Film is part of the arts, at least in my book. It is a method of expression that sometimes tells more than just words. As part of an assignment, I was assigned to research about another type of art, photography. Currently, there’s an exposition in the art gallery at my college about the photographer, Máximo Rafael Colón.
Máximo Rafael Colón, born from Arecibo, Puerto Rico and also claiming New York City as a home, is a photographer who decided to capture moments of time in a different manner. He specializes in analog photography but he also creates pieces of art out of objects that he finds. The exposition that is currently taking place titled “Encuentro” (Meeting in English), is a collection of 3 objects and 64 photographs, all in black and white, in which he documents not only social aspects about life but how he views it and lives his way through it.
“Devocionales” (Devotionals) consist of the 3 objects that are clearly religious because of the symbols of the Catholic Cross and divinities. To me, they appear to be very peculiar for they do not fit in with the rest of the exposition; everything else is in black and white, meanwhile these objects radiate the colors gold and red. Still, they are very interesting.
“Música” (Music) are a collection of 16 photographs that express one of his other passions. In these pictures, recognized artists such as Rubén Blades and Tito Puente and unknown artists are captured whether it is in night clubs or in the streets of New York. I find it pleasing how he captured the artists’ faces of joy and excitement when they were doing what they love to do; not everyone has the capacity to do so and for that I admire him.
“Política” (Politics) is based off of recognized historical figures who fought for causes and became legends, heroes, and important in a nation’s history, such as Lolita Lebrón and Oscar López. I’m usually not a political person, for I believe that politics talk tends to drive crowds against one another but what I like about this portion of his exposition is the fact that he captured moments that were important to the people; not to a government, not to him, but for the people of a country.
“El mundo ante mis ojos” (The World through my Eyes) is exactly what the title states. This is where he exposed how he saw things and most importantly, he captured landscapes and the culture of all the places he’s traveled to and all of his adventures. One of his pieces in this collection is simply a man walking through the New York fog but he thought it was important to capture that moment that he was living and he did with a great use of frame, by the way.
“Vida” (Life) is a symbolism of the love parents give to their children. Through this collection, he expresses the importance of family and the values that a paternal and a maternal figure hold in the eyes of a child. The true meaning behind these pieces is to cherish our children for they are the future of this planet and it is extremely important to guide them in the right path of life so that one day, they can walk along that path on their own successfully.
“Autorretratos” (Self Portraits) is the smallest portion of his collection. It consists of 3 photographs taken in Illinois, New York, and Paris, consequently. One of his most iconic pictures, him in a bathtub, is in this collection. To be frankly honest, I don’t adore this photograph for it gives off a serene and peaceful glance when you kind of expect more from someone who’s captured many more emotional and passionate images. Still, you can see the simplicity in all 3 photographs that resemble his humble personality.
In conclusion, his collection is one that you must study before observing, in my modest honesty. When I first glanced at the pictures, I didn’t feel much. I had to read and research about his motives to fully understand his point of view and appreciate more his work. Still, when you fully look at it, the use of lighting in his work is brilliant; taking black and white pictures isn’t easy. His are clearly distinguishable and, in the vast majority, very beautiful. I like that, since he’s a social documentarist, he captures life’s moments in a very blissful manner. The pictures don’t seem posed or forced. They are all int he moment, and that is important; to capture life’s moments for a later reminder of how things were or how we felt in that precise moment when we were living what is resembled in the picture. As I looked at his web page, I came across a very beautiful picture of a couple dancing in Cuba; the way she looked at him is just inexplicable. And he, looking down almost afraid or too shy to look at her yet respectably holding her as if she was very valuable. You can tell that both of them are living in the moment. The picture gives off joy and life and love. That’s art. Being able to make the public feel something, it’s definitely art and this man is a great artist.
Below, I have attached a tweet from the art gallery itself that has a video of an interview with the artist himself.