This "Latin Colour" portfolio consists of several hundred photographs made in various parts of Latin America and Mediterranean Europe. Their subject is largely traditionally painted vernacular architecture, often in a state of disrepair or decay, and usually owing something to Spanish Colonial style. For this edition of the site I'm featuring mostly photographs from a visit to southern Mexico and Guatemala in late 2014. Previously this portfolio has primarily featured photographs from Cuba and San Miguel, and its time for a change. The photographs here may be a bit less bright than those I could get in Cuba today, but they are more likely to be the original, un-restored item.
On the ground there are comparisons to be drawn; the most obvious of which is the stark contrast between the complex patina of aged and weathered paintwork and the bright and smooth ice-cream shades of repainted or restored buildings. The opportunity to make photographs in an un-restored state is disappearing rapidly as buildings are either refurbished or replaced. On a second visit to Cuba in 2005 I was able to re-photograph only two of the twelve most satisfying images from my first visit just four years before. The buildings had nearly all been restored, repainted, or demolished. I'm ambivalent about "restoration"; buildings are covered heavily with a plasticized layer of gaudy modern paint colours which simply don’t weather and flake in a few short years like their predecessors. Underneath is hidden the patina of decades or even centuries of weathering and redecoration. I've counted up to 20 coats of paint on some buildings, which will never be seen again if covered by a coat of modern plastic emulsions in the course of "restoration".