Art Galleries

Puerto Rican Diaspora

When: Nov. 7-30 2007

Frank Espada's brute directness cuts through everything he says, writes, or produces, including his online biography: "When asked about the single worst thing that has ever happened to me, I cite the fact that I was brought to this country, where I found I was not good enough to be what I was," Espada wrote in the concluding paragraph. Having immigrated to New York City at age nine, the Puerto Rican-born photographer spent more than four decades trying to pull together enough money to pursue the thing he was most passionate about. In the interim years, he held several unglamorous positions -- air force mechanic, electrical contractor, and community activist - all of which informed his artistic sensibility later on. Now based in San Francisco, Espada is known for capturing figures from the communities where he's lived, worked, and loved: the rumpled migrant worker; the handsome, liquid-eyed drug addict; the child kneeling alone in a public school classroom. Occasionally sad but always uncompromising, Espada's subjects give the impression of being resigned to their fate but not wallowing in it. Their humanity always comes through. Espada's digital prints -- many of them culled from his Puerto Rican Diaspora Project -- are up through the month of November at Joyce Gordon Gallery. or

Rachel Swan

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