Last summer on the long desert drive to Arizona, I heard a short piece on the radio about the growing number of high school mariachi bands. Suddenly I had these images in my head, very avedon-esque, of these teenagers, in their trajes, as musicians. Last winter, while doing a printmaking residency at the School of the Arts at San Diego High School, I met Serafin Parades, the band teacher and leader of one of these groups of teenage mariachi musicians. We talked about me making some portraits of the students, and planned for a few months. I dropped in a few times to listen to them play and to make them comfortable with me.
Here are a few of the portraits. As I said, very influenced by Avedon’s Southwest, and Arnold Newman’s genious use of the shape of instruments to break up negative space. While editing, I was fascinated how the countenance and body language of the students changed when in their trajes and while playing their instruments.