Category Archives: Photography

PHOTOGRAPHY: Boy running, Oaxaca, Mexico

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I’m trying to be a better street photographer these days, and the results are only occasionally satisfying.

But I liked this shot last year in Santa Ana del Valle, Oaxaca.

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LOS ANGELES: Virgin of The Discount Furniture

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La Jefa is everywhere in Los Angeles.

This is a good thing. It makes L.A. a more peaceful place. Those of us with a spot in our hearts for her always know her soothings aren’t far away, no matter how hard the day.

This is on Florence Avenue in South-Central L.A.

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Filed under California, Los Angeles, Photography, Southern California, Streets

LOS ANGELES: The Virgin of the Carniceria

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Okay, this is actually in Long Beach.

Was driving down Long Beach Boulevard and spotted her and pulled over.

Just part of my ceaseless efforts to photograph every Virgin of Guadalupe mural in Southern California.

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Filed under Culture, Los Angeles, Mexico, Migrants, Photography, Religion, Southern California

PHOTOGRAPHY: Another Tuba Photo

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Alfredo Herrejon, tuba player for Banda El Recodo.

Alfredo changed Mexican tuba with his playing on “Mi Gusto Es” by Banda Tierra Blanca in 1997 — a reworking of the tuba part in that classic ranchero song that ignited the imagination of dozens of younger players.

Mexican tuba playing hasn’t been the same since.

This was taken outside the shop where he has his tuba mouthpieces made — Garibaldi Musical Instruments in Paramount, CA.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: LA photo walkabout

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Hey folks, the Perfect Exposure Gallery is holding another photo walkabout of downtown Los Angeles, this time with a photographer from Magnum, the great photo agency.

Today at 5:30 p.m. at the gallery in Koreatown: 213.381.1136.

A great way to learn to use those cameras that are now so cheap, but a little complicated to use.

That last one was a blast — with LA Times photo maestro Luis Sinco.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: LA Walkabout

I spent Saturday evening on the LA photo Walkabout organized by Perfect Exposure Gallery owner Armando Arorizo and LA Times photog maestro Luis Sinco.

Here are some of the shots.

Armando and Luis are planning another one for this Saturday. It’s a great time, walking about LA, seeing it in a different way, learning more about photography from two consummate pros.

For more info, contact the gallery, in Koreatown, at 213-381-1137 or 1138 or at www.theperfectexposuregallery.com.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Photo Walkabout through Los Angeles

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The Perfect Exposure Studio in Koreatown, connected to the gallery of the same name, which has had some wondrous photo exhibits, is holding a Photo Walkabout with LA Times photog Luis Sinco and gallery owner, Armando Arorizo.

Walking around L.A., over a two-mile distance, shooting street scenes of whatever presents itself. Sounds like a ton of fun.

The thing takes place Saturday, June 30. There’s an 8 a.m.-noon session and another from 6pm to 10pm. $175 per person if you buy tix in advance.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: More photos at Kaldi in South Pas

I have some more photos on display at Kaldi, the cafe in South Pasadena.

These shots are from Jaripo, a small town in Michoacan, which taught me a lot about immigration from Mexico. It was a big part of the introduction I wrote to my second book, Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration.

Check them out next time you’re in the area.

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Filed under Mexico, Migrants, Photography, Southern California

LOS ANGELES: A Recycling Plant in South Gate

I was out in South Gate recently visiting Carlos Herrera, who owns Interior Removal Specialist, a company that takes out the interior of offices that are about to be remodeled.

His mother, a Mexican immigrant, started in the junk collection business years ago, as a way she stumbled on to raise her children alone. In time, she had trucks and drivers. Carlos has continued on in her footsteps.

This place is amazing — piles of drywall, rows of desks and office chairs. Next door is a plant that recycles most of the tin cans used in LA County, most of which will end up in China, I assume.

I’m always fascinated by recycling. So much stuff that once was used — all at the other end of the economy, the one we almost never see.

It’s why I like places like South Gate and Vernon. Their ruggedness makes them photogenic and their stories make them mermerizing.

Here are some photos.

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Filed under Business, California, Los Angeles, Photography, Southern California

LOS ANGELES: 3rd & Vermont Photo exhibit and Oaxacan Basketball — events not to miss

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The next few days have a couple very hip events taking place west of downtown that you don’t want to miss.

On Thursday, The Perfect Exposure Gallery holds an opening of photographs by Michael Cannon, centering around the 3rd and Vermont area. That ‘s one packed section of town, and one of my favorites, with folks from Korea, Bangladesh, Oaxaca, Salvador, and probably elsewhere as well.

It was there that I grew to love the strip mall — the immigrant’s blackboard. But that’s for another blog post.

Cannon, one of whose photos is above, has been living in and shooting the area for 15 years and his images will be on display at the gallery beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday.

By the way, The Perfect Exposure (3519 W. 6th St.) is fantastic photo gallery, exhibiting some of the best photographers from Los Angeles and elsewhere. Really worth a visit.

Then on Sunday, the 2013 Oaxacan basketball season gets underway, with a tournament at Toberman Park. The ohoop1inauguration, which is as cool to behold as the games, begins at noon.

Oaxacan basketball tournaments usually involve 20+ teams and bring together folks from all over Southern California.

(I wrote about them in my first book, True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx — which you should also not miss.)

They used to be held at Normandie Park, a few blocks away. Normandie Park is in fact a bi-nationally famous little park due to the role it played in maintaining the Oaxacan community, mostly folks from the Sierra Juarez mountains, for many years beginning in the 1970s by hosting hundreds, probably thousands, of tournament games by now.

But tournament size and disputes with park management meant that organizers switched the events to Toberman.

Either way, a fun way to see another part of LA on a Sunday.

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Filed under California, Culture, Los Angeles, Migrants, Photography, Streets, Uncategorized

PHOTOGRAPHY: Photographer of the Year, Tijuana Velvet, and 6 Things Not To Do

Enrique Felix, velvet painter

As an amateur photographer struggling always to learn more, I’m forever in awe of those who do it majestically.

Hence it’s worth noting that…

The Photographer of the Year, just selected, is Sweden’s Paul Hansen.

(Above, I’ve posted a photo of my own — Enrique Felix, one of the last of Tijuana’s velvet painters.)

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, here’s a link to what not to do:

Six Bad Photography Habits to Break¬† — several of which I’ll own up to, standing still being a big one.

You gotta move….as the Rolling Stones once said.

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MEXICO: Oaxacan Hoops and the photographer Jorge Santiago

Tlahuitotepec's first female mayor, Sofia Robles, takes the opening shot at the basketball tournament.

Tlahuitotepec’s first female mayor, Sofia Robles, takes the opening shot at the basketball tournament.

Pittsburgh-based photographer Jorge Santiago has put up stunning images of Oaxacan village basketball tournaments at his website.

Santiago it appears spent much of 2012 wandering in the Sierra Juarez mountains from tournament to tournament and has grasped the essence of the basketball world up there — that basketball, the most urban hip-hop 21st Century sport, has become an integral part of Oaxacan Indian culture and tradition.

Check them out. They’re great!

My admiration for the photos, of course, is only enhanced by the fact that Santiago partly drew his inspiration for the project from the story on Oaxacan basketball in my first book (True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx).

But the images do make me envious. He’s traveled far into this culture and tradition and captured some beautiful shots. I’m looking forward to see what he can do with the Oaxacan basketball world here in Los Angeles, which is deep.

One thing I always found interesting about this topic: Though Oaxacan Indians are some of the most anthropologically studied of any group in Mexico, I could find no academic researcher who had even a superficial knowledge of basketball and its importance in the cultural, social, and traditional life of Oaxacan villages — or for that matter the enormous importance it plays in the lives of Oaxacan immigrants in Los Angeles, where my story (Zeus and the Oaxaca Hoops) took place.

How many dissertations have been written on pelota Mixteca — an almost extinct sport played 500 years ago? And nothing on basketball, a sport that tens of thousands of Oaxacan young men and women play with a passion bordering on obsession. I find that remarkable. Any thoughts as to why that would be? Please chime in…..

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PHOTOGRAPHY: My photos at Kaldi in South Pasadena

For those in the L.A. area, I’m exhibiting a selection of photos at Kaldi, a cafe in South Pasadena, through mid-December.

The photos are from stories I’ve done in Mexico, Los Angeles, as well as a brief trip to Bogota I took at the behest of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine, to do a story on the girl soldiers in the guerrilla militias.

Above are four of the shots: from a story on the emergence of tubas as the region’s emblematic musical instrument; a group of Mennonite kids at a school in northern Mexico, where I went to do a story on Mennonites’ involvement in drug trafficking.

There’s also Grace, a legendary drag queen in the 1980s who is now homeless, and another of a Oaxacan farmworker in the agricultural valley of San Quintin, which is south of Ensenada, Baja California.

Many more are up at Kaldi — hope you like them….They make great Christmas gifts!….:)

 

 

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Filed under Global Economy, Los Angeles, Mexico, Photography, Southern California, Storytelling

MEXICO: More Oaxaca photos

Oaxaca is such a colorful place. I’m getting very absorbed in photography lately.

Hope you like these.

Meanwhile, you can see more of my photos up at Kaldi’s — a South Pasadena cafe. I’ve mounted shots from Los Angeles, Colombia and Mexico.

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LOS ANGELES: The Virgin of Pico Boulevard

 

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