A pictorial day in the life of a Tijuana millionaire's wife

Venegas_2008_Dr. Campos and Edgar.jpg

Dr. Campos and Edgar, 2008. Digital print, 40" x 50"

Above and after the jump, a gallery of images by Mexico City-based photographer Yvonne Venegas from her series documenting the life of Maria Elvia de Hank, the wife of eccentric millionaire and former Tijuana mayor Jorge Hank Rhon (for background, read this 2006 feature in the LA Weekly which begins: "They call him a criminal, a murderer and the worst mayor in Tijuana history. In search of Genghis Hank.")

"Yvonne Venegas: The Maria Elvia De Hank Series" is on display in large-format prints at Santa Monica's Shoshana Wayne Gallery (inside Bergamot Station Arts Center).

The Tijuana represented by international media—chaotic and dangerous, that despite its socio-economic and cultural emergence of recent years, does not decide to leave the third world and remains in the list of risk and misfortune—is not referenced in this series. Instead Venegas has focused on how power can isolate and reconfigure situations creating environments that when viewed from the outside, can appear to be mere illusion and contradiction.

By negotiating with Mrs. Hank, Venegas obtained access to the range of aspects that construct the family's everyday life on their vast estate: private parties with mainly upper middle class guests, a zoo, a bull ring, horse stables, dog and equestrian races, private school, football stadium, and a casino, among other activities. Both observer and record keeper, Venegas became integrated with the family while maintaining a paradoxical photographic eye.

And incidentally, Venegas happens to be the sister of popular indie chanteuse Julieta Venegas. If you're in the Los Angeles area, this exhibition is really worth seeing in person. It's up through August 28. Please enjoy the wide-format gallery of images that follows in this post (special thanks to Yvonne Venegas, and to Shoshana Wayne Gallery, for permission to present the work here on Boing Boing).


Bolsa, 2009. Digital print, 40" x 50"


Nirvana, 2006. Digital print, 40" x 50"

Venegas_2008_Ana y Amigas.jpg

Ana y Amigas, 2008. Digital print, 40" x 50"


Lago, 2007. Digital print, 40" x 50"


Jorgito 2008. Digital print, 30" x 40"


Muchachos, 2009. Digital print, 30" x 40"

Venegas_2006_Hipodromo 1.jpg

Hipodromo 1 (dyptich), 2006. Digital print, 30" x 40"


Reloj, 2006. Digital print, 40" x 50"


Velas, 2008. Digital print, 40" x 50"