2014 - Present
While working on my poetic-historical project, All the Saints of the City of the Angels (2000-2008), I continually sought out early images of Latino, Black, and Asian people, who had been excluded from the historical record (and popular imagination). Over time I amassed dozens of cabinet cards, tintypes, postcards, and studio shots – usually from eBay and almost always in poor condition (Collectors wanted the pristine ones).
One afternoon I was casting about for something to work on and happened to gaze at the stack of photographs: I could ‘hear’ them saying, “Scan me.” When I did – enlarging the people’s faces to life size – their individuality and compelling personalities shone through, demanding to be taken seriously and to be rescued – if not from anonymity, then at least from invisibility.
Staring into their eyes, I've tried to gaze down deep inside. These dream images are the poetic result of my journeying through these Black backwoods.
I have also invited several Black poets and writers to compose ekphrastic texts inspired by the photomontages of their choosing.
You may view these collaborations here.