Javier Carmona


I make photographs that attempt to reconcile the various experiences of my life; of having been an immigrant to the United States, of the mysteries that come with a Mexican birth.

I actively picture the members of my personal life in order to recreate gestures, thoughts, expectations. I inevitably pass through the living spaces of my urban life to jostle memories of Mexican childhood.

As I continue making pictures, I visually associate those spaces of my Chicago surrounding resembling those facades of Guanajuato. I am compelled to render a new space that brings those two worlds together.

In this new space, the participants help me purse the current mystery. I am among believers. I am amongst people trying to find questions, find worship, find peace, find purpose.

Ultimately, I am propelled by mystery, by spirituality and the intangible; the search for them as subject in the actual world as well as the act of making work that helps resolve ideas about one’s own mystery, one’s own spiritual moment.

(Or how a phone call inspires caped heroism. Or how a concrete façade replaces being she and imaging a man called Ali. And how this all communicates in human gestures.)

I believe strongly in making fictional pictures as the culmination of what photography could be: poor man’s cinema, automatic writing, affected memory, pools for rhetoric.

Guide / guia de carmona, 1999, comes from a greater body of pictures which articulate the desire to be fictional, to be identified fictionally, to be celebrated, to be celebrity; to live through the less dangerous world of cinema as a form of cultural assimilation. My experience as an immigrant to this country continues to remind me of how helpful it is to be socially versatile, if not socially ambiguous.




Images such as On This All Depends, Parts I and III, 1999, reinforce an idea that we are all identified in relation to our surroundings, our environments. We are all potentially, dangerously, cultural chameleons.

I am propelled by mystery, by spirituality and the intangible. In searching for these ideas as subjects in the actual world, I am compelled to resolve ideas about my own mystery, my own spiritual moment. This process is what I call waging peace.