Miguel VillalobosDeer Slava (2008)

Like anything else photography has loosely defined genres, i.e. street photography, fashion photography, landscape photography, etc., etc.

There’s Ansel Adams–a stollid landscape photographer; your street photographers–Cartier-Bresson or Winogrand; and portraitists a la Arbus.

Additionally there are those artists who migrate between genres over the course of their career–probably the best example being Emmet Gowin, who started out as a portraitist who subsequently took up aerial landscapes of the American west as area of focus. Similarly–and ultimately unsurprisingly given her noted affinity for Gowin, Sally Mann has sort of been all over the place.

What’s interesting about these authors whose work shifts over time is that although the approach and overall aesthetic remain more or less constant, there’s always a lot going on between how they see and how they represent what the see. In other words, we recognize them by their creative trajectory rather than their constancy of vision.

What I find stunning about Villalobos–besides his bold use of dynamic black and white with a downright confrontational use of flash, is that although he favors edgy portraiture… there’s a consistency of seeing across his work regardless of genre.

His work seems to exist as if perpetually experiencing the trough between crests on a slightly sinister acid trip.

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