COLLECTION: CATALONIA CASTELLERS
DATE COMPLETED: AUGUST 2012
LOCATION: CATALONIA, SPAIN
To be featured in Scotiabank's CONTACT Photography Festival as an Open Exhibition
Venue Location: The Rivoli, 334 Queen St. West Toronto M5V 2A4
Exhibition Date: April 28–June 20, 2014
Opening Reception: May 3, 2014, 2 - 5 pm
Witnessing 7 diadas (Castell Event) last summer of 2012 has made me an advocate to speak and portray the cultural heritage of Catalonia in this collection of images. Recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, the tradition of building castells started towards the end of the 18th century in a small picturesque town in Valls, near the city of Tarragona, in the southern part of Catalonia. In a typical diada, a Castell Event, a community of castellers build several 8 - 10 layers of a tower to demonstrate courage, solidarity, strength and community. As a tower is completed and successfully and safely dismantled, you get to share the moment of euphoria, that elation of witnessing something so basic and primal of achieving a common goal. For this reason, I share Catalonia’s pride and cultural expression that are the Castellers.
Featured at Gladstone Art Bar, 8th – 14 November 2011
This exhibit took a long time coming as initially I was undecided with what how to showcase my love of food photography. Earlier this year, one day in May, I have come across a workshop talking about how to hold exhibits and how to express oneself through their own chosen art. I sat there in wonder how can I translate my straightforward and point blank style into an art. Most of my efforts were geared for commercial use and this would be the first time that I worked with a full concept in mind.
I started researching and isolating food images online that strike me. For countless sleepless nights, I sat in front of my computer overanalyzing each image that I found, trying to understand what beckoned me to stop and stare. I identified form and color as the main proponents and the experimenting began. I know I would illustrate my vision macro style and have dabbled with different camera accessories to create interesting compositions.
The more I played with my subjects, the more evident was my love for simplicity and symmetry. I once had an assignment in one of my Ryerson classes and it was a simple composition of eggshells on a white background. It suddenly occurred to me that I could do the same concept with all of my subjects, to pair off their natural color with the background to simplify and declutter, creating tone and form in a minimalist way.
Artist Statement on Algonquin On My Mind
Timeless and Ephemeral Exhibit,
Featured on the Gladstone Hotel Art Bar, 15th – 22 November 2011
If there is one thing that I cannot do without throughout the year, it is my yearly trips to Algonquin Park at the height of the fall colors. My friends and I normally spend three days and two nights at the Logging Chain Lodge, where we enjoy all the comforts of home. The weekend would involve photography of crisp and chilly mornings, relaxed hikes on Algonquin Parks many scenic walking trails, company of good friends over a bonfire and good food.
All these years and it still grips me, cool and crisp mornings, bursts of reds, oranges and yellows all around me. Most of my company sleeps in but I normally rise early before the break of dawn. Each year I randomly trek to closer short trails from Logging Chain Lodge, in search for calm lakes with clear reflections of the foliage in front of it. I spend an hour or two exploring the new place I choose, still with a curiosity as if it were my first time in Algonquin. After I have my fill, I come back to the cottage and join everyone for a hike in Algonquin Park. This year we chose the Booth’s Rock trail, where a steep and laborious hike would reward you a big rock to sit on the top of the hill to see Algonquin foliage at a high vantage point. It would take your breath away as the flurry of oranges, reds and yellows as far as your eyes could see. The whole time during this year’s hike, I was collecting leaves to bring home and photograph. In my mind, I planned to pay tribute to the park that always welcome me back with its warm varying hues of crimson every fall.
This series of images is a minimalist exposition of what beckons me to visit the park at the height of the change of colors. Capturing each lone leaf in a frame extends my bliss of seeing this fleeting rouge radiance of nature.
One could say that some of the best memories I have of Barcelona are tied in with their food. Its not only the taste that gives you pleasure but also the culture of how the people of Barcelona love their food. Its the meticulous, prolonged and careful stirring to make a really rich and hot chocolate. Its a locals routine to grab a fresh madalena in the morning. Its the common knowledge to leave the paella untouched to get that perfect crust underneath all that goodness. Its sharing little plates of tapas paired with some chilled rosado between friends. I can go on and on and list everything I loved about Barcelona and it would surely leave me craving to have that experience once again.