The Death of Phoenix Taco: A Final Thank You and Farewell Letter

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Three years ago, I started Phoenix Taco from the most humble beginnings. I wanted to discover a different side to where I live and showcase what I had found to its inhabitants. Having grown up in the suburbs, I felt incredibly detached from my surroundings, disgruntled and desperate to cling on to any sort of identity offered by the desert city.

Phoenix Taco has always been about creating a sense of community around something positive, but I realize now that it was also a personal journey. I needed to believe that Arizona is more than the desolate, cultural-wasteland of endless freeways and beige strip-malls that it looks to be at first glance.

I refused to believe that my hometown was the one portrayed by politicians, leaders, and the media—and I rejected their vision of endless golf courses surrounded by air-conditioned mansions.

Armed with nothing other than a point-and-shoot camera and a dangerous sense of curiosity, I set out to explore alleyways, sewage canals, abandoned buildings and neighborhoods in Phoenix and Arizona at large, taking me to nearly ever corner of this state.

What I sought after more than anything was graffiti, embarking on a tireless pursuit to expose a cultural underbelly of the Phoenix. What I ended up discovering, however, and what continued motivating me throughout the years was something much larger.

Everywhere I went, I encountered the people and stories that truly make this state what it is. From the high deserts of Navajo Nation, to the expansive canals of Tucson, to the inner city pulse of our capital—I believe that this is a place filled with stories waiting to be told.

Sadly, it is now time for Phoenix Taco to be laid to rest, but not without giving one final thank you to everyone who helped keep it going over the past three years. This has never been my project alone, and I’m glad to have shared it with so many people.

There is also a beginning to this end. I am working hard on developing Sprawlr, a new publication for Arizona and beyond that will go in-depth into a much wider range of topics. I hope you will follow me as I continue to capture the stories that make our home what it is. Until then . . .

Click here to learn more about Sprawlr

 

Around Tucson with Niba DelCastillo

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From photographer Niba DelCastillo, a collection of shots from earlier this year  around Tucson.

To see more of Niba’s work, view his flickr account here

Averian Chee and Jeff Slim Window Art Champloo Collaborative

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A collaboration between Averian Chee and Jeff Slim

Visit Averian’s blog here

“Heat No. 1″, The 1912 Project Releases It’s 15th Edition of Arizona Inspired Shirts

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 People who choose to promote 1912 are aiding in the continual creative formation of Arizona’s perception, integrity and character. By supporting the project, you’re supporting growth. Just wear the t-shirt with pride and spread the word about what makes Arizona special. Promote the small things that others may not see and generate a sense of excitement about being part of what makes up Arizona. By choosing to wear and identify with 1912, you choose to identify with and support Arizona’s creativity, history, symbolism, and identity.

William LeGoullon of The 1912 Project has released  “Heat No. 1“, his fifteenth edition of Arizona-inspired t-shirts. Since only 25 of the limited-editions shirts are printed, you’ll want to stay up to date on the releases at the website, where you can also view previous editions and read a bio on the author/project. This edition is also available at Francis Boutique in Phoenix.

Erin Gramzinski Photographs AZ Non-Profit Performing Free Medical Care in Honduras

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Photos by Erin Gramzinski

AZ Visionaries is a donor-driven, strictly volunteer non-profit of nurses, doctors, and technicians who perform cataract surgery and eyeglass fittings in the United States and abroad. Recently, they embarked on their fourth trip to Honduras to work in a clinic outside the municipality of El Progresso, where they spent two days performing cataract surgery on patients, most of whom were suffering from near blindness. Cataracts is a treatable condition and although quality medical care is available in the country, many people can not afford it.

Erin Gramzinski was invited to document the trip through photos and also a video to help fundraising. He describes his experience in a statement:

Being a photographer/videographer, I’m totally familiar with people acting completely different the second a lens is pointed at them. Here in the US we are accustomed to always trying to put on a happy face, or to look as attractive as possible whenever a camera is pointed at us. It often takes quite a bit of time with a photographer and the subject before they start feeling comfortable. It’s only after that has happened that you finally start getting shots of who that person really is with their natural expressions. In Honduras, it was completely the opposite. Patients would look at me when I was pointing the lens at them, and it was like they were looking though me. Such strength and power in those gazes!

The “Dreamy, Ethereal Quality” in Rose Clement’s Photographs

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At the risk of revealing too much, I have a soft spot for the natural environment. This is what immediately drew me to Clements’ work and the interactions she captures between the subjects and settings of her photographs. Having recently received her B.S. from NAU in Flagstaff, a place filled with the beauty of Arizona’s Ponderosa Pines, Clements’ eyes have grown attuned to the humbling effect that vast natural landscapes have when placed next to simple human affairs. There is an element of curiosity and light-heartedness that comes out, which I consider refreshing when juxtaposed with the inauspicious and foreboding traits commonly ascribed to nature by popular culture. Our films and books are filled with stories of characters who meet unfavorable ends due to the mistake of equating nature’s beauty with benevolence, yet Clement’s photographs show us that this is no mistake to make. The playfulness and curiosity invoked by natural settings is matched by the world around us.

I am a very dynamic person. I get bored easily and constantly crave change, but photography has always been a constant part of my life. As a kid, when my dad bought my family our first camera, I remember it was magical to me. I had always made art, but taking pictures was instantaneous. I could make something in a split second. Gradually, it changed the way I looked at everything, it was transformational. I’ve always been bad at explaining myself and talking is often very awkward to me, but photography is a way of communication that is effortless and natural. I graduated with my degree in photography this past May. I’ve been assisting for established photographers since then, and working on getting some exhibitions here in the valley before I make my next move.

I love that photography gives me the ability to change the way realities are perceived. It makes me feel like my camera gives me a supernatural power in a way, and so my work often has a dreamy, ethereal quality. I am also very inspired by people. I am very interested in emotions, reactions, and relationships between people– they fascinate me. Portraiture is definitely my favorite area of photography. Most of the photos I take involve people in natural settings, and my style often tends to be photojournalistic. I like the honesty and authenticity that spontaneous portraiture provides. I am always aware of a scene’s photographic possibility, always looking for the next shot. My camera is my third eye.

This quote from Ryan McGinley sums it up: “You have to be able to observe life as if you were a camera all the time, constantly looking at light and the way that things are placed and the way people hold themselves. You need the ability to see something in someone or something that no one else really sees and be able to bring that to light.

Rose Clements

View more from Rose at her website here

Obey Goes All City, Shot by Niba DelCastillo

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Photos by Niba DelCastillo

Por Vida Gallery Presents “Living for the City”, The Art of Ishmael Dueñas

Ishmael Duenas X Joshua Rhodes X Thomas “Breeze” Marcus collaboration

 

Images from the opening of Ishmael Dueñas‘ solo show, “Living for the City” at Por Vida Gallery earlier this month.

Check out past shows at Por Vida Gallery here

A Guide to Chemex Brew from Ah Dios & Jen Macias of Cartel Coffee Lab

A CHEMEX BREW GUIDE from Cartel Coffee Lab on Vimeo.

www.cartelcoffeelab.com
www.ahdios.com

Triple Threat ~ Por Vida Gallery, Midtown

Thomas “Breeze” Marcus, Pablo Luna, and Lalo Cota showed new works at Por Vida Gallery‘s First Friday Exhibit this June.

Click here to view past shows at Por Vida Gallery