José A. Alvarado Jr.

Photographer
  
La Isla Del Encanto; Borikén
Location: New York
Nationality: Puerto Rican American
Biography: New York native José A. Alvarado Jr. (b.1989) is a Puerto Rican American documentary photographer currently based in New York City. His personal work consists of documenting sub-cultures, politics, and the relationship between Puerto Rico... read on
Public Story
La Isla Del Encanto; Borikén
Credits: josé a. alvarado jr.
Date of Work: 12/04/17 - 07/27/18
Updated: 01/10/19

La Isla Del Encanto; Borikén
Poem by my Father, José A. Alvarado Sr.

Yo Volver Quisiera
Pueblo Villabeño,
Hoy vengo a cantarte,
Y así recordarte,
Con mucho empeño Soy Caribeño,
Nací en la pradera,
En la Cordillera,
Tengo mi cabaña,
Pero a tus montañas Yo volver quisiera.

Recuerdo el fogón,
Donde cocinaba,
Mi vieja llevaba,
Encendió el tizón,
Y yo en un rincón,
De la tormentera,
En lista de espera,
Para la comida,
Juro que a esa vida,
Yo volver quisiera.

Mi padre temprano,
Bien de madrugador,
Llevaba la azada,
Mi machete en mano,
Mi entras que mi hermano,
En la carbonera,
Antes que lloviera,
Sacaba el carbón,
Por esa razón,
Yo volver quisiera.

En Villalba nací,
Entre la pobreza,
Pero mi riqueza,
Fue nacer aquí,
Donde yo crecí,
Fue en la colisera,
Fue por vez primera,
Vi la luz del día,
A tú serranía,
Yo volver quisiera.

La Isla Del Encanto; Borikén, documents the physical damage to areas in my family’s villages, in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria. These places hold the memories of my youth and areas of the countryside I explored. In early December 2017, late February 2018, and late July 2018 I traveled to Puerto Rico to check in on my family, help with any repairs, and to see with my own eyes the way life has changed and has continued pushing forward. Over time I’ve developed a ritual of revisiting the areas and paths that are significant to me. The frames taken are remnants of memories that are etched in my mind that have physically disappeared on the island and moments shared in the company of loved ones the storm could not destroy. With the aid of the photographic medium as a tool, I’ve helped myself put to rest these physical landmarks my family made on the island. I’ve chosen to compose the scenes of destruction in angles most vividly remembered by myself. By capturing the identity of quiet landscapes, toppled homes, crippled forests, and plowed towns, that have seen its unique identity physically stripped away, is my way of coping. My memories on the island and stories I would hear about the way life was on the island will always stay with me, but my ability to retrace the paths I’d explored are forever lost, leaving me with frames of my heritage the storm couldn’t take away.

First published by the NY Times Lens on September 19, 2018.
6,095

By José A. Alvarado Jr. —

VISUAL STORY

Home

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / New York City — A New York native, José A. Alvarado Jr. (b. 1989) is a Puerto Rican documentary photographer,..
VISUAL STORY

Portraits

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / United States — Commissioned Work
VISUAL STORY

A Night Amongst the Kings and Queens of Paper

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / Rye New York
VISUAL STORY

The Story of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / New York City — The Story of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez In the wake of the 2016 U.S. national election, discontent echoes..
VISUAL STORY

The Little Barbershop on Suydam

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / Bushwick — The Little Barbershop on Suydam On a mid-July day in 2016, one of the hottest in New York City’s..
VISUAL STORY

Paper Kings

By José A. Alvarado Jr. — In late September of 2018, I was commisioned to document a paper company's 75th anniversary in Rye, New..
VISUAL STORY

A Good Beginning Makes A Good Ending

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / Iceland — Af góðu upphafi  vonast góður endir.   A good beginning makes a good ending.
VISUAL STORY

House of Glory

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / New York City — BRONX KIDS BY DAY, SUPERSTAR WRESTLERS BY NIGHT Words by Jake Bittle Photographs by José Alvarado..
VISUAL STORY

Portrait of Singer-Songwriter Steff Reed

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / Bedford-Stuyvesant — Editorial on singer, songwriter, and producer Steff Reed. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist’s life..
VISUAL STORY

You Don't Look Sick

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / Bronx — You Don't Look Sick What are your experiences after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in your..
VISUAL STORY

Narratives From The West; An American Solar Eclipse

By José A. Alvarado Jr. / Moab — Narratives from the West; An American Solar Eclipse Narratives from the West; An American Solar Eclipse is..
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