All material in this blog falls under the laws of Copyright. Each Artist represented retains their own copyright to their images.Reproduction without their written consent forbidden by law.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Featured Artist...John A. Benigno

"For me, the art and craft of photography are self taught.  Primary influences come from the writings and works of Porter, Feininger, Steichen, and Strand, to name a few."
These are the opening lines of this week's featured artist, John A. Benigno. Taken from his resume, they help to define the inner vision he expresses on paper. More than pictures, they strike me as portraits of the souls who either have or still occupy those spaces.

These are from his collection,"Adobe Churches".

"Adobe is among the most ancient of building materials.  Of the earth, and in need of constant care, 
it is ideal for structures determined to endure as expressions of faith and culture.There are hundreds of adobe churches scattered throughout the high desert of the American Southwest.  A few, still in existence, date back to the mid-1700's, while many others were established as far back as the early 1800's.  Some are large, imposing structures, but most, built by parishioners, are small and modest. Each is unique and worth exploring.  They stand as symbols of deep faith, homage to centuries old customs still practiced in towns and villages found throughout New Mexico."

John's interest in photography started as a child. His dad brought him one of the first Polaroid cameras. Toady he teaches photography at several Community Arts Centers in Pennsylvania. His work appears in many galleries and private collections throughout the country and published in various magazines.

Classic in approach, film and darkroom, today he crosses over to digital output. Still using film, he scans and then applies his formula in Photoshop, recreating his toned or tea stained technique that he applied to his silver prints. 

"Perhaps, because much of my work tends towards realism, my photographs often are described as traditional.  In fact, many of my primary influences come from the writings and works of photography early masters, including Porter, Feininger, Steichen, and Strand, to name a few.
While I welcome a comparison to the past, realism is merely a means to an end.  Rather, I believe that my artistic vision is driven more by my background in the social sciences, especially anthropology and history, than by my great admiration for photography's early masters.My real interest is to capture timeless moments in the landscape, and, if the land has been influenced by man, to stimulate curiosity about how, when and why." 
His other works include landscapes from the Southwest,the Amish country,Seascapes to name a few. His theme follows throughout as does his philosophy.

"Making a photograph is a struggle between my mind’s eye and the subject.  Eventually, they merge in a peaceful coexistence.  The resulting photograph becomes more than the subject.  The viewer can’t possibly travel to this place with me -- it is mine.  Instead, hopefully, the image before them will ignite their own internal journey to a time and place of their own. The key is to look"

More of his works can be found here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Featured Artist...Joel Salcido

Our "Featured Artist" this week is from Austin,Texas where he currently works as an editorial and fine art photographer.
Joel Salcido started out as a staff photographer at the El Paso TImes and also traveled in Latin America for USA Today, receiving multiple awards, several for his coverage of life in Cuba and the inhalant abuse on the US-Mexican border. He worked his way to becoming Photo Editor and in 1991 he decided to branch out and pursue commercial work before his decision to move his family to Spain to work on his fine art photography.

"I made a commitment to use the camera as an instrument that would reveal beauty and truth in its simplest form.  And so “Hecho en Juarez” came to be.  Then came my year in Spain from which, “Spain: Millennium Past” showed me that the true wonder of tradition is anchored by an incessant human effort to celebrate life.  Most recently, the “Roma: Entre Fantasmas”  also follows tradition as a romantic view of local folklore in this border town where ranch, horse and religion still dominate. "
His artistic pursuit with a journalist's background marries well in his images and subject approach  painting his vision with its own tone. Each body takes on its own flavor not just from what he sees but the colors he sees it through, from his portraits to his travels, with excellent technical execution as well as artistic judgment.

"As a journalist, I spent half of my career framing tragedy and disaster and sometimes glorified in it.  Eventually it chipped away and eroded my hope in mankind to a skeletal resemblance of what it once was.  In my need to rediscover hope, I began to seek refuge in what I deemed, “visual poetry.” "  

His decision to leave the world of steady paychecks took courage and self belief in what he really wanted to achieve, he did and still does because for Joel this is more than a business, it's a love that continues producing work for publications like USA Today and Texas Highways along with collections in The Austonian, The Witliff Southwestern and Mexican Photography Collection at Texas State University-San Marcos, The El Paso Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Humanities Center at UT Austin and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

His viewpoint.." For more than 20 years photography has been my companion on this journey we call life.  Many times it has escorted me into the darkest corners of human existence.  Other times it has opened the gates of light where visual poetry and beauty reside.  Photography can easily fall into the trap of celebrating the worst aspects of ourselves and it is for that reason I continue to print my awareness of hope so in the end it may help us all understand the beauty still within us."

More of Joel Salcido's work can be seen here

Monday, February 7, 2011

Featured Artist...Andy Mars

Some artists seem to walk the line between photography and painting and our current one, Andy Mars does just that... Living in New York, Andy, a member of Professional Women Photographers, (PWP) creates her one of a kind mixed media artwork, blending water colors, acrylic paint, pastel chalks and pencil on various substrates as well as photographic paper.
She has been exhibited in many Galleries in Manhattan still finding time to volunteer service for noteworthy causes such as providing pet and family portraits to raise money for the dogs who once worked at the World Trade Towers in the aftermath of 9/11. She taught mixed media photo art to cancer survivors at the Creative Center in NYC as well as giving workshops to Senior Citizens titled "What Do All Those Buttons Do On Your Digital Camera" She recently won the "Volunteer Group of the Year Award" from Women in Need (WIN) by volunteering her service to initiate the community service committee for her group PWP.

Andy is currently a Photography Mentor (teaching photo art lessons) to a burn-accident child to improve his fine motor skills and self esteem.  Her depth of sensitivity for me shows in her work, warm color, attention to the beauty within a small space, an appreciation of a single object over the big picture. They seem to be an icon for the larger landscape she stops to see. 

Her abstract work shows the everyday world around her in a way that seemingly blends the real yet unreal giving a modernistic quality to her series.
More of her work can be seen