Sunday, September 18, 2005

La Mallorquina

La Mallorquina, originally uploaded by DeLares.

Eliud Martinez (known in Flickr as DeLares) says:

I was born in the mountain town of Lares, Puerto Rico. I lived there intermittently early on but was mostly raised between the American Midwest and New York City. I’m a longtime photographer, who is relatively “late blooming” in showing my art in public.

As an emerging older artist who happens to be self-taught, I feel both advantaged and disadvantaged. I trust that a major advantage is that I've gotten to be the person I am by being open & listening well. As a life-long learner, I’ve sought out good teachers (often unbeknownst to them & some without much formal education). A disadvantage of sorts is that I sometimes care too much and too deeply. The advantages and disadvantages have sometimes overlapped and morphed into one another or become painfully clear. Either way, I’ve voted with the “fools rushing in” (where angels might fear to tread)...I’m in love...

My artistic choices and love of photography have been influenced by the likes of Walker Evans, Sebastiao Salgado, Minor White, Ansel Adams, Lee Friedlander, Weston and Diane Arbus as well as painters such as Rothko, Warhol and Frank Stella. My growing body of work (such as it is) includes portraiture, landscapes, still life and abstract studies. The content and spirit of my photos are, of course, also informed by my creole Latino heritage, family life, an intense love of music, spirituality, literature and philosophy. Much of the story-telling imagery are transformational and meditative in ways that harken to a fondness for Pablo Neruda’s poetry and Raymond Carver’s short stories.

Ansel Adams had it right when he said: "We don't make a photograph just with a camera; we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved." Amen.

I’ve had an unusual process of education and professional development. Upon graduating from high school in NYC, I was apprenticed in the office of the internationally famous industrial designer, Raymond Loewy. I worked as a draftsman and eventually specialized in high-end retail store and corporate office planning and design. In the early 70s, I also briefly apprenticed in the, then nascent, Downtown Community Television Center founded by Jon Alpert. I subsequently completed university studies part-time.

I graduated from NYU with a BA in psychology and urban design studies. I eventually received Master’s degrees in Social Work and Education from Columbia University and City College respectively. I live and work on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In addition to being an emergent artist, I have been a clinical supervisor for many years and am now a practicing guidance counselor and psychotherapist.

Growing up, my older brother was a photography enthusiast and eventually became (and is) a professional photographer...As a result, photography was a part of my early adolescence into adulthood. My interest in photography and practice was nurtured and encouraged by many artist friends and acquaintances along the way. By 20, I was fairly proficient in developing 35mm black and white negatives and print-making in a small bathroom darkroom at home.

I consider myself to be part of a generation geeky kids that learned to put together crystal diode radios, (mail order) stereo amplifiers and eventually embraced Stewart Brand’s “Whole Earth Catalogue” philosophy of technical self sufficiency. When computers came along, I jumped in the wave. Although I’ve been a lifelong photographer, the emergence of digital photography reawakened my passion. I’m now primarily using the Canon SLR EOS 20D with a 17-85mm Lens. I confess to being head over heels with creating images for the past three years. My passion and recent learning curve threaten to overshadow my day work so much so that it (my day job) has begun to pale by comparison. Yes, I’m looking into early retirement.

I love photography because it “speaks to me” on so many levels: whether it is a straightforward recording of images, symbolic, representational, referential or abstract renderings of images.

I’m attracted to the philosophical, political, cultural and existential levels of meaning found in photography. These transform photographs into acts of human intimacy and transpersonal communication. David Levi Strauss’ says it nicely (“Between the eyes: essays on photography and politics” the way, great read!): photo images are like “points of attention" that somehow "map" (or shape) our human awareness and desires.

I find myself experimenting quite a bit and feel drawn to a wide range of photography subjects and projects. Maybe I need to be more disciplined? Can’t say I have an identifiable style yet, but maybe you and other FLICKR participants can help me with that.

Most recently, the photographs I’ve taken in Puerto Rico have moved me the most deeply and reflected the greatest amount of learning for me. I’ve actually been taken aback by this. I don’t know exactly why yet. Possibly the subject matter in the PR photographs have helped me flow into a deeper creative process.

Creating art can be a very lonely and isolating kind of experience. Self revelation through one’s art work is risky and scary and there is no safety net. There is no yellow brick road, but I’m hoping to find fellow travelers, seekers and kindred spirits to help me see myself by the light of their visions, their love of photography and yes, their “FLICKRing” “love-lights.” :~)>

So far, I’ve found the NYC Exposition group to be a vibrant and percolating community of interesting minds, great talents and good company! My thinking is that this is a good place for an emerging artist to be, to be seen, appreciated and helped along the way to good things.

Yes, I bet this is already more than you bargained for. :~)>

Many thanks for this opportunity and encouragement to “think-out-loud.”

Peace, Eliud


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