September 23-October 31
Opening September 23 6pm-9pm | Artist demos and talks September 24
Intersection is a four-person photographic exhibition with two artists from Ontario and two from Quebec. This bringing together of artists from the two provinces aims to expose each artist to a new photographic community.
Where are you from and who or what are your influences?
Between the 50s-80s my grandparents owned probably the most popular and avant-garde photography studio in Cartagena – Colombia. My grandmother was the “shooter” while my grandfather was the “developer and printer”. She was a female rights activist and she became well known not only for being a female photographer, but also for being the first woman to get a driver’s license and drive a convertible car “all by herself”. Their studio focused on shooting trendy portraits, corporate people, and very much like Casa Susanna, their studio was also a hideaway for cross-dressers and the LGBT community who couldn’t get anyone to photograph them and had to essentially hide back in those years.
I learned from my grandmother how to interact with my subjects and, most importantly than anything, she taught me how to have an extremely open mind. From my grandfather I learnt all his darkroom secret techniques, which are pretty much useless today with the digital era, but it was a definite training on how the final prints should look.
Both of my parents, who grew up in the middle of the Hippie Movement, became painters and photography was always a “serious hobby” for them. Even at home, throughout my teen years, it was always a top priority to have a working darkroom that we could access anytime.
As a young adult, photography was a serious hobby for me, and even though I was the schools’ photographer and was always shooting, I ended up becoming an engineer by training. A few years later, I left everything to be a full time photographer.
At the end of the 90’s I moved to Canada and studied photography under Struan and Yuri Dojc, they both have been -and still are- great influences in my photography. I also love the work of photographers Cartier Bresson, Sebastiao Salgado, Guy Bourdin, Daidō Moriyama, Sally Mann, Nan Goldin, Helmut Newton, Garry Winograd, Vivian Maier… and many others who I watch constantly and their work for sure have influenced in one way or another how I shoot and how I see the world.
Do you consider yourself a street or fine art photographer?
I do not go on the streets like a journalist, with the sole intention of reporting true events. I feel that in my photography there is an observation and a thoughtful process that takes into consideration the subject, the moment and the story that I am trying to communicate. All these should require an effort from the viewer to understand them, as they carry a vision and an intention. My own story overpowers the story of the subjects that I am shooting, and its interpretation for the most, is based on the viewer’s own experience. This is the process of taking a street photograph to create a fine art street photograph.
Why are you drawn to shoot mostly black and white?
There’s probably a combination of reasons, one is the nostalgia for the timeless and classic quality of the black and white prints, and there is also an unconscious longing for the time when I used to shoot with my grandparents and parents. Never the less and perhaps the main reason why I shoot in black and white, is because its stark simplicity allows the message to shine and become important without the distraction of colours.
What equipment do you use?
For my street photography I am solely relying on available light and a Leica with an Elmarit 1:2.8 lens. The camera is super compact and I can carry it with me everywhere without bearing the weight on my shoulders. I also don’t intimidate my subjects with a big lens when I suddenly point the camera at them. Like the old cameras, in this one I can only control aperture, speed and iso; the “zoom” is my legs. Probably its best feature is that it allows me to see and compose the image in black and white through the view finder.
I was born in Cartagena, Colombia into a family of artists. Both of my parents are painters, and both of my grandparents were photographers. At a very early age I was given my first camera, which I learnt to use shooting with my grandmother in her studio. My grandfather was his developer and printer, so with him I began playing in the dark room with large format B&W negatives. Later on and after moving to Canada, I studied under Struan and Yuri Dojc.
I have won several photography awards, including the Photo de Mode 2007 by Photo Magazine (France), the Applied Arts Annual Award for Portrait Photography in 2006 and the Applied Arts Annual Award for Landscape Photography with the Series “Wovs and Storms” in 2011. In 2013 I won the SNAP! Best Streetcase/ Documentary Photograph Award with the image Double Bass Walker, which was sold by auction at the SNAP! Gala in support of ACT’s vital programs and services for people living with HIV. Aditionally six other images won the 2013 Applied Arts Awards, including two Best Landscape and one Best Personal Photography Work.