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Julio Moline follows his passion for photography

Exhibit of Julio Emilio Moline's works are at Penelope's this month.

February 05, 2014|By Michael Bruer
  • Photographer Julio Moline's portraits of folk singer Joan Baez from 1981 are on display at Penelope's Cafe Books & Gallery in La Cañada Flintridge, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.
Photographer Julio Moline's portraits of folk… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Since his graduation from the University of Iowa nearly four decades ago, Julio Emilio Moline has fostered his passion for photography on a part-time basis, always on the sidelines.

"I kept [photography] as a side interest, and it hasn't been my primary professional pursuit until recently — when I began devoting more time to it," Moline said in an interview this week. His work is being exhibited throughout February at Penelope's Café Books & Gallery in La Cañada.

Larry Moss, who co-owns Penelope's, is a friend of Moline's, having worked with him as a landscape architect. Moss points to the dynamic nature of Moline's works as his reason for mounting the exhibit, which opened in January.

"They are interesting, and much more thought-provoking than a bowl of fruit or a beach scene with palm trees that you might see at other restaurants," Moss said. "They promote and provoke a social commentary, and that is primarily why I wanted to exhibit them."

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The photographs include two separate collections with an overarching theme, "Analog Memories for a Digital Age." One collection documents a trip he took with folk singer and political activist Joan Baez to Latin America 30 years ago. The second includes photographs he took on a beach in Chile in 1977. It had been deserted when he arrived, but was suddenly swarmed by several seniors.

In 1981 Moline set out for a month-long excursion with his filmmaking partner John Chapman, Baez, and her assistant, Jeannie Murphy. The quartet spent time in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Nicaragua on a trip originally intended as a music tour for Baez. Moline produced a documentary on the journey that was aired on PBS.

The countries they visited provided a striking backdrop for the photos, Moline said, as Argentina, Chile, and Brazil were under military dictatorships, and Nicaragua was in the aftermath of a revolution. In places they visited that were under military rule, Baez was forced to perform in churches and homes rather than in public venues.

"It was very frustrating musically; on the other hand it was incredible because of the people we met," Moline said.

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