HERE IS TIJUANA!, by Fiamma Montezemolo, et al.
(Black Dog Publishing, $29.95; release date May 31, 2006)

Posted by Anneli Rufus at 10:26 am, Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This hyper-intellectualized assessment of Tijuana succeeds in spite of itself. Burdened by an academic, postmodern sensibility, Here is Tijuana! over-analyzes the elusive significance of the city’s “urban space” and cultural milieu. But if you cast aside the nagging impression that the books’ editors are trying to prove some kind of esoteric political point, you can truly get a feeling for the chaotic, bizarre and funky world of Tijuana, the last outpost of the Third World at the foot of America’s gleaming spires. Here is Tijuana! contains very little narrative text, but is rather a lavish compilation of gritty street-level photographs and random textual snippets: quotes from Tijuanans, statistics, paragraphs from incisive essays, strewn together in three loosely organized sections. But the photographs alone are worth the price of the book: hundreds of intimate snapshots of life on the streets, alternately documentarian and artistic. You won’t so much learn any facts about Tijuana from reading this book as gain a gut-level sense of the city’s ambiance and significance, both to Mexicans and Americans.

Grade: A-

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