During a career that has spanned 38 years, Victor Alemán has created a body of work rich in the pageantry of life. The extraordinary technical perfection of his photography accentuated by his visionary sense creates a sociological photographic study of the human condition.
Born in El Salvador, he immigrated to Los Angeles, California in the early 1960's. He found his first artistic muse as the drummer for the Outlaw Blues Band. As the chief architect of their unique, groundbreaking sound, he recorded two albums for ABC Records, released in 1968 and 1969.
After re-locating to San Francisco in the early 1970's, he began his career as an independent photojournalist. This precipitated a personal journey marked by travels through various countries in Latin America (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia and Ecuador). His experiences documenting the abject poverty so prevalent in the living environment of the native Indians proved to be one of such intensity that he was to view it as a lifelong inspiration; he then realized the ideal medium for recording life as he saw it was through the lens of his camera.
Returning to the Bay Area in 1976, he began production on "Le Gnome / El Gnomo", his first alternative publication. Featuring contemporary visual artists from Latin America, it was one of the first publications to provide a mass-market forum for those in the Latino art community. In 1979 he co-created with multi-medium artist Waldo Nilo "Banana Publications", a Los Angeles based alternative monthly publication, featuring major visual artist and their work in the entertainment industry.
In early 1981, he began a working relationship with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, a collaboration that lasted 10 years. Starting as Managing Editor of El Malcriado, the UFW membership publication, he co-founded KUFW, the first farm workers radio station, and served in the position of Program and Development Director. Due to the impact of and support for "El Malcriado" and KUFW, he oversaw the UFW Publications
Department, publishers of "Food and Justice" and "El Malcriado". For the past fifteen years he has served as Editor of "Vida Nueva", a Spanish newspaper published by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
His assignments have taken him to various countries in the world including Nicaragua, Honduras, Italy, Yugoslavia, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Perú and Canada. He has also photographed Mother Teresa, John Paul II, Robert Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Jacques Cousteau, Muhammad Ali, Marlon Brando, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, Michael Jackson and many other personalities.
Victor Alemán is currently working on two photographic book projects of his
indelible images, one on the people of El Salvador, the other focusing on his ten year relationship with Cesar Chavez and the farm workers' movement. He is a co-founder of 2 MUN-DOS, a photo and news agency (www.2mun-dos.com) and continues to write music, composing soundtracks for the motion picture
I thank God for the gift of observation of the human condition. This simple ability to look at people with compassion has led to my life as a visual artist. My responsibility as a visual artist is to document the most vulnerable people that I encounter in my life and to share those images with the world. I believe that we need to contribute to the better of the human race as we are all connected in this celestial universe and we have the responsibility to uplift the human condition to a higher plateau and to inspire our future generations to live a productive and meaningful life. My contribution is to share what I see with the world with the hopes that it will spark compassion and bring people closer to this commonality.
I am dedicating this exhibit to Cesar Chavez, a man who saw and solved social and economic problems for farm workers and other poor people in America. He defended the rights of immigrants and taught and trained hundreds of thousands of people to overcome fear and act out of courage.