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Posts Tagged ‘Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo’

Oaxaca seems to invite and inspire creativity.  Thus, for twenty years distinguished photographer, Mary Ellen Mark, who “considered Oaxaca her second home,” brought students here and conducted workshops at the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo.  Now, seven photographers, Björn Árnason, Lori Barra, Ina Bernstein, James Carbone, Chae Kihn, Tim Porter, and Jody Watkins, are honoring their late mentor with an exhibition, Nuestra Oaxaca, at the Centro Fotográfico.

The exhibition opened on January 20, 2017, but it was the coming together by the seven and their very personal remarks during the artist reception and panel discussion on February 25 that revealed the impact Mary Ellen Mark had on their lives and work.  She was a dedicated and demanding teacher” who pushed them to know themselves in order to authentically see and capture the people and places on the other side of the lens.  They also offered glimpses into Mark’s playful side and wit, along with how meaningful her friendship was to each of them and their profound sense of loss at her passing in 2015.  I wasn’t the only one who blinked away tears.

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(L->R) Björn Árnason, Lori Barra, Ina Bernstein, Chae Kihn, James Carbone, Tim Porter, Jody Watkins, and translator, February 25, 2017.

In the words of Tim Porter, spoken at the opening of the exhibition on January 20, 2017:

We seven photographers are all different. Some of us are professionals who work for newspapers or do commercial work. Some of us are amateurs who simply love photography. Some of work in a documentary or journalistic style. Some of us make more interpretative images. We live in New York, in Los Angeles, in Iceland and in San Francisco. Some of us have been coming to Oaxaca for decades. Some of us for only a few years.

What we all share is Mary Ellen. She brought us together. Through her we became friends. Because of her we became better photographers. With her in mind, we come back – to pursue the work we started here, to become the photographers she believed we could be, to honor her passion and, perhaps, to find hope and inspiration in it.

If you are currently in Oaxaca or plan to be before the exhibition closes on April 7, 2017, I highly recommend paying it a visit; the images from each of the seven photographers will reveal Oaxaca in a new and thought-provoking light.  In addition, you can also see the work of their mentor, Mary Ellen Mark, that is part of the Colección Toledo/INBA.

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Yesterday, we returned to Teotitlán del Valle for the convite in honor of La Santísima Virgen María de la Natividad (the Sainted Virgin Mary of the Nativity).  Alas, from our point of view, the gods were not cooperating and it threatened to rain on the parade.  The sky surrounding the Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Jesucristo was getting grayer and darker by the minute and professional and amateur photographers alike were challenged to some up with good shots.

Bell towerThe lovely and accomplished photographer, Luvia Lazo was going to march in the procession this time, but couldn’t resist pulling out her cell phone for a shot or two.  By the way, I recently learned that the earrings she is wearing are traditional and unique to Oaxaca and the design is known as, gusano (worm)!Luvia LazoSome of the Danzantes also whipped out their phones for some photos.  Their 3-year commitment ends in December and I suspect most want to savor these last performances.

P1130823And, then there was the daughter of friends and budding photographer, 12-year old Beatriz Ruiz.  Here she is setting up a shot.

P1130788Doesn’t she look professional?  She’s been traveling from Teoti into the city to take classes at the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo for almost two years.  A photograph she took of her two kittens is currently part of a student exhibition at the museum and is included in the slideshow of photos on their website.  Blogger buddy Chris, who has known her since she was very young, has a very sweet blog post about Beatriz and her interest in photography.

Plastic covered canastasGiven the state of the corn crop, due to lack of rain during this rainy season, there have probably been many offerings and much praying to the gods Cocijo (lightning and rain) and Pitao Cozobi (maiz).  They won the day and the rains did come.  And we, being fair-weather fans, departed.  However, according to one of the Teotitlán del Valle Facebook sites, the show did go on!  We are returning today for the Danza de la Pluma and tonight’s fuegos artificiales (fireworks) and castillo.  Needless to say, we are keeping our fingers crossed!

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