Azure Magazine
Portfolio: Open Secrets
Text by Michael Totzke, 2006

To Havana-born, Brooklyn-based photographer Luis Mallo, most of what we see and experience is an illusion. A deception. A trick of the self. Since things are seldom what they seem, he chooses to take photographs of objects that are distortions rather than representations. His images are visual puzzles, simultaneously strange and familiar. “An interesting work of art for me,” he says, “is one that perplexes and makes you question what it is you’re looking at.”
What you’re looking at, in these pages, are 10 images from a series that might never have been. “I started photographing industrial windows and facades, but I couldn’t find a way to break through the surface,” Mallo says. “Then I photographed some industrial gates and fences that covered and obstructed the scene behind it, but did not conceal it entirely.” Eureka. Armed with his large-format camera, he wandered the industrial areas of Brooklyn and Queens over a number of years. In search of “scenes,” as he calls them, partly hidden by barriers – never completely opaque or impenetrable – offering a hint or clue as to their nature or function.
You could call Mallo a tease. He likes to conceal yet reveal. Confuse yet seduce. His work warns us to keep out, while urging us to come in. He invites us to become voyeurs, to peek into and look through holes, cracks, gaps, tears and openings.


Luis Mallo  
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