Recommended: Myanmar (Burma) Photography Trip with SOU Workshops

Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photo: Selu Vega
**

One of the scenes you might see in Myanmar
One of the scenes you might see in Myanmar.

One of the many perks of my job as a freelance writer is that I’ve been able to travel all around the world and meet some really interesting people, many of whom have become friends. One of these people is Selu Vega, a photographer from Isla de La Palma, one of the Canary Islands. From the moment I met Selu, I knew we’d be pals. He’s a friendly, happy, funny guy, the kind of person you just feel better being around.

Selu is teaming up with another photographer, Arturo Rodriguez, a documentary photographer and winner of World Press Photo, to lead a photography trip to Myanmar (aka Burma) this December. The 11-day trip promises to be incredible in every way; Selu and Arturo have thought through every logistical detail and will be facilitating the on-the-ground workshop in English and Spanish.

All of the details about the trip, along with registration information, can be found on this page.

Now in New York: Photography Exhibit about El Salvador

Text & Photos:
Julie Schwietert Collazo
**
I don’t ever take for granted the fact that I live in New York City, where we enjoy so many resources and events related to Latin America. One of those resources is New York University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), which sponsors a number of lectures, exhibits, films, and other activities that are open to the public. Today, Francisco and I headed downtown to check out one of their current projects, the exhibit, “Stories of El Salvador.”

The exhibit is at NYU's Kimmel Center.
The exhibit is at NYU’s Kimmel Center.

There are many stories from Latin America that were never fully or well reported in the U.S., and the civil war in El Salvador was one of them. For this reason, the exhibit is important; at the same time, it probably doesn’t provide quite enough context and background for the visitor who happens upon it. Still, the powerful photos that comprise the exhibit, particularly the ones that were taken during the war itself, may be intense enough to provoke the viewer’s curiosity, compelling him or her to learn more.

“Stories of El Salvador” joins two different but complementary collections of photos. Because the venue, the Stovall Family Gallery on the 8th floor of NYU’s Kimmel Center, is not an actual gallery (just a hallway and part of a common room where students relax or study), and because it’s not staffed by anyone, it’s not immediately clear where the exhibit begins. Turn left and go through the glass doors, looking for the “Stories of El Salvador” text on the wall; after viewing the photos in the common room, come back out to the longer hallway for the remainder of the exhibit, which includes photos from the war and more recent images of women who were and remain involved in social justice initiatives related to the war.

A photograph by Susan Moelles in the exhibit.
A photograph by Susan Moelles in the exhibit.

The exhibit is only open through this Sunday, May 4, but the gallery is open daily. If you’d like to visit and you’re not a student, just be sure to bring a photo ID, which you’ll need to present to security on the ground level of the Kimmel Center at NYU (60 Washington Square South). The exhibit is on the 8th floor. There is no charge for admission.

New York Now: Photoville

Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photo: Francisco Collazo
**

"Raskols" exhibit at Photoville.
"Raskols" exhibit at Photoville.

There are lots of reasons to make your way to Brooklyn Bridge Park this summer. including free kayaking and Water Lab (a water-based playground for kids), just part of the rapidly expanding park that runs 1.3 miles along the East River. There’s plenty to keep you busy there for any summer afternoon, but you might want to make it a priority to get there sooner rather than later, as Photoville, a pop-up “large-scale photographic village” that opened this weekend, will only be around for four days this coming week before it ends its brief run.

Why visit?

Photoville is offering free exhibits by local and international photographers, both “known” and “unknown,” as well as panels, lectures, and hands-on, didactic workshops. Plus, there’s a tintype photo booth- tintype, people. It’s a massive effort, especially for a temporary project, and one that’s showing some quality work. We visited this weekend and were especially impressed with the exhibits “Cruel and Unusual,” a multimedia exhibit of images and ephemera about prison life by 11 photographers; “Raskols: The Gangs of Papua New Guinea,” a set of intense black and white portraits by Stephen Dupont; and “Becoming Visible,” a beautiful show of Josh Lehrer’s platinum and palladium portrait prints of transgender teens.

The upcoming talks and workshops are equally relevant to professionals and hobby dabblers and range from the esoteric to the pragmatic. The schedule has all the details. If you do go, let us know what you saw and enjoyed– and what you learned.

Space Shuttle Enterprise Lands at New Home in New York City

Text: Julie Schwietert Collazo
Photos: Francisco Collazo
**
The Space Shuttle Enterprise made its final journey on Wednesday morning, floating up the Hudson River on a barge before being lifted with a massive crane onto the deck of the Intrepid Museum in New York City, its new home. We were on hand to witness–and, of course, to document–the historic moment.

The Enterprise journeys up the Hudson River with a support flotilla.
The Enterprise journeys up the Hudson River with a support flotilla.
Once the shuttle reached the Intrepid, it turned to get in position for lifting.
Once the shuttle reached the Intrepid, it turned to get in position for lifting.
There were plenty of vantage points for viewing the event.
There were plenty of vantage points for viewing the event.
The shuttle moves into position.
The shuttle moves into position.
Crane workers put the lift frame into place.
Crane workers put the lift frame into place.

“Nobody talks to the maid”

Text & Photos:
Julie Schwietert Collazo

**
The tagline of our blog is “Stories about overlooked people and places.” More than a tagline–much more–Francisco and I spend most of our time living in what poet Stanley Kunitz called “the layers.” We believe that everyone has stories to share and that those stories have meaning, even when they lack the platform to tell those stories to anyone.

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to extraordinary places and to have exceptional experiences. I’ve met with Michelin-starred chefs and interviewed a First Lady, and have been grateful for and have enjoyed those experiences. But I’ve never forgotten about all the people we tend to not see, the ones who keep the front-of-house shiny, the ones who keep the big names going.

“Nobody talks to the maid” is like a lot of my projects– it started with a concept but without an end point or a particular outlet or even purpose. This fall, I started taking iPhone photos of the people we tend to overlook in our travels, the people who really make our experiences of the exceptional possible. I haven’t interviewed them or asked their names or their position; my photos have been surreptitious, a product of my own discomfort about approaching them and crossing the invisible barrier that separates us. That’s the next step of this work in progress- confronting my anxiety and engaging the “subjects” of my photos to become co-creators of something… though what, yet, I’m not exactly sure. A portrait project, perhaps?

The title, “Nobody talks to the maid,” is borrowed from a friend who is a writer. At one point in her writing career, she supported herself by working as a hotel maid. It was a job, she says, where she felt nearly invisible, either unnoticed and unacknowledged or objectified.

A hotel worker in Zurich
A hotel worker in Zurich
A hotel worker in Zurich
A hotel worker in Zurich
Cleaning employees at the Mexico City airport
Cleaning employees at the Mexico City airport
An employee at a hotel in Washington, D.C.
An employee at a hotel in Washington, D.C.