Medina, Luis (Photographer); Travis, David & Pau-Llosa, Ricardo (Contributors). FACTS & FABLES BY LUIS MEDINA, PHOTOGRAPHER. Chicago, IL: Art Institute Of Chicago, 1993. Softcover. First Edition/First Printing. 62 pages. Fine.

Exhibition Catalog. Published posthumously, it remains the single best book on the photographic art of Luis Medina. The first and only edition. Published in a tiny print run as a softcover original only. The book is now scarce. A brilliant production by the Art Institute of Chicago: Regular-sized volume format. Pictorial softcovers with titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Photographs by Luis Medina. Essays by David Travis and Ricardo Pau-Llosa. Printed on pristine-white, thick coated stock paper in the United States to the highest standards. Without DJ, as issued. Published on the occasion of the posthumous exhibition of the same name held at The Art Institute of Chicago from November 6, 1993 through January 19, 1994. Presents Luis Medina's stunningly beautiful photographs of Chicago's gritty street life, as occupied by its Hispanic gangs, notably "Sons of the Devil". A Cuban immigrant, Medina was gay (he died of AIDS in 1985), highly educated (he spent three years in Europe, to study art and photography), and refined (he kept a diary that was filled with brilliant, aphoristic writing). He apparently did not find sufficient fulfillment as such, and upon discovering the violent gangs living on the periphery of urban life, he immediately embraced them as his own. The homo-eroticism of the photographs recalls Mapplethorpe, with whom Medina shares an innate theatricality that Pau-Llosa describes in his essay in illuminating detail. Gang violence is for real ("facts"). But it has always had imaginative and symbolic elements, which find expression in subversive, explosive graffiti, and that a perceptive photographer like Medina grasped and adopted as his own ("fables"). The built-in distance between photographer and subject is not just bridged in these images. Medina took these photographs as self-expression, and self-transcendence. This was who he believed and felt he really was as well as who he always wanted to be. As Pedro Almodovar famously said, the more you identify with what you aspire to be, the more, paradoxically, real you will ever be. Meanwhile, here are Medina's photographs: Indelible and powerful. An absolute "must-have" title for Luis Medina collectors. This title is a late-modern photography classic. This is one of very few copies of the Exhibition Catalog still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Beware: Almost all other copies available online have serious flaws. A scarce copy thus. 26 color, 6 black-and-white plates. One of the most brilliant American photographers of the 20th century. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 086559127. $30.00

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