Archive for the 'Photography' Category

Summertime Sadness

Posted in Impressions, Music, Photography on August 25th, 2013 by Angel Villanueva

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Posted in Photography, Work Update on May 15th, 2013 by Angel Villanueva

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A portrait session for Anthony Moses Sanchez.
January, 2010.

Pacific Standard Time

Posted in Arts and Culture, Photography, Work Update on April 15th, 2013 by Angel Villanueva

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Over the years, my work in photography has covered many territories. There is however, an area at which I have developed something of a specialty: largely as a result of documenting my own work as a painter, I’ve become quite adept at photographing artwork, doing so for artists such as Gronk, Raul Pizarro, Kirk Kain, Ruben Acosta, Guadalupe Vidales, and Steve Comba. I was however, still surprised when I was asked by my friend and former colleague, Pilar Tompkins, to aid in the documentation of artwork for an exhibition catalog. Acting as a guest curator for the Getty Research Institute’s initiative Pacific Standard Time, her research and exhibition project would be titled Civic Virtue.

Like a tidal wave, Pacific Standard Time swept over the Los Angeles artscape, affecting everything it touched in one form or another. An unprecedented collaboration between dozens of art institutions, Pacific Standard Time set out to historicize and celebrate the artistic developement of the Los Angeles area between 1945 and 1980.

Civic Virtue by Pilar Tompkins Rivas


Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Arts Center is a formidable work, documenting the history of these two seminal institutions and their influence on the Los Angeles cultural landscape.


Civic Virtue, Cover

Images of works by Noah Purifoy, Charles White, and Richard Wyatt were needed. The pieces were to be photographed under natural light at their locations in the offices of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Hollyhock House.

Noah Purifoy, Black, Brown and Beige (1989) (pp. 98-99)

At the Hollyhock House, space was limited and light was challenging, but I managed to capture Purifoy’s large works in their complex splendor just fine.

Noah Purifoy, Lace Curtain, 1993. (p. 61)

Charles White, Juba (1965) (p. 82)

I had to be careful with the color balance on Charles White’s lithograph so as to not compromise the paper tone.

Richard Wyatt, I like Bread, 1975. (p. 125)

Richard Wyatt’s pencil on paper I Like Bread was photographed in its glass frame. The final image for print is in fact a digital composite of best exposures without reflections.

Both the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Hollyhock House sent me copies of the catalog, along with nice thank you notes. I had all but forgotten about it when the books arrived. It’s nice to see one’s name in the credits. 🙂

Many thanks to Pilar Tompkins-Rivas for the opportunity to contribute to such seminal work, and my sincerest commendation on the caliber of the work. This is top-notch art history research!

Thank you for reading. Cheers,




Alaska 2012

Posted in Photography, Work Update on July 16th, 2012 by Angel Villanueva

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Click play. Scroll down. Enjoy.
Mozart – Serenade for Winds

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This photo essay was culled from more than 1300 shots taken over 7 days and 1500 miles of travel.
The complete selection contains many more images; you’ll have to wait for the book. 🙂

To Max, my friend and host: my deepest gratitude for sharing your spectacular world with me.

~A. Villanueva


Posted in Arts and Culture, Photography, Work Update on November 2nd, 2010 by Angel Villanueva

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Click play. Scroll down. Enjoy.
Vorspiel, Epilogue
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D.C., Milan, Turin, Ceva, Garessio, Mondovi, Serralunga d’Alba, Barki, Monaco, Rome, The Vatican, London, Gravesend (the final resting place of Pocahontas), St. Monans, Dublin, Peebleshire, Paris, Edinburgh. And the great crossing, racing against the forward edge of the night, West across the Ocean Sea…


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Farewell to a Dear Friend

Posted in Impressions, Journal Entry, Photography, Writing and Poetry on September 30th, 2010 by Angel Villanueva

“There is no limit to the extent to which we can imagine ourselves into the being of another.”
~J.M. Coetzee, “The Lives of Animals”

On September 9th 2010, Rose, my Labrador Retriever, passed away. She was five years old.

In a way, it was good to be in a distant city when I got the news. Not surrounded by the familiar, I could go about my day bearing the standard of grief without having to explain myself. I could walk the streets at night under a light drizzle, letting the fresh water from above mix on my cheeks with the salt water from within as others hurried past me busy with their lives. I could, as I do, turn inside for answers and not worry about the external world being an encumbrance to the process.

Weighing heaviest on my heart was not being there. Rose was sick before I left for Europe, but we did not know what it was or how bad it was. The different vets who saw her were stumped by her symptoms, which seemed to respond favorably to treatment for an allergic reaction. The cancer diagnosis came too late, at a moment when I had no way of being in touch. Steve, my partner, had to go through it alone, watching Rose quickly fading and helping her to fight in every way he could think of. I know she was well taken care of, yet a part of me wonders if she felt abandoned, if she waited for me as long as she could. I wish I had at least been able to say goodbye.

Rose came home as an eight-week old puppy one eventful afternoon in July of 2005 and immediately became part of a happy triad: Steve, Angel, and Rose. She was family, an integral part of daily life, complementing our existence in ways that only a friendly and loving animal can. For five years, raising and sharing a life with Rose gave Steve and I a joyful common purpose and brought us closer together. She was a gift: free-spirited, tirelessly playful and curious, always excited about new things, places and people, and possessing of a fixity of purpose (finding food!) I have yet to construct for myself about anything. She kept us company when we were away from each other, brightly colored our day-to-day activities and even helped to keep us healthy by having to walk her for miles every day lest she be restless at night and keep us awake. Rose was a living anchor to the good in life, and we were in turn happy to be responsible for the life of an animal friend.

To me, Rose also functioned as an expansion of my mind, extending my cognitive reach into the animal world. She was my experiential bridge to a realm of perception and living otherwise closed off; a constant reminder of the fact that the human experience is but a fragment of a larger reality. Rose showed me that as sentient beings, humans and animals share commonalities which can uphold a kind mutual understanding with surprising ease.

In April of 2007, I had a strange apocalyptic dream in which Rose, then two years old, came to me during a moment of tremendous duress which just happened to take place amidst the ruins of my college campus. Considering the pressure of school at the time, the dream reads like a metaphor for salvation, an act which, in more than one way, this singular creature in fact carried out for me.

There are brands of conviction that place animals on a value scale in which they are considered lesser creatures, different and separate from us, granting adherents the liberty to distance their self-concept from animal identity as far as they wish. I find this appalling. The insight into the fabric of nature we have so painstakingly obtained through scientific study indicates clearly that humans are not simply Masters of the Earth, alone in our comprehension and privileged in our superiority. Being the first species to acquire the power to change the biosphere at will while remaining dependent upon it places us squarely in charge of maintaining its delicate balance. In this sense, we are deeply indebted to the species who have chosen to become our friends, for they are a reminder of our intrinsic connection to the rest of life. To the extent that we separate ourselves in identity, thought, and action from the animals, we become less and less.

A Short Walk Down Memory Lane

Baby Rose, Sleepyhead…

Time out for a rambunctious little girl.

With Steve in the family room.

Growing up.

Graduating from puppy school.

Still thinking she’s a tiny puppy.

In the pool with Natasha.

Fun with friends at the lake.
(Click here for full photo essay.)

Survival instinct at work: taking to the water during the brush fires behind the house.
(Click here for the photo blog of that event!)

Full Winter Coat

One day I came home from work to find that Rose had been busy making art out of herself… and the house! She was about a year old here.

With me in the garden.

Her favorite toy: a hula hoop!

And so, dearest Rose, Steve and I bid you farewell. Though we will always wish you hadn’t left us so soon, we are grateful for the wonderful time we spent together and all the joy you brought us. Thank you. We hope you had a good life, that your needs were met, and that you were as happy with us as we were with you. We loved you. You will always be a star in our sky.

Paris, France
September 30, 2010

“We send our thanks to all the Animal life in the world.
They have many things to teach us as people.
We are glad they are still here, and we hope it will always be so.”

The Mohawk Thanksgiving Address

Protected: Skin

Posted in Photography on June 15th, 2010 by Angel Villanueva

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Posted in Journal Entry, Music, Photography on October 8th, 2009 by Angel Villanueva

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Los Terrícolas – Nostalgia

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Quiero emborrachar mi corazón
Para olvidar un loco amor
Que más que amor es un sufrir.

Y aquí vengo para eso,
A borrar antiguos besos
En los besos de otras bocas.

Si su amor fue flor de un día,
¿Por qué causa siempre es mía
esa cruel preocupación?

Quiero, por los dos, mi copa alzar
Para olvidar mi obstinación
Y más la vuelvo a recordar.

De escuchar su risa loca
Y sentir junto a mi boca
Como un fuego
Su respiración…

De sentirme abandonado
Y pensar que otro a su lado
Pronto, pronto
Le hablará de amor…

Yo no quiero rebajarme
Ni pedirle, ni llorarle
Ni decirle que no puedo más vivir…

Desde mi triste soledad veré caer las rosas muertas
De mi juventud.

Gime, bandoneón, tu tango gris
Quizás a ti te hiera igual
Algún amor sentimental.

Llora mi alma de fantoche
Sola y triste en esta noche
Noche negra y sin estrellas.

Si las copas traen consuelo,
Aquí estoy con mi desvelo
Para ahogarlo de una vez.

Quiero emborrachar al corazón
Para poder después brindar
Por los fracasos del amor.

De escuchar su risa loca
Y sentir junto a mi boca
Como un fuego
Su respiración…

De sentirme abandonado
Y pensar que otro a su lado
Pronto, pronto le hablará de amor…

Hermanos, yo… ¡yo no quiero rebajarme!
¡Ni pedirle, ni llorarle!
Ni decirle que no puedo más vivir…

Desde mi triste soledad veré caer las rosas muertas
De mi juventud…

Enrique Cadícamo
Argentina, 1936

Under the Midnight Sun

Posted in Journal Entry, Photography, Work Update on June 25th, 2009 by Angel Villanueva

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Click play. Scroll down. Enjoy.
Björk – New World

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My host, teacher, guide, and companion of wonders.
Thank you Max, now and always.


The City

Posted in Arts and Culture, Journal Entry, Photography, Writing and Poetry on April 25th, 2009 by Angel Villanueva

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The term urban grit, like most labels, functions as a kind of cognitive shorthand, a free admission pass to the claim of understanding what it describes. It has a faint ring of the inevitable, but it mostly conveys the notion of an evil that can be avoided through a careful routing of our experiences, should we be so fortunate.

The city resists this idea. From the loose debris unevenly coating the streets—a debris that includes human lives—to the steel and glass cages poised like great vessels in the sky, the city unfolds as a continuum, a tapestry with no clear edges. Urban grit as a realm is the result of a process, and it becomes integral to the world that cradles it. There will always be something occupying that space, and that something will always escape the boundaries of notion.

Like an interplanetary spacecraft, cutting across orbits, I traverse the city periodically and gather more data with each pass. Returning from each harvest, in the late hours of the night, I compare the readings in my memory with those captured by the lens. Rather than matching, they complement each other. A different picture emerges each time. It is like observing from the inside the ceaseless inner workings of a giant, undying organism, sprawled over the land. The city is far more than a structure: it is a living process… Its nature reveals the basic traits of the creatures that give rise to it and sustain it, and which it in turn sustains and consumes. The city is nature, in a different guise.

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I also find it useful to think of the city as a weather system. Here, currents meet and coalesce, sometimes becoming storms, sometimes merely dissipating in the night’s breeze. At any moment, a tenuous string may suggest itself between two entities, threading its way through the links between others.

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He’s following me, I think. Three blocks, four galleries, perusing some of the same artworks. Our eyes meet a few times. His are blue, intense or just cold I can’t say… No smile. Faces and voices around us become transparency and silence.

Strange alchemy.

I start to envision possible outcomes; including, why not, my lifeless remains in a body bag.

I recall a similar scenario, a lifetime ago it seems… It began in the desert , under a merciless sun, amidst a dense ocean of people. I think of that story and all that it meant.

I walk on.

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