One evening, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer José Galvez heard Luis Alberto Urrea read "Hymn to Vatos Who Will Never Be in a Poem" with its chant-like repetitions and its evocation of Chicano manhood. As Luis read each line, an image clicked in José's memory, and he knew that he had already taken that photograph. The result of that experience is this remarkable book.
A unique collaboration of two acclaimed artists, Vatos is a tribute to Latino men who are too often forgotten, ignored and misrepresented by the larger culture-children playing in the streets, migrant workers toiling for a better life, homeboys in the barrio, young men with their girlfriends and their mothers, blue collar workers, activists on the streets, sons, uncles, fathers, and grandfathers. Vatos recognizes their joys, their sorrows, their tenderness and their strength. Through Galvez' photographs and Urrea's words, they will not be forgotten.
The word "vato," by the way, is Mexican-American slang, a word that means "dude" or "guy," but here it carries more soul than either of these.
José Galvez was lead photographer of a L.A. Times team that received a Pulitzer Prize for a stunning portrayal about Latinos in Southern California. José and his colleagues were the first Hispanics to receive a Pulitzer. For over 30 years, Galvez has been documenting his Mexican-American culture, through photographs. He has done much freelance photojournalism and has contributed photos to the book Americanos produced by Edward James Olmos.
Bloomsbury Review named Luis Alberto Urrea as one of its "10 Young Writers to Watch." His book Across the Wire, which depicts life at the edges of the dumps in Nogales, is in its 10th printing. A novelist, essayist and poet, he has received the Christopher Award, the Colorado Center for the Book Award, the Western States Book Award for Poetry, and the American Book Award.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
A unique collaboration of two acclaimed artists, VATOS is a tribute to Latino men who are too often forgotten, ignored and misrepresented by the larger culture: children playing in the streets, migrant workers toiling for a better life, homeboys in the barrio, young men with their girlfriends and their mothers, blue collar workers, activists on the streets, sons, uncles, fathers, and grandfathers. VATOS recognizes their joys, their sorrows, their tenderness and their strength. Through Galvez' photographs and Urrea's words, they will not be forgotten.From the Author:
These photographs arise from my sense of responsibility to my family, my community and my culture. Since I began my career as a photographer over 30 years ago, I have seen tremendous change. I have seen the barrios torn down and rebuilt into community centers and condos. I have seen campesinos from Mexico go from wearing huaraches to Nikes and Dallas Cowboy baseball caps. But one thing has been a constant in the Mexican communityrespect for family and for heritage. This is my culture, a culture that I am deeply proud of. Jos Galvez
I'm not entirely sure how the Vatos poem came into being. I was working on this long thing called The Tijuana Book of the Dead, which is a symbolic journey of the Mexican soul from birth to death and beyond. It is largely concerned with the fate of the family, or the mothers and fathers. And I had also been working on my epic novel about Teresita Urrea, the Saint of Cabora. I was absorbing a lot of female history and energy. Historically, I knew, women had been ignored and erased. But I suddenly realized that, outside of the historical record, the men were also ignored and erased. The modern Xicano/Mexicano/Latino man was invisible. And I thought: these poor men, nobody cares, nobody listens to them, nobody remembers them. My dad! My uncles! My brothers! And I was thinking about Mexican churches, how you hear old women praying, that kind of rhythmic litany. And it all spilled out. Every line the exact same number of beats, as if 100 grandmas were praying to Guadalupe. Lu! is Urrea
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