The Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures in Fort Collins, Colorado, is my kind of place—a funky little enclave that showcases everything from folk art miniatures to musical instruments and handmade textiles from around the globe, all in celebration of world art and culture. What’s not to love?
Last Friday, Global Village celebrated the opening night of its newest exhibit, “Global Lens of Fine Photography,” featuring stunning images from far corners of the world. All the work of photographer Joe Coca.
While I like to think of Joe as the Thrums Books photographer, in truth, he’s had his gorgeous images published in about 50 books and countless magazines over the last few decades.
During the opening night of the show, museum-goers wandered from photograph to photograph, admiring the layers of color in a Tuscan landscape or the phenomenal detail of threads on a loom in Morocco or the certain slant of light on columns of Egyptian stone. Joe has traveled the world and has documented much of it in unforgettable images.
My favorite, though, are the faces.
In the gallery last week, I recognized some beloved images from our books Faces of Tradition: The Weaving Elders of the Andes and Traditional Weavers of Guatemala: Their Stories, Their Lives and some I’d never seen before. Joe has a gift for bringing out what seems like the essence of a person—a pride, a sorrow, endurance, enchantment. There’s a certain intimacy in his portraits that I love. And in photographs of people who have lived difficult and often impoverished lives, Joe is able to draw out a richness and a joy.
Maybe the reason his portraits are so poignant and seem to capture the soul of his subjects so well is because this is the face they see behind the camera.
The exhibit is up through Feb 27, 2016 if you’re in town and want to check it out. And if you want to be amazed by more portraits, beautiful landscapes, and colorful textiles, you can always purchase Thrums Books that feature Joe’s photography at Powell’s, Amazon, or ClothRoads.