Spotlight: An Immersive Family Portrait, in Spain and Puerto Rico

By David Schonauer   Tuesday July 30, 2019

Brad Jones’s family lives in “two very disparate worlds.”

His words.

Jones, a Brooklyn-based advertising and editorial photographer, has spent the past seven years also working on a personal project called “Dos Mundos,” or “Two Worlds,” which, he says, chronicles his family’s movements between Spain and Puerto Rico.

“Due to our family commitments we travel between these two places often. My main pursuit in this series is to document our day-to-day lives as we move through these places,” he says.

In doing so, Jones has created an immersive family portrait, capturing inconsequential moments that in their entirety form a consequential image of lives being lived in the moment.

The series has also caused Jones to go out of his comfort as a photographer. “The practice of street photography and documentary photography is new for me,” he says. “I’m accustomed  to having control over the lighting, setting, and movements of the subjects in my photos. These days, I’m learning how to work with the environment. For me this is a practice of observation and presence. I want to simply document the process of living. I’d like to avoid overthinking all of this right now.”

The series, excerpted below, was named a winner of the Latin American Fotografia 7 competition.

When in Spain, notes Jones, he regularly spends time with family in the country’s western Salamanca province.  “While in Puerto Rico we are in the San Juan area mostly, but we travel all over the island regularly. The most interesting areas of Puerto Rico, I believe, are in the countryside away from the capital,” he says.

A photograph from the series highlighted by the LAF 7 judges (at top) was taken in Ponce, on the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

“The man standing in the center of the frame is a barber who had just given me a haircut. As he was cutting my hair we were talking, and he mentioned he raised fighting cocks. Cock fighting is of course legal and somewhat popular in PR,” says Jones. “I asked him if I could see one of the birds. He brought one out, from the back, for me to see and photograph.”

From “New York: A Fragile Utopia”

From “New York: A Fragile Utopia”

“I’ve been working as an advertising and editorial photographer for close to 20 years,” notes Jones. Besides his “Dos Mundos” series, he has worked on other personal projects. One, titled “New York: A Fragile Utopia,” documents how children are reared in the city. Another series, titled “Ghost Notes,” is, says Jones, “a meditation of the nature of seeing and response, as far as the act of photography is concerned.”

See more Jones’s work here and at Instagram.


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Dispatches from Latin America