Leo Garcia: Now Pay
How do we consider place as an immigrant and keen observer? In the case of Guatemalan photographer Leo Garcia, he has photographed his life in Los Angeles–the streets, the people and the details, as a way to create a diary of discovery–of self and city. These ares ometimes quiet photographs, some reflect the easily overlooked, small details and moments of every day life. A devoted analog photographer, Leo builds a narrative that uses a fine art and documentary approach to map his wanderings.
Leo Garcia is a self-taught photographer who grew up in Totonicapán, a small town in the highlands of Guatemala. There he started a photography career in 2012 with a first two-person exhibition called “6” in which he and another artist contrasted their environments being city and rural life. In 2014 he had his first solo show, “Constelación” at S1 Gallery, a prominent underground art space in Guatemala City. These two initial bodies of work led him to be selected to participate in different shows over the years. In 2015 he moved to Los Angeles to continue his photography career, encompassing fine art, documentary and portraiture photography.
In 2017 his first book “6/CONSTELACIÓN” was selected for the MOPLA Photobook Exhibition and his first Zine “6CM” was selected to be part of the show Zines of The World at Doomed Gallery in London. Later that year he was selected to be part of the Electron Salon group exhibition at LACDA (Los Angeles Center for Digital Art).
In 2019 he self-published his second photo book “Now Pay”, a documentary-style collection of photographs taken over a period of 9 months during 2018. It includes portraits of close friends, plus both street and abstract photography. This Spring Now Pay was part of the 35 selected photo books for the MOPLA Photo Book Exhibition, Los Angeles. It was also selected for the Foto Wein, Month of Photography Vienna 2019 and Athens Photo Festival 2019.
His work reflects strong influences that range from art, music and social justice. This results in images that blend documentary and fine art photography. Having the opportunity to have worked editorial assignments for musicians such as Nite Jewel, Damien Jurado, Devendra Banhart, Jesse Báez, Gary Wilson, Nicholas Kgrovich and Mac DeMarco for publications such as Dazed, Pitchfork, Weirdo Music Forever and LA Record. His next project focuses on documenting MacArthur Park, a predominantly Guatemalan immigrant neighborhood in Westlake, LA.
Without much planning in in spring 2018, I began documenting my life with a 35mm point-and-shoot camera that I carried with me at all times. I captured the people close to me, events, my surroundings and any element that compelled my attention. After 9 months and by the end of that year, what I created resulted in a photobook. Now Pay is a project that combines a chronological documentary with street photography, portraiture and even fine art. Each photograph is linked visually to one another in some way, telling a poetic story- sometimes humorous, sometimes existential, sometimes banal.
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