(Please click on the images above to view them in a slideshow menu)
With widespread polarization and rancor erupting throughout the United States this election season, it is particularly refreshing to see subtle and insightful visual interpretations of cultural contradictions that have plagued a particularly fraught region of our country for generations. In The Gulf, Camilo Ramirez photographed the impact of the BP oil spill on the residents of the southern edge of the Gulf Coast in 2010, returning in 2014 to cover its entirety from Florida to Texas. Born in California, raised in Bogota, Colombia, California, Texas and Florida, Ramirez’s multicultural background seems to have deepened his awareness of the split attitudes of Gulf Coast inhabitants toward an environment that regularly sustains and fails them. His clean, colorful compositions feature the land, animals and natural resources ubiquitous to the region, employing arrangements that pit them against one another in poetic metaphors. In mindfully framed industrial and recreational scenes, Ramirez favors the depiction of disruptions in the landscape and evidence of human exploitations as exposés. His long perspectives, uncluttered compositions and astute exploitation of palette accentuate a sense of displacement. Ramirez’ nuanced images hint revealingly at the underlying traditions and ambivalent attitudes of Gulf residents, sentiments shaped by ever threatening physical and cultural conditions.
by Elin Spring, Writer Blogger, Contributor to the Initiative.
Visit: Camilo Ramirez
Camilo Ramirez was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in Bogota, Colombia as well as various cities throughout California, Texas and in Miami, Florida. He holds a B.F.A. in Photography from Florida International University and an M.F.A. in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is currently on view at the Danforth Museum, the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, The Fort Wayne Museum of Art and Peter Miller Fine Art with upcoming exhibitions at the New York Photo Festival, Atlanta Photo Group, Medium Festival of Photography, Midwest Center for Photography, Seoul International Photo Festival and The Center for Fine Art Photography.
He was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Grant in 2009 and an Emerson Faculty Advancement Fund Grant in 2014. This year he was awarded an Emerson Consumer Awareness Project Grant, a ArtWorcester Biennial Juror’s Prize, a Review Santa Fe 100 invitation, a Lensculture 50 Emerging Talent Award, and is the winner of the BOAAT Press Photography Competition. His work has been featured on CNN, The Boston Globe, the latest issue of Aint-Bad Magazine and in an upcoming limited edition monograph to be published by BOAAT Press in 2015. Camilo currently lives and works in Boston, MA where he serves as SPE Northeast Regional Vice-Chair and Assistant Professor of Photography at Emerson College.
I photograph the length of the U.S. Gulf Coast, investigating its ways its history, economics, environment and culture intertwine to reveal a sense of displaced contradiction.
These photographs explore the nuances of the region and also include the ubiquitous use of land, animals and natural resources as they pertain to industry and recrea;on. The traditions, atitudes and livelihoods that are passed down through muliple generarations are wound tightly into the fabric of the place and are ofen visible within the landscape.