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Atlanta 2014: Contemporary


Latin American photography is at the front row of this 16th edition of Atlanta Celebrates Photography, with a special international exhibition dedicated to it.

This would have been an impossible tour de force for ACP had it not received the support of three leading photography festivals from Brazil (Fest Foto in Porto Alegre), Mexico (Fotoseptiembre in Mexico City), and Argentina (Encuentros Abiertos in Buenos Aires), all members of the Festival of Light consortium.

Still, how hard can it be to select twenty images and five photographers to best represent the photography scene of a country? Very hard indeed, according to all curators. The result is in view until October 18 at the 1280 Gallery of the Woodruff Arts Center, sixty images in total that encompass a variety of approaches and styles, from photojournalism to conceptual art.

Despite the eclectic nature of the works, it is fair to say that this ambitious exhibition succeeds in offering a taste of the vitality of present-day photography in Latin America. Interestingly, it also exposes, through the lens of those twenty photographers, a social malaise, or as the curator for the Argentine selection, Silvia Mangialardi, nicely put it, “an expression of emotions about the mysteries of the time we are going through.”

On the Argentine wall, a series of portraits by Alejandro Almaraz builds the faces of men in power out of thousands of images taken from the Internet, disclosing their ambiguity and the difficulty to know who they really are; Marcos Zimmermann’s images offer desolated landscapes and speak of loneliness and abandonment, while Hugo Aveta, with his reconstructed post-war and industrial scenes, reminds us gloomily about massive illusions and dehumanized history.

The Mexican series brings attention to recent work by emerging, young photographers who talk about violence (José Luis Cuervas Garcia), malaise (Karla Lyeva Leal and her self-portrait series dealing with anxiety), environmental contamination, and uprooting – all themes that act as “a thermometer for what is happening in Mexico at the moment,” remarked Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo, one of the two curators from Mexico.

Brazilian curator Carlos Carvalho picked works slightly more uplifting, by both established and emerging photographers. Among the new comers, Calé Merege offers a series on gestures in the streets, which questions the limits of affective boundaries in public, while José Diniz’ photographs play with the idea of seeing without being seen, through the use of a periscope’s view point. Long-time photojournalist Ana Carolina, on the other end, addresses the issue of prostitution with a powerful use of colors and strong contrasted images. Eventually, the series by Rogerio Reis on beachgoers in Rio de Janeiro stands out by his poetic way of transforming an interdiction – in order to protect the identity of people photographed in public space, Brazilian laws request media to apply geometric figures on their faces – into an artistic manifesto. With a lot of humor, he even added on the side of his images a manual on “how to take candid shots on the beaches of Rio.”

Independently from this exhibition, ACP will present a lecture by renowned Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide, in partnership with the High Museum of Art, on October 23. The High recently acquired eleven prints of Iturbide into the museum’s collection. Like her mentor of many years, Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, Iturbide used “a documentary aesthetic that is infused with a powerful sense of the lyrical and surreal,” noted High’s photography curator Brett Abbott, in a body of work spanning over four decades.

Her lecture promises to be one of the highlights of the festival.

ACP Special Contemporary Latin American Photography Exhibition
October 2-18, 2014
1280 Gallery
Woodruff Arts Center
1280 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta GA 30309

Tue-Sat: 10am-10pm

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