Raafi Rivero | images and ideas

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Raafi Rivero is a filmmaker and photographer based in Brooklyn, NY. Click here for professional inquiries.

These occasional missives have been posted continuously since 2006 when “moblogging” was a thing. Please explore work and ideas here, elsewhere, or on the social platform of your choice:

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What is happening between police officers and people of color in this country is a structural issue and must be deconstructed as such. Cameras won’t change basic character.

Another unarmed brown man, Samuel Dubose, has been killed by the police. In the video of the incident, less than five seconds pass between the officer touching the door handle on the man’s vehicle and the officer shooting the man. Add Cincinnati to the list of cities: Sanford, Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, Prairie View. When will it end?

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This is why some Black people are asking themselves, “Why didn’t she just put out the cigarette, shut up and get through it?” Because she loved herself. Because she was on her way to fulfill her dream. Because she knew she was somebody and that she didn’t deserve to be mistreated. Because the demand for dignity always asserts itself at the height of an assault. Because the choice never should have been between her life or her dignity.

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Juliet Macur’s beautiful dedication to the poet Pedro Martinez on the eve of his induction to baseball’s Hall of Fame.

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I was walking with camera in hand. Enjoying the weather, the people, and the many stylish outfits that seem to be having their own conversation in the Garment district. A striking woman appeared in a flowing orange dress. One often sees garments that drag the floor at the Oscars, say, or a wedding. This was on 38th and 8th. And all the better for it. Brittane designs her own dresses. And the rest of us are lucky because of it.

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Blammo! #cloudkit

A photo posted by raafi rivero (@raafirivero) on

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This piece has been rattling around in my brain for weeks. The author, Matthew Butterick, asks important questions about the differences between publishing on the web as an artisanal enterprise vs. throwing in with one of the big ad-supported services out there. As someone who has been writing online for some time now, and who continues to use services like Twitter, there is a temptation every so often to scrap this blog and join a service that potentially adds visibility or ease-of-use. But I can’t seem to quit old-fashioned, self-hosted WordPress, open source warts and all.

Every few years this site gets a fresh coat of paint. Sometimes it feels like that’s the point of having this space – to tweak and experiment with what it means to publish online – rather than the writing itself. All of which sort of supports the selling point of the larger services like Medium that say, “we’ll take care of the design, you just do the writing.” The worry is that I’m not a good enough writer to make noise in an environment like that, and not a good enough designer to stand out in an environment like this. For years I’ve attempted to add tweaks and wrinkles to the presentation of the work and writing on this site to make them pop. But the truth is that those expressions have a limiting factor: me.

I am not a writer who reads enough. Nor am I a designer who is fluent in every technique of the day. And with the exception of two teachers in high-school: the English teacher who forced me to confront what writing actually is (even if it took years to finally understand what he was saying), and the art teacher who explained the basics of design in a semester – I am mostly self-taught at both disciplines. It is in that sense that Butterick’s article strikes its most pleasing chord. There is no other way for this site to achieve whatever harmony it does achieve without it’s author having rolled up his sleeves and mixed it up with CSS and Khoi’s grid. The hope is that the result is something sui generis, that’s also worth reading and looking at. Who knows? I guess I’ll keep trying.

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A photo posted by raafi rivero (@raafirivero) on

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This text dissects basketball’s Triangle offense as if it were Galileo’s treatise on celestial bodies.

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Gut punch. An animated interactive map of the history of the Atlantic slave trade.

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Imagine an all-American kid in his little league uniform. What color is his skin?
Click Here to read, “Black and Tan,” an essay on Race in America

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Well, maybe not the attitude. But in testing out the new Leicas, there’s been some learning. The lenses have much less distortion, and so are less forgiving to a shooter who rarely holds the camera perfectly level.

Enhanced clarity in communication happens, in part, through this sort of technical clarity. One hopes. And if not, well, playing with new toys is always fun.

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Having fun with on the subway this morning. A couple more in this series on Instagram.

This picture has a kissing cousin from a couple years back.

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The photos in the other post were all shot on a phone, these were shot on a camera. Though the distinction between the two capture methods continues to shrink, there is a difference in the kinds of images you end up shooting. When shooting with a camera that weighs several pounds, the intent of each frame tends to be more clear. Shots on phones can sometimes have a “right there” quality — the phones themselves fit into spaces that larger cameras can’t, the subjects tend to be less intimidated.

Whatever the intent, these shots from paradise ended up looking like they belong on the wallpaper of your computer desktop. And that’s what I use them for.


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Three shots from a recent trip to paradise. The first scene struck me as hopper-esque, even before I shot it. Beautiful sunsets and rainbows were par for the course as well.