Bearden 100

#14 Village of Yo
By Romare Bearden

Selected by Milagros de la Torre

Village of Yo - 1964, Collage and Mixed Media

I enjoyed the feeling of different planes on the collage, discovered through closer inspection, when faces appeared. the idea of noticing eyes looking back at you and what it implies is essential to photography.

Milagros de la Torre

Visual Artist
Brooklyn, NY

Under the Black Sun, Hand-dyed toned gelatin silver prints, mercurochrome 1991-1993

Milagros de la Torre was born in Lima, Peru. She studied at the University of Lima and received a B.A. (Hons) in Photography at the London College of Printing. She has been working with photography since 1991, her first solo exhibition curated by Robert Delpire was presented at the Palais de Tokyo, Centre National de la Photographie, Paris with the ‘Under the Black Sun’ project. Her degree dissertation was focused in the Cuzco School of Photography, Peru and has researched extensively about Latin American Photography ever since. An important monograph designed by Toluca Editions, Paris will be published by RM Editores, Mexico/Barcelona in 2011. A solo exhibition of her work will be presented at Americas Society, New York in February 2012. She has recently received the Guggenheim Fellowship 2011 in Creative Arts, Photography. She lives and works in New York, with Lorenza, her 9 year-old daughter.

Under the Black Sun. 1991-1993: This series is based on the rudimentary technique of the street photographers of Cuzco, Peru, who shoot directly onto photographic paper using a box camera, not only economizing on material but also producing immediate results. The exposed paper is developed in the camera itself, with the aid of developer and diluted fixer stored in small recycled tins. As the paper negative is removed to dry in the intense mountain sunlight, a layer of Mercurochrome (merbromin) is automatically applied to the skin of the subject. This negative with red retouching, is then re-photographed with the same camera, in order to produce, through the same developing process, a positive, or common I.D. photo. The innocent retouching lightens the skin of the subject, producing not only a ‘racial improvement’, but also an aesthetic, economic, and even cultural one, in the belief that a person with fair skin intrinsically represents all of these qualities. These ideas are questioned in Under the Black Sun, as the process is suspended in the middle, at the negative stage, with the red veil still covering the face of the subject.