The neighborhood of La Chanca is a historically impoverished zone made up of small dwellings built into the hillside on the outskirts of the city. The inhabitants painted their homes using whatever ingredients were available, resulting in a multicolored patchwork. Ruins still remain of a nineteenth century lead mining and transport operation that ran down the mountain to the nearby port. La Chanca has long been home to a diverse population, including fishermen and their families, a strong community of gypsies, and, more recently, immigrants from Morocco. Over the years, writers and photographers have been drawn to this spot as well.
In October 2008 I photographed the interior of the former Carabanchel prison in Madrid, one of the most infamous architectural landmarks from Spain’s decades of dictatorship. General Francisco Franco ordered construction of the complex in the 1940s to house the regime’s many political prisoners. After the prison was finally closed in 1998, the building became a haven for squatters, graffiti artists, and curious visitors. A month after my visit the entire structure was demolished to make way for a new urban development.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the region of Almeria, Spain, was host to dozens of filmmakers who constructed elaborate movie sets, invoking locations from the American Southwest to Bedouin Arabia. Films shot here include Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, and Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood. Film directors sought to manipulate the otherwise uninhabitable landscape in order to create a world more imaginary than real. Four decades later remnants of the old movie sets remain in the desert, providing seemingly tangible evidence of human settlements that never really existed.
La Chanca: Living on the Margin, an exhibition of photographs by Mark Parascandola, will be on exhibit at Studio 1469 1469 Harvard St NW REAR Washington, DC October 10-25, 2014 with a Public Reception... Read More.
La Chanca: Living on the Margin An exhibition of photographs by Mark Parascandola Studio 1469 1469 Harvard St NW REAR Washington, DC October 10-25, 2014 Public Reception: Friday, October 10th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm Artist Talk: Saturday, October 18th, 6:30 – 8:30 pm Gallery Hours: Fridays and Saturdays, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm. Also by […]
Photographer and art writer Pat Padua recently reviewed my Carabanchel book for DCist. The article includes an interview about the book and my dual life as a photographer/epidemiologist. Padua writes: “Parascandola’s new book documents this decay and the colorful tags, which suggest a change in the pattern of human behavior from one in which freedoms […]
My first photography book, Carabanchel, is now available for purchase. The book can be ordered from me directly for $45 plus shipping (email firstname.lastname@example.org) or via Blurb online. Carabanchel Photographs and text by Mark Parascandola Released June 2014 56 pages, 28 color photographs The book documents the defunct Carabanchel prison, its history, and the nearby […]
Artist Mark Parascandola releases his first photography book Carabanchel on Wednesday, June 4 at Studio 1469. Carabanchel spotlights Parascandola’s photography of the defunct prison that once jailed Spain’s most notorious political prisoners for the greater part of the 20th Century. The event is free and open to the public.