Photo Op — Malu Alvarez - River Rocks - Photo Op
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River Rocks

Malu Alvarez


Malu Alvarez
born 1980, Mexico City, Mexico
lives and works in New York, NY 

Title: River Rocks
Year: 2012
Size: 20.5 x 24.25 inches
Edition size: 7
Medium: Chromogenic print



These are rocks that I picked up beside the river in Northern Spain where my dad played growing up (on summer visits from his tropical home in Acapulco, Mexico). His father emigrated from a small town tucked inside the hills of Asturias. When my parents met in Mexico and realized that both of their fathers came from the same region in Spain and only about a mile away from one another - though my mom jokes that her dad was a 'city man' from a larger town on the coast - I think they liked to think that their spark was destiny. During a visit home to my parents' house in Texas I found a stack of vintage Spanish tourism magazines from the 60’s - the backdrop to my image is a cover shot showing the Picos de Europa mountain range in the province closest to the place where my grandfathers are from. During a walk last autumn my older cousin pointed out the spot along the river that my dad and his brothers liked best. I picked the rocks up at random there and when I came home they seemed to fit together naturally in this formation. They sit like this on my nightstand and in the palm of my hand. More and more, I’ve found myself coming home from trips with physical reminders of the land. The objects are becoming as dear to me as a photograph in their power to transport me. Therefore they share space with my passport, film and jewelry in my carry-on (and weigh down my bags!) but I wouldn’t dare risk losing any pieces. The River Rocks hold the weight of my experience touching the same ground as relatives have, and my own connection to the environment - feeling the flow of the river and drinking its pure cold water from the town fountain.
I shot the composition with a view camera on a clear winter day under the Texas sunlight I grew up with, watching the sun rotate to cast the same shadows of my rocks as the hills and peaks in the landscape photograph.


Selected Shows/Honors:  Exhibition Lab Sasha Wolf Gallery, Foley Gallery, New York, NY (2010); Daniel Cooney Fine Art Emerging Artists Auction (2010); Homesick Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, CA (2009), Collect.give (2011); Wall Space Gallery, Santa Barbara CA, Seattle, WA (2011)

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