Israel Garcia & his Camera Minutera

Strolling along the Seine in the blistering heat this summer, we literally stumbled across a very charismatic figure peering through his black box camera; his “minutera” surrounded by hordes of on lookers. A family were standing remarkably still in order to catch the perfect amount of light and to give Israel his cue to instruct the family in his strong Spanish accent to “watch the birdie”. Moments later, a black and white print was eased out of a bucket filled with water. It resembled a vintage print from the 1900’s… except this was August 2015. Being aware of the first apparition of box cameras, the Daguerréo-type etc, I was intrigued that this dapper gentleman had chosen to immortalize contemporary street portraits and scenes using this method. The result was instant fine art photography. The flux of a bustling urban street came to a complete stand still but to be part of the experience was like witnessing poetry in motion. The very essence of these prints, with their ethereal, faded and enigmatic aesthetic somehow add to their value as unique objects, rather like “historical” documents hailing from a bygone era; harking back to an age seeped in nostalgia. A masterful and magical convergence of natural light and composition…
We stayed for 2 hours watching and talking with Israel after he had immortalized my own family. Our 3 prints are on a separate wall at home, in pride of place and a world away from the “Insta-selfie” colour cliché. We bumped into him again on 3 other occasions over the summer and just in time to see his clients all beaming with pride as they walk off with their precious prints. It would be regrettable to miss his up and coming show.

Les Portraits de la Minutera
Du 17 octobre au 30 de novembre
Vernissage le 17 octobre à 19h.
Atelier Robert M. Smith
25, rue de Sambre et Meuse, 75010. Metro : Colonel Fabien ou Belleville

Israel García