From Publishers Weekly
Self-taught photographer Camarillo gained rare access to an insulated and unexpected community of horsemen in inner-city Philadelphia, which she chronicles through dozens of vivid photographs of these African-American riders and their mounts. For nearly 50 years, real urban cowboys have kept horses in stables near Northwest Philly's Fletcher Street, while also mentoring the next generation. Some of the photos are truly striking: a tight composition focuses on a hand holding reins, drawing the viewer's eye first to a bling-encrusted bracelet and then to the blue eye of the stallion. Chaps-clad legs straddle a pony, while bright Adidas sneakers peek below the fringed leather. But what begins as a riveting photo essay eventually gets repetitive. The portraits of men proudly posing on or near their horses against an incongruous backdrop of vacant lots and dilapidated row houses repeats the same story without adding aesthetic variation or new dimensions to the basic premise. Nonetheless, Camarillo (coauthor of Remote Photos
) provides an idiosyncratic slice of social history, while her best images challenge pervasive assumptions of life in the American ghetto. 65 full-color photos. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
is a self-taught photographer from Texas. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Telegraph, Numéro, Journal, i-D,
and many others. Her first book, Remote Photos
(Janvier/Léo Scheer, 2005), a collaboration with artist Avena Gallagher, was an in-depth look at the identity of teenage male and female models, made by giving the models themselves disposable cameras to be used by whomever they saw fit. Work from the project was exhibited at Léo Scheer Gallery, Paris, in 2005. Camarillo was the winner of the Hyères Festival 2001, and the 2002 Art Director’s Award.