Faces: Puerto Rico

El Piragüero 

Faces: Puerto Rico

Portraits are the most personal form of photography. Faces tell the most—the story of a life in a single shot. Street portraits in particular, are often shrouded in mystery. I get attracted by unique faces that exude a certain character. Sometimes I take a shot and go, but most times there is a prolonged interaction before I ask for a photo. For example: the man above sold me a Piragua (shaved ice). He practiced his english with me, naming each of his flavors and laughing at his mistakes. After the transaction I motioned to my camera, he obliged, and I took a few shots.

Whenever I travel I make a point to shoot portraits. Even though it's nerve racking at times, it always proves to produce my best work. Plus, it creates a connection with the locals. Oddly, while in Puerto Rico I only shot portraits of men. Only a coincidence, as I have shot many portraits of women in Asia, I thought it worth mentioning the anomaly. Enjoy the photos!

The Man from San German

As a teenager, with his first wife he met while living in New York City.

This man was a bartender in San German, who told us all about his life (in spanish). Frances translated most of it for me. His walls were covered in historical photos, old advertising, and knick-knacks. The most interesting ornament on the walls was an old photo of him and his first wife—an asian immigrant he met in a factory in New York City when he was a teenager.

Vendor showing off his tattoo.

A vendor shows off his tattoo while at work in Cayey. He was bored with the vending job. When I told him I was from the United States, he said he wished to move there someday.

Above are fishermen, bartenders, and strangers I met on the street. Click on each image for more information.

Street Phone

Here, a man talks on a street phone that is no longer in service. A frequenter at this phone in Rio Pedras—a hotspot for seedy characters—he has entire conversations, day after day, with nobody on the line.