I prefer to work with natural light, however I do enjoy the sense of theater implicit during studio settings. The idea of "control" is an illusion when attempting to create a "portrait" of another being. For me, there is the anticipation of a moment that will be unexpected, perhaps very dramatic, or a mood of something entirely else, for both subject and photographer. I like Carl Phillips' sensibility (he applies it to poetry), "…what I'm always after. Nothing gutless, and nothing without its ability to surprise."
I grew up in the farm labor camps of Monterey County in California, picking fruits and vegetables along with my parents and eleven brothers and sisters. Neither parent was able to attend school growing up, and we relied on each other to survive the hardships of being poor and working in the fields.
My art and social activism stems from my strong conviction that art is needed to make social change a possibility, to help heal the injustice’s faced by people of color around the world. I have the historical experience of the Civil Rights Movement and the Chicano, Black Power Movement, Native American and Anti- War Movements of the 1960s and 70s for my inspiration.
Picture your grandmother holding her purse to her side with both hands. On a street full / of traffic, horns. Beggars and bottles on the sidewalk. She tells you not to stop at the coo / of each pigeon. That you’re going to miss the bus.
Picture the dog again shifting between cars and buses, dodging. That dog. Remember? / The one that was chasing pigeons, butterflies, lizards, cars? The one with the spot on its / nose. The one without a collar, wandering the streets. That one. It’s still hungry.
The first time I use spray paint, I’m with Jimmy / Henderson and Rolando Rodriguez. The store /
Clerk senses that our fingers are ready to pull / A trigger and picks out the colors. We carry /
Our ammunition in our backpacks. Jimmy / Wants the first hit to be for revenge: the corner /
Market that fired his brother for not showing / Up to work. Six times. Rolando wants us / To mark spots where the girls will see them.