KATHY VARGAS – TEXAS PHOTOGRAPHER
In 1970 I went to work for Bill and Jerry Hayes who ran a small production company here in San Antonio. They made TV commercials. They opened up an animation department and because I has a very small arts background they put me in the animation department. I learned to do special effects and learned dark room work actually before I learned photography. I started taking classes and that was the beginning of photography for me.
In 1974, I was taking classes with Mel Casa and saw some of my photographs and he asked me to come to one of the meetings of the Con Safo group. I liked their work, I liked what they were doing, I connected with it. I have to give credit to Mel Casas who introduced me not only me, but the whole class, to the works of Chicano and Chicana artists. People like Mel Casa were clearing the way for my generation and the generations that could come after us, they were fighting the tough battles.
I began to experiment with my medium, I loved photography as a medium. I read the history of photography and explored what the medium could do. The Con Safo group wanted me to keep doing the same kind of pictures of people, but I wanted to do other types of things, some of the images were more abstract. So when they laid down the law and said, “This is
the only thing we want to look at.” I said, ” I’m sorry, I have to move away from you.” When I decided to leave Con Safo, I had to go forward on my own path.
My newer photographic style is not just me looking to experiment, but also on rediscovering. I was reading Garcia Marquez and he was talking about simultaneous time and layered time and photography can do this. Photography can layer time, photography talks about reporting, and talks about a decisive moment, but you can manipulate the heck out of this. That’s why I learned double exposure. Again this was a way of seeing differently, of realizing that the moment is not always as decisive as it seems, that things are layered, that things slip through.