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[of this world or another]

MexicoThe present photographs are part of my M.F.A. thesis exhibition, “Of This World or Another,” (1989), shot on various journeys through Mexico and Guatemala. Drawn to a culture which so readily reveals the drama of living, I discovered my own ambiguities expressed in the duality between dreams and reality. I freely pass back and forth.

Inevitably, photographs of Central American street life provoke ambiguous responses. Because social and political hardship is so omnipresent in this area, the traveler might expect the poverty and sadness to be overpowering. I was, however, deeply moved to witness the powerful guiding force of a religious tradition that, despite Catholicism, is still connected to its pre-colombian past. Spirituality is a vital part of everyday life.

MexicoSometimes, when visiting ancient religious sites, I thought I felt the breath of God, closeness to the Divine. Suddenly, you are protected and surrender to the flow around you. I felt immersed in a larger, off-stage drama, a recurrent tragedy of which only fragments can be captured. I learned to trust my own vision, and each time the shutter was released, my personal story led the way. I feel that any artistic journey is guided by genuine signs from the unconscious. The personal content of these signs, however, urges that they be transformed into pictorial symbols that ultimately speak to the viewer, to provoke a response, or at least  strike a chord.

MexicoTaking photographs alerts my mind and releases my urge for communication. I am challenged to tune into this world or to another. Sometimes the borderline between physical manifestation and mystery vanishes and the ordinary moment becomes transparent. Traveling offers me the gift of a closer look at universal experience. Street life and festivals provide a stage for emotions and thoughts kept silent. I stare into myself, empty and full, negative and positive, taking the picture.

The energy of life flows constantly, quickly obscuring the inquisitive glance. Photography gives me the chance to take a second look — to reflect, to uncover. The intuitive wandering through the maze begins — recognizing the mystery.

MexicoReality and mystery mingle in Latin society, opening doors, to this world or to another. It is from this fertile ground that I draw my visual language. The vocabulary is richest in scenes of celebration and ritual, when masks appear and spirits are summoned.
Regula Franz
IRIS Spring/Summer 1992


The Richmond Times Dispatch praises Of This World or Another for its “rawness” and “emotional depth.” Read the full review »