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Former Ohio State professor tells life through pictures in new book

Former Ohio State photography professor Tony Mendoza will debut photos from his latest book “Pictures with Stories” at fine art publisher Joseph Editions, a fine-art publisher in the Short North on Thursday evening.

Mendoza’s photos span a lifetime, from his mother’s photographs of their family, to his childhood in Cuba and into the present day. His latest series works to tie words and images, with each photograph accompanying a short story he wrote.

Author and photographer Tony Mendoza will debut photos from his latest book “Pictures with Stories” at fine art publisher Joseph Editions in the Short North on Thursday evening. Credit: Isaac Kane | Lantern Reporter

“I feel comfortable writing and wanted to bring the two together to show the history and memories of my life by coupling a short story with a photograph from my past,” Mendoza said.

Born in a pre-Castro Cuba in 1942, the Havana native moved to the United States in 1960 to pursue an engineering degree at Yale, and he later obtained a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard.

Mendoza switched gears in 1973, however, when he began to pursue full-time photographic work, and later became a professor at Ohio State. Mendoza retired in the spring of 2013 after more than 25 years at the university.

Thirty years ago, Mendoza published a similar book, “Stories,” which was his first attempt at combining autobiographical stories with his photographs, but he later decided there was more to add. “Pictures with Stories” explores both Mendoza’s past and his evolution as an artist and man throughout his career.

For Mendoza, photography has always been a “language that resonates with all people,” he said. He said photographs were an effective medium to portray his life story, and his background in architecture helped him frame and design the novel using images.

Two photographers, Chris Angel and Casey Vincent, also will display their work at the gallery. On choosing works to coincide with his own, Mendoza said it was important to focus on artist’s with style similar to his. .

Vincent said Mendoza’s ability to combine photography and writing appealed to her most.

“Tony is a storyteller,” he said in an email.I love good storytellers; Stephen King tells great stories with words, Johnny Cash through words and song, Tony through words and photographs. Tony’s so great because he communicates so much through a photo, and the text he provides gives the viewer the exposition to make it a richer experience. His sense of history and place is wonderful.”

Mendoza’s collection will be on display through Nov. 4 at the Joseph Editions gallery at 17 W. Russell St.

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