In 1985, En Foco took a major step in expanding its cultural reach by publishing the semi-annual journal Nueva Luz, which continues to the present. The first issue established its broad vision by featuring photographers Sophie Rivera (Puerto Rican), Tony Mendoza (Cuban-American), and Kenro Izu (Japanese). Artistic Director Frank Gimpaya recalls, “I proposed an elegant journal that would expand En Foco’s profile and give voice to urgent narratives. …I designed Nueva Luz to showcase the work of three photographers, giving each image one page. …We awarded fellowships under a different program and it was logical to dovetail it to Nueva Luz.
Frank Gimpaya, email to author, June 12, 2020. Gimpaya was co-founder and artistic director of Nueva Luz until the early 90s.
We entered the 20th century generally believing that Americans had a definite shape and color. A remarkable experiment in democracy has led us to the door where myths are made. We casually accepted a melting pot concept as if it were payment for belonging. As photography set its cast during that early formative period, it established exclusionary imagery that visually washed an entire society. An aesthetic developed out of this process, reinforcing additional myths in an attempt to create one ideal form of Americanism, one ideal look and sound. Any other notions were relegated to exotica. It is possible that as the 21st-century approaches, a new American aesthetic will evolve from the infusion of fresh and fertile energies bursting out of the nation’s constrained corners.
Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Nueva Luz Vol 1.1, 1985
- Sophie Rivera, Woman in Times Square, Published in Nueva Luz Vol 1.1, 1985.
- Tony Mendoza, Every summer my body requires that I immerse it into 83 degrees tropical ocean for at least one month, if it is to function properly for the rest of the year. I usually visit my sister Lydia in Hawaii, if I have enough money to get there, or Ana Maria and Hervin in Florida, and I’m always looking for other hosts in other tropical oceans. I’m not a bad guest. I like to cook, and I clean up too. I’ll sleep anywhere. I’m amusing. I’ll take great pictures of my hosts’ kids, which they will get for Christmas, Published in Nueva Luz Vol 1.1, 1985.
- Kenro Izu, Pyramid over the Ruin”, Chichen-ltza, Mexico, 1961, Published in Nueva Luz Vol 1.1, 1985.