Border Pawnshop Portraits, El Paso, 1983-84
Proverbial circumstances brought me from Manhattan back to El Paso in 1982 where I worked five days a week alongside my father and two older brothers in the family's business, a pawnshop named Dave’s just north of the bridge to Juárez, Mexico
On my days off I wandered El Paso, trying to conceive photo projects, but I found the environs bare there and not open to easy portrayal. The landscape is horizontal with only rare variations in the light. Every day was sunny and bright, like there was an arc-lamp in the sky casting black, zone-zero shadows.
But five days a week I spent in a very busy border pawnshop, talking to a constant stream of vagabond humans, one after another, all day long.
Soon I was dragging specimens of this flow of souls from out of the pawnshop and sticking them on the sidewalk directly under the desert sun, mapping the landscape of their faces with a macro lens and slow speed film.
These are some of them:
*All photographs copyright Richard Baron 1983, 1984, 2011*
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