Raafi Riveroimages and ideas

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Raafi Rivero is a filmmaker and artist based in Brooklyn, NY.
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These missives have been posted at varying intervals 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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These photos were captured a year ago in and around Santa Fe, NM. Seeing the sun (or moon!) so low on the horizon was a rare sight in my previously urban existence. These next pics were taken while hiking with my friends Eric and Emily, who nursed me through a shoulder injury and opened the door to a place I hope to visit again.

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I’m not sure when landscape photography became a dominant form of exploration for me within the craft. I just know that it happened. As with almost everything I’ve posted over the past few years, these were shot on an iPhone SE and edited in Photoshop.

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Back in the maudlin days of this blog it was hard to imagine some of the wonderful things that have happened in my professional life over the past few years. The only things to report were the reality that those things were decidedly not happening. I started to make the posts here less personal, more bland.

But what’s the point of having a weblog if one never actually says anything?

And so I started writing more personal stuff again, even if there was no anticipation that it would ever lead anywhere. The direction of my career has, in fact, never ceased to be a point of deep misgiving, even if, against all odds, the wins have started to stack up here and there. So, in the spirit of that confused young man, and his slightly-less-confused older self, I share the following:

Last week I appeared on a panel at the newly-opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in support of mentor and all-around mensch Haile Gerima, whose film Sankofa was recently restored. The screening was the opening of Haile’s retrospective at the Museum. It was thrilling to see the restoration of a seminal black film on the best screen in the world.

And it was an honor to appear on Haile’s panel afterwards alongside Daniel E. Williams, another former professor of mine, along with Oscar-nominees Bradford Young – a friend and former classmate – and Ava DuVernay. I even got the biggest laugh of the night. And, it must be said, my outfit was on point.

In 2017 I took this picture of Haile at his office in DC. He was seated in his customary position: in front of the Avid, working on his next film. The photo is a reminder that there is only the work. The accolades, if they come, come on their own time.

ed. notes:
– if you missed the November 12 screening of 72 Hours at the Academy Museum you can stream it on Amazon here.
– Here’s a thorough post detailing the connections between Unarmed and 72 Hours.

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According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, the word lucubrate means “to write or study, especially by night.” It comes from the latin root lucubrare which means to work by lamplight. There’s a pejorative tone to how the word is used in present-day English as the New Oxford notes that lucubrations, usually plural, describe “a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or overelaborate one.” Maybe it’s because lucubrating is what I do, but I’ve always thought of the word as being closer to its original meaning and appreciate the fact that embedded inside, like a filament, is lux, lucis — the latin word for light.

The image of someone contemplating a thing past the time when others might have stopped, often in dim light, is a wonderful thing to encapsulate within a word.

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Waking up to news of the police killing of Daunte Wright, 20, in a town near Minneapolis sent my emotions through the spin cycle. These events are both regular and unpredictable. As a rapid response, I created a jersey design within Instagram’s stories feature.

Later in the day I learned that the artist Karine Varga, who often uses the New York Times as fodder, created a Daunte Wright jersey out of my recent Times cover, mashing up the one from the story with a physical copy of the Times.

One of the most difficult parts of working on Unarmed is that the jersey designs themselves are reactive. As someone who prefers to be proactive, who prefers action over inaction, this lack of control is the worst part. Still, several people wrote to me and one called yesterday, each echoing a phrase I’ve heard many, many times, “keep going.”

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That headline isn’t clever, but damned if it doesn’t do the job. Journalist Ben Osborne made me comfortable enough to speak in my own language, to cry, and to wax on the talismanic quality of jerseys in my life, and then set it up with a feathery sentence like this:

Sports also carry the nostalgic symbolism of youthful innocence. “One of the best moments was always when you got your jersey, your number. I’d just want to wear it all the time,” … “Jerseys were sacred objects for me.”

Some interviews I’ve done leave me feeling that the person missed the point of even talking to me. Not this time. Check out the lede:

And it looks great in print.

Read the full story here.