“Know ye that on the right hand of the Indies exists an island called California very close to a side of the Earthly Paradise.” So reads the extract from Las Sergas de Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, which forms the inspiration by this sensitive photo series by Juan Aballe.
The idea for the work began in 2011 when the Madrid photographer wanted to escape the city, the rat-race and all its subsequent consumerism. This, of course, inspired Country Fictions, a collection of images that documented a community of people who had done just that: left the urban sprawl to enjoy a simpler life in the country.
Last Best Hope is Juan’s new body of work that follows a similar theme but refers more to the feelings of hope. Understanding the motivations behind every person, either love or money, these photographs of Oakland, California, show a community looking to survive in uncertain times while hoping for a better future. It documents the very people that chose America as their home, in search of better lives, only to find that they might not be as welcome any more.
It’s a fragile and delicate visual essay of one small pocket of Trump’s America, hoping that one day things will be better for the immigrants that moved there. More at juanaballe.com.