Images, Records, Memories, Thoughts

In 2016 I was invited by a friend to participate in a Carnaval group in his hometown of Barranquilla, on the northern Caribbean coast of Colombia. Before going, I looked up some images on the internet and found some highly provocative photographs of young men who painted themselves in black paint and bright red lipstick, with large floral straw hats. In my excitement preparing my costume and the rest of my trip, I forgot all about them until I came face to face with one small group of them during the Guacherna, a parade that takes place at night. I photographed a few of them as I came across them during the next few days. However, the following year, I returned with the intention to document them as much as possible. I was also researching as much as I could the limited information about them on the internet. What I discovered is that in Colombia, the Afro-Latino population has a much different relationship to their history of slavery than their African-American counterparts in the significantly more brutal United States. A very complex situation is somewhat overpowered by the celebratory, gender bending, in your face provocative ritual of these young men. In my treatment of the photographs, I sought to further embellish the colors, and to isolate the individuals from the background visual noise of a very colorful carnival.

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