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Mark Parascandola: Abandoned Architecture

Mark Parascandola

Mark Parascandola in his studio in the U Street area. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Cecile Oreste at danceDC

Although photographer Mark Parascandola has lived in the D.C. area for more than 20 years, he rarely takes pictures in the District. Most of his photography is inspired by his travels to Chile, Miami, China and his mother’s homeland of Spain. Currently, he is working on a project photographing movie sets left over from the so-called Spaghetti Westerns filmed in Almeria in the 1960s and 1970s. These films include classics such as El Condor and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Parascandola enjoys taking pictures that tell the narrative of a place rather than the story of an individual or group of people. Consequently, much of his work focuses on the theme of abandoned architecture/buildings and transitional spaces.

“People think of architecture as being static or permanent, but it changes over time depending on who takes over the space and how it is affected by the surrounding environment,” Parascandola said.

In addition to his current film set project, his photographs of Miami Marine Stadium and the Carabanchel Prison in Madrid also explore this concept of abandoned architecture. After the structures were no longer in use, both were taken over by graffiti artists and transformed into an impromptu gallery of art. Carabanchel Prison has been torn down since Parascandola last photographed the structure and Miami Marine Stadium is endangered as well, but his images remain a record of how the structures once were.

Parascandola finds graffiti visually interesting. At Artomatic 2009, he incorporated images of graffiti with photographs he took of famous monuments in the District – an exhibit he titled “D.C. Tags.” The series of photographs examined the way people value art by contrasting historical monuments with more informal art. The exhibition generated a range of responses from thought-provoking to offensive.

As well as participating in Artomatic, Parascandola opens his home twice a year for Mid City Artists Open Studios Weekend. He is a member of Mid City Artists as well as the Washington Project for the Arts. He has also shown his work locally at Biagio Fine Chocolate, Caramel and most recently at D.C. Loft Gallery’s “Social Network in the Neighborhood.” He plans to continue working on his current film set project and sees an opportunity to photograph his own transitioning neighborhood – the U Street NW corridor. For more information about Parascandola and his work, visit his website.

Mark Parascandola

Mark Parascandola. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This post was written by:

- who has written 65 posts on Borderstan.

Cecile Oreste writes about the arts for Borderstan and also blogs about the dance community in the D.C. metro area at her site danceDC. When she’s not writing and tweeting, you’ll find Oreste taking dance class, dreaming about travel or eating a super grilled cheese from Stoney’s on P Street NW. Follow her on Twitter @dance_DC. Email Oreste at cecile@borderstan.com.

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