The high drama of gypsy flamenco dance culture is captured in stark black and white by photographer Ruven Afanador in the new series of images "Ángel Gitano: The Men of Flamenco" at Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles through July 18.
The pictures, also compiled in a Rizzoli book of the same name, were captured by Afanador in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, where flamenco developed in the 18th century. Flamenco, defined by the fierce emotion displayed by its practitioners as well as signature rhythmic hand clapping and finger snapping, is closely associated with the gitano minority group, hence the title of the work.
Afanador was born in Colombia but said he is obsessed with Spain. "Ángel Gitano" is a companion piece to his 2009 book, "Mil Besos" (Thousand Kisses), which featured arresting images of female flamenco dancers.
The men in Afanador's photos cut striking and often bizarre figures, with lean, muscled bodies arching at impressive angles — faces accented with thick black eye makeup, hair long and wild.
"The men were very familiar with the project I did with the women," Afanador says, "so they always wanted to outdo the women. They were incredible subjects."