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University of New Mexico Press
The dynamic pairing of Hancock's remarkable chromatic photographs and Bowden's essay is almost too hot to handle. Both men have preternatural vision that enables them to capture the very soul of Chihuahua, Mexico, a borderland where remnants of the past provide little ballast for the horrific present, and the future is more of a threat than a promise. As they explored the dusty, ramshackle, graffiti-scribbled, and brilliantly hued streets of the cities, Hancock focused his mind and camera on images that pulsate with the curious tension between the old, brown, dry, and unforgiving earth and superbright, manic little buildings dressed in loud signage or dignified with arresting murals. These saturated, perfectly composed photographs are almost hallucinatory in their power, and Bowden, author of Blood Orchid (1995) and the master of furious incantatory prose, easily matches their intensity in his vehement essay about all that has gone dreadfully wrong in northern Mexico, where two intimately connected but antagonistic cultures grind against each other like tectonic plates on the verge of a cataclysm. Donna Seaman
From Book News, Inc.
A collection of 40 color photographs depicting the building facades and ruins of modern day Chihuahua, Mexico. The culminating effect of the brilliantly colored photos is nearly hallucinatory, taking in both the paintings of Bugs Bunny affixed to store facades, and political graffiti with a postmodern inclusiveness which says volumes about the spirit and poverty of this community. An accompanying text essayed by Charles Bowden, author of Blood Orchid, complements the images with a kind of... read more
These forty large-format color photographs explore contemporary urban Chihuahua, Mexico. The brilliant colors, vivid images, and sharp juxtapositions of Chihuahua's vibrant towns and cities reflect a region barreling into an uncertain future but still grappling with its tumultuous past. Gang graffiti scrawled over an abandoned hacienda, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and Mickey Mouse wildly lighting up urban storefronts, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, borne on the wings of an angel, emblazoning the square front of a neatly kept residence are among the images captured in Virgil Hancock's cityscapes. Essayist Charles Bowden peers into the border society between Mexico and the United States and sees the future of both nations. An exhibition of these photographs opens at the El Paso Museum of Art in October.