than the shirt on my back, and I documented every step of our wanderings from Luxembourg where Icelandic Airlines dropped us off, across the Mediterranean to North Africa where penniless in Tangier we had to scrounge to get back to Madrid. In Madrid, we avoided the museums and any semblance of establishment culture, after all we were following in Hemingway’s footsteps and we spent our time guzzling raspy red wine at the bullfights, scouring for señoritas and scratching poetry on napkins in the cafes. After shooting the bird at the Palace hotel, we walked back to the center of town to our usual haunts near the Plaza Mayor.
EL PASO – Photographs ranging from the beautiful scenery of the El Paso Mountains to the simplicity of a self-portrait dazzled spectators at the first annual “International Eye of the Camera” event at the Crossland Gallery. “We were most pleased for a first exhibit like this, with the number of entries and the quality of entries,” said Joyce Ewald, office administrator of the El Paso Art Association. The Art Association hosted the event November 30, which featured photographers from El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juarez. The idea for the “International Eye of the Camera” came after the recent “Arts International” event, which excluded photographs because of limited space at the Crossland gallery. Ewald and a committee of four other members, decided to create an event solely for photographers. “I felt that there were a lot of members who were photographers and I felt that they deserved a show too,” said Ewald. A total of 97 photographs were sent in, but the Art Association is hoping to see that number continue to grow at next year’s event. “We need more photographers to get involved with the association. If you want these events to happen you have to raise money” said Ernest L. Salazar, owner of ELS Photography, who also handed out one of the awards for the event.
EL PASO – When my passion for photography started six years ago my sensei, friend, and fellow photographer, Victor Peña told me that photography was like marriage. “Many people think that being a photographer is a piece of cake, but it is much harder that it appears to be,” he said. He also told me that to achieve a successful marriage a person has to work hard to get it. Photography is not much different. I have found that not all days are going to be happy and cheerful; there are days when things are not going to be as one plans.
EL PASO – A sense of adventure, a camera and a little bit of luck marked the beginning of a young photographer’s career, tools that paid off nearly 50 years later for Mike Mitchell. At the age of 18, Mitchell was living in Washington, D.C, and starting his career as a photojournalist. Having already developed a love for photography in his early teens, he set off to do what naturally comes next –find a way to get paid for doing what he loved. In 1964 he began an internship at the Washington Star newspaper and also did freelance photography for magazines and other publications. That year also saw the first Beatles U.S. concert tour.
EL PASO – Local artist Carlos Rodriguez has been painting for decades, but up until late October he had never placed his art on sale in a weekly market. With the inception of the El Paso Downtown Art Market, hosted by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD), artists can now display and sell their handcrafted art in a large exhibit area. The art market started Oct. 29 and is currently open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Union Plaza District in downtown El Paso. The market was requested by the City Council based on similar art markets in Los Angeles and Las Cruces.
When the hammer went down, Mike Mitchell’s backlit group photo of the Beatles at their first U.S. concert sold for $68,500. All 46 of the images he shot in 1964 when he was 18 years old sold at Christie’s New York City auction-house for $362,000 last week. It was an emotional moment for my family and me. Mike has been my close friend since I arrived in the U.S. in 1958 and photography in a way has been at the heart of our friendship for more than 50 years. I was largely ignored when I arrived at John Hansen Junior High School in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Oxon Hill, Maryland, from tropical Costa Rica in midwinter, but snickered at when I wore my J.C. Penney’s car-coat in class. When Mrs. Phillips said that a sock-hop was scheduled for a Friday the class broke up in a laughter uproar after I asked in my perfect schoolbook English, “What is a sock-hop?” No wonder Mike didn’t speak to me until the last day of school when some of us brought cameras to class.
EL PASO — I belong to art and photography groups in El Paso and a couple are non-profit organizations. In one, I serve on the Board of Managers. The President of that association was looking to change the style of leadership that had been used. The President empowered the Board saying take charge of your responsibilities, think outside the box, if you need assistance let me know. How did I become involved?
EL PASO — May 6th, the first Friday of the month, was the third time Raymundo and I loaded and unloaded photographs and earrings into the car and headed to the San Carlos Building at the corner of Texas and Campbell. We are old timers now; we know most of the vendors and we know what time to arrive so we aren’t stuck with a corner table. We bring a lamp so people can see our wares. We don’t sell very much but we keep going back for several reasons. I promise to tell you soon. The San Carlos Building is becoming a “happening” place.
CHICAGO — I once saw a painting of an immigrant hopping across the US-Mexico border. The artist had added butterfly wings to him. So is that how those Mexicans do it? They shout “Viva America!” and jump 15 feet from the ground because they actually believe they can fly? Yes…
EL PASO, Texas — En el Museo de la Universidad de Texas en El Paso se inauguró recientemente “Las otras batallas” una exhibición que ofrece el trabajo de un grupo de fotoperiodistas de El Diario de Juárez. Es imposible recorrerla sin sentir un escalofrío, sin ponerse a pensar que esa imagen que está ahí es una estampa del realismo más crudo. Es imposible ver cada una de esas fotos sin pensar que quien lanzó el clic es prácticamente un héroe. Octavio Paz escribió una vez “Hablar mientras otros trabajan es pulir huesos”. Esas líneas me hacen pensar cómo, en los últimos años, para un periodista trabajar se ha vuelto una forma de pulir huesos.
EL PASO, Texas — Ever since 1531 when the image of the Virgin Mary appeared miraculously on the cloth worn by Juan Diego, a humble peasant in Tepeyac, Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe has been a sacred symbol of Mexican faith. Today the image of the Virgin can be found almost everywhere on the Borderland, from churches to sidewalks, from candles to tattoos. The photography class at the University of Texas at El Paso was given the assignment to photograph the Virgin wherever she appeared. (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)
EL PASO — The brisk pace of life carved into the faces in Bruce Berman’s photographs carries stories of the humor, sadness and diversity that exist along the U.S.-Mexico border. The gallery at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Centennial Museum rang with excitement as the crowd that gathered for the event drew from Berman’s energy as he entered the room. “What am I thinking? I’m too old for this,” said Berman. But his eyes told otherwise as he sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by the framed moments he had captured through the lens of his camera. Each photograph seemed to tell a different story from the same book. “These photos are not at all about me,” Berman said, “They are absolutely about the people in the stories.” His exhibition was a collection of pictures taken along the El Paso-Juarez border.