REFLECTIONS ON BLOGS
By Clarisel Gonzalez, BLOGS Curator
NEW YORK CITY -- It all started in Puerto Rico. That enchanted island inspired me to shoot photos and more photos. It also inspired me to want to share those images with the world.
That's what started the Puerto Rico Sun cultural news e-magazine back in 2002, which later (in 2004) became the Puerto Rico Sun cultural news/photoblog because it was easier and quicker for me to maintain.
I remember I first joined a photo sharing and storage site called "Flickr" in 2004 with the idea of posting my photos from there to the Puerto Rico Sun blog. But I discovered a whole new world full of photography and interactive communication on Flickr. I immediately started the Puerto Rico Sun photoblogging group and began joining other groups based on my many interests. I also started meeting people from all over the world online who shared a common love for photography and became part of a live and vibrant online community.
Last summer, I relocated to New York City, and I didn't realize that with this move, I would organize a photo exhibit and get to meet many of my online contacts for the first time. I recall Victor Iglesias ("Eros Leafar"), a photographer from Puerto Rico, posted a message saying that he wanted to organize an exposition so photographers can meet and showcase their photography in New York City. We were thinking something small. Just a one- or two-day thing max.
Victor asked for my help and I thought it was a good idea. I began contacting different groups seeking a donated space for our gallery -- and I posted a message in the "Corrientes" forum of a site called: prdream.com. And, Judith Escalona called, telling me she wanted to meet with me "to talk."
While I was thinking of a small gathering and an exhibit of traditional prints, I quickly learned that Judith had another idea: BLOGS. Judith wanted us to showcase our photos using the technology we use everyday to share our work. "It's live," she said, adding that she wanted the exhibit to be a three- to six-week gallery at MediaNoche showcasing photoblogs and how they are transforming the way photographs are shared, displayed and exhibited. MediaNoche is a gallery which offers residencies and exhibition space to artists working in new media in Spanish Harlem.
It made sense to me right at that first meeting. I immediately shared the good news with the photographers online and even they were not clear on how the exhibit would look like without prints. None of us really did!
But the exhibit began to form, largely online. When Richard A. Caraballo ("Minusbaby"), an artist based in East Harlem realized this exhibit was going to be held in his beloved Barrio, he immediately jumped on board to help make this happen. We decided to feature three separate photo groups.
The NYC Exposition, a multicultural/international group, was formed exclusively for the BLOGS exhibit and this group's aim is to showcase photography as art. The NYC Exposition consists of everything from macro to urban/street photography to landscapes and black and white images. Photographers represent different parts of the world, ranging from Puerto Rico and the United States to Latin America and Europe. In addition, I started up the NYC Exposition blog aimed at featuring the photographers who share everything from why they love photography to their photo style to the equipment they use.
Today, the NYC Exposition group has more than 165 members, featuring more than 1,070 images online.
Meanwhile, the two other photo groups featuring at the exhibit are: Puerto Rico Sun, a group dedicated to images of Puerto Rico and stateside boricua communities; and East Harlem, a group dedicated to images of the people and neighborhoods of El Barrio, two groups showcasing communities that the PRDream/MediaNoche project also serves.
The Puerto Rico Sun has more than 65 members and is showcasing 875 photos. The East Harlem group has 15 members, exhibiting nearly 160 photos.
Many of the photobloggers are observers. Many are storytellers. Many just want to capture a moment in time.
Some prefer to create images that are less photographic and more like other art forms such as a painting. Some want to share images reflecting the social conditions of their countries.
And, some say they just want to use their imaginations and create a reality through their art.
"I love photography, because I have the opportunity to create art and influence people's opinion and emotions," wrote "GinoPR" of Puerto Rico in the NYC Exposition blog.
"Enigma" of Taiwan wrote in his blurb: "I also think the idea of a photographic exposition that does not involve physical prints fascinates me (although I wonder sometimes how on earth you will get all of the colors and tones right, as you can't see the prints...but then realize that it really doesn't matter, the virtual prints will just be different, just as people who view photographs on two different monitors often see two different photographs)."
"Monster" of England wrote: "I love photography; I have always enjoyed composing pictures and the digital age has made it so much more accessible and flexible."
Today, I am happy to report that the exhibit has truly been an inspiration for many of us. "Hellophotokitty" of Canada recently wrote in the discussion area of the NYC Exposition group about her experience attending the exhibit: "NYC opened up my eyes again - inspired me and my photography - and you flickr buddies - I love and miss you all!!!"
The exhibit runs until Nov. 26 at the MediaNoche gallery. If you haven't stopped by yet, there is still plenty of time. Enjoy!