Review of “Sí El Paso” first appeared in the January 2020 issue of El Paso Scene. The gracious review is written by Randy Limbird.
No photographer has chronicled El Paso and the surrounding region more extensively than Mark Paulda. His first photographic compilation of the borderland, “Celebrate El Paso,” came out over 10 years ago. “No one guessed but the book went on to be a best seller and the fastest selling book for my publisher, TCU Press,” Paulda said.
But after a decade of changes — in which landmarks like City Hall and the ASARCO smokestacks were razed, others like San Jacinto Plaza were restored and new ones were created, like the red “X” rising above Juárez — it was time for a new edition.
The result is “Sí El Paso,” a larger version of the older book, with over 250 color photographs of El Paso, Juárez and Southern New Mexico. And while his first book was nothing but photographs, “Sí El Paso” includes memories and stories written by a range of El Pasoans. To make the book even more accessible to our community, the text is provided in both English and Spanish.
Mark, whose photographs have appeared in El Paso Scene several times over the past dozen years, approached me about doing something with the new book, so I offered to put it on the January cover. It was a joy leafing through the book, but hard to pick out just a few images out of so many.
The main picture featured on this month’s cover jumped out at me. It’s a winter scene familiar to my mind’s eye but one that I had never seen portrayed as well as Mark had done in his photograph of winter storm clouds draped over the Franklins. The vibrant colors of the Juárez mercado and the subtle gold shades on the Cortez Building also caught my attention. The long-exposure shot of freeway traffic amid a the foreground of desert plants and the background of Union Depot is Mark Paulda’s signature image, similar to the one that graces the book’s cover.
Hopefully Mark — and El Paso Scene — will be around long enough for his next decade’s installment of photography.