Faces of Pedro
“San Pedro is a tough town, and with the collapse of the fishing fleet, has left a deep impact on those living there. In a way, it seems a town Steinbeck or Chandler would have written about: hard, proud, mule stubborn, and hard pressed by the outside world. As Ray tells it, "I became aware of the incredible faces and personalities around me. The faces tell a story, a sort of history about San Pedro like nothing else I have photographed. It's hard to miss the visual poignancy of the veterans here, and thusly the Faces project found me."
Ray's portraits are haunted by the haggard visages and dark shadings that speak of those moving through long nights looking for something that was, and might never be again. They are portraits of characters, not caricatures. Ray transcends the risk of letting the images fall into clichés, and that is very hard to do. They comprise a very hard, intimate study of survivors... Ray’s use of lighting, the alchemy of his toning, and formal composition all serve to endow the sitters, the people living around him in San Pedro, his friends, with distinct personalities. There's a hint of madness among the portrayed. The Faces of Pedro is a fascinating project, a portrait of a community of individuals. Ray's strength is to treat each of his subjects with respect and dignity....
International Editor of HotShoe Magazine
Bill Kouwenhoven lives and works in NYC and Berlin Germany
Excerpt from Personal Alchemies