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“Midwest Filipino” by Daniel Ballesteros

Chashama 266 Gallery
266 West 37th Street, 212-391-8151 x 26
June 1 - June 10, 2012

Gallery Hours: Daily: 12pm – 3pm (and by appointment)

Daniel Ballesteros is interested in looking at the scores of immigrants who chose the Midwest to raise families in, and shape the identities of their children. A common goal seems to have been to fit in but sometimes the cost was a family’s history. The gap between familial history and familial environment is central to the work on view. Among a host of questions asked is: What is the effect of this gap, and how much does family history really matter? A complex answer is that while history can be key to understanding identity, for some it can be a roadblock to progress.

The images in this series are two steps removed from their original scene and decades distanced in photographic process. Pictures of pictures, memories of memories, they are represented in sometimes-cloudy, warm monotones. They are small plates that possess a digital time and date stamp, referencing their place in both the digital and the early photographic era. Antithetical to the typical treatment of digital photography is the fact that once one of Ballesteros’ plates is made, its original digital file is erased, so that only one unique collodion plate remains—a single physical token pulled from a digital recording, a play on the virtual storage abilities of our digital worlds. Ballesteros’ ambrotypes and tintypes embody our own many-layered present—an assimilated past and a new creation all at once.

Artist’s Bio: Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Daniel Ballesteros moved to Brooklyn in 2007 after completing his MFA at the University of Connecticut. In 2009 he began an open ended photographic series, which he is currently expanding, called “Midwest Filipino.” His work has been exhibited in Santa Fe, Chicago, Boston, and New York. He was recently was given honorable mention in the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward, Emerging Photographers 2012. He enjoys fixing bicycles, making wet plate images, and teaching photography.
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