author on a pier with Lake Atitlan in Guatemala behind him
author on a pier with Lake Atitlan in Guatemala behind him

I am a professional photographer with a background in theatrical filmmaking (horror films mostly) and digital media for both profit and non-profit organizations. I’ve been doing these things as well as private tutoring for about 30 years now.

I’ve been writing for Medium since December 2020, and I am really enjoying it. I try to put stuff up once a week based on my own experience as a photographer, filmmaker, or frequent visitor to Guatemala. I also try to add historical context and esthetic appreciation of photography whenever it’s appropriate in both of my publications here.

The audience for PHOTO


How Narrative Works in Serial Photography and How We Look at Pictures

To look into a Kirchner picture is to enter a 20 x 20-inch space rich in possible narratives and depths of meaning that stay with you long after you have moved on. Shapes, lines, shadows, and patches of light come together around her mysterious subjects, and, as in the most interesting work of photographers, these unique combinations sketch at the outlines of stories.

“The geometry of a person’s space” is a phrase that will occur in conversations with ML about her work. …


“It’s not a picture of you; it’s a picture of me.” — Richard Avedon

The body of work that an artist leaves behind can be a collection of objects or sounds that reflect the pieces of the world that they absorbed and that absorbed them. Precisely what that world was for each artist can be challenging to decipher. But not always. For one thing, there is the general culture within which an artist works. Music from the west is easily distinguished from Eastern music, as is a country-western ballad from Arabic hip-hop; Flamenco guitar is never confused with Mariachi music.

Visual artists working with mountains, woods, rivers, and deserts can be equally challenging to…


The lines between the good guys and the bad guys are human beings

“Executions? Yes, we have executed. We execute, and we’ll continue to execute.”
— Che Guevara

Portrait of Domingo Gonzales, survivor of the Guatemalan Civil War
Portrait of Domingo Gonzales, survivor of the Guatemalan Civil War
Domingo Gonzales — portrait by R.Quezada-Dardon

On my last day in San Cristobal, I stopped by the NGO to say goodbye to my friend, Rudy, but I was early, and he’d not yet arrived. Rudy’s father was there, though, working on his dump truck, and I introduced myself. We spoke of life in this Guatemalan highland state of Alta Verapaz.

Domingo Gonzales speaks and smiles gently. He has an unassuming manner, a weathered face, and the tanned rough hands of an individual that has worked hard all his life. …


a poem

At eighty-one she lived alone
and stayed up late to watch old movies on tv.

Occasionally, after looking out her window,
she would leave voicemail for her children
asking simply…


“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Mark Twain

Man walking down the street, shoulders hunched, on his way to work. His jacket says “Maintenance” across the back.
Man walking down the street, shoulders hunched, on his way to work. His jacket says “Maintenance” across the back.
Night shift — Kearny, NJ

There are parts of Kearny, NJ that consist of noisy, grimy factories and warehouses. The town is not too far from Newark or from New York. Incorporated in 1867, it was named after a Civil War general killed in 1862. It seems that all you see and hear in these parts of Kearny are people on their way to and from their jobs, or actually working. The faces here seem to hold back their smiles and happiness for when they’re home, or for when they are facing people that they know. …


The portraits of Diane Arbus, Phillip-Lorca diCorcia, Katy Grannan, and the Three Fs of working on the street

Photo by R.Quezada-Dardon

The woman leaning in the doorway didn’t ask for money. We just had a friendly conversation while I waited for an Uber. She told me that her name was Juana Maria Gomez Soto and that the doorstep we were standing on was where she slept at night. There don’t seem to be many homeless people in Guatemala City; the government has no patience with their existence, but she was old and, according to her, not a nuisance, so she was let be.

When I asked her what town she was from initially, and she told me, her eyes lit up…


Photographing a stranger’s house during magic hour

A farmhouse caught in the headlights of a car
A farmhouse caught in the headlights of a car
Photo by R.Quezada-Dardon

An angry-looking man who drives an old beat-up truck and has tattoos on his neck lives here. I did not know that until I knocked on his door one afternoon. I go by this house a couple of times a week on my way to my printing studio. Its solitariness at the end of a long driveway is what always gets my attention from the road: a small house sitting at the back of a vast yard with even more acreage behind it.

After a couple of years, it happened that the time of day, season, weather, and, most importantly…


The Passion told with pictures of trees, grass, stone, and water

A ring of trees around a pond covered in lilies could look like people feasting at a dinner table.
A ring of trees around a pond covered in lilies could look like people feasting at a dinner table.
The Last Supper

At one time, this collection of landscapes was meant to be about entropy. Evidence of this process that nature goes through on its way to disorder and dissolution happens continuously everywhere, of course, but it is so obvious in the woods and creeks near where I live.


The craft of photography has made me far more money than the art of photography.

Many people who decide on a career in art they’ve dreamed of since they were young retain naive notions of the profession’s lifestyle and processes based on what it’s like in books or movies. I did. It was a very romanticized assumption of what it was going to be like.

Film still from the projection booth scene in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane.
Film still from the projection booth scene in Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane.
Citizen Kane by Orson Welles — Cinematography by Gregg Toland

I went to a film school where each week for three years I watched four or five of the most artistically amazing films ever made from all over the world. This was not my experience of filmmaking after graduation, even though I did get lucky on my first film. …

Roberto Quezada-Dardon

Filmmaker, writer, photographer born in Guatemala, raised in Los Angeles, and now living near Philadelphia. Listed in IMDB and Wikipedia as Roberto A. Quezada

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