So finally last june, after thinking about it, doubting and pondering, I decided to go ahead with the solo show of my photography work at District & Co.. I co-founded this gallery in 2005 but haven’t been involved with them since 2006, even though relationships with Manuel and Eduardo could not be better. With the help of a few friends I chose 41 of my best photos and finally ended hanging only 20 of them.
I decided to call the exhibition “Wildscapes: from the Arctic to the Caribbean” with photos taken in Finland, Alaska, Yellowstone and Dominican Republic. I was definitely busy in 2011-12. The good thing about trying to choose your best work is that it provides a broader sense of what you really do. You style or personality really comes through in your body of work.
This is my 5th solo show but my 1st with photography. The other 4 where entirely contemporary art, mostly painting, so I did not know what to expect or really how to approach the curatorial work. It really helped out to have exhibition experience. The other 4 solo shows and 15+ group shows in Havana, New York, Cairo and Santo Domingo had prepared me to punt the work out there and detach from it. Some of the pictures you have already seen in this blog, but for those of you who could not be there with me I am adding a few pics from the guided tour, which turned out to be the coolest thing about the show. Wildlife photos all have a great story behind them, and telling it, adds to the piece-observant relationship. But I guess, thats what I do around here, so you already know that.
My oldest daughter Nicole, posing in front of her two favourite photos.
Looking up has always been part of the human spirit. It gives us a soulful sense of scale that somehow achieves to provide a healthy dose of humility. Specially at night, when the body winds down, the soul becomes a bit more sensitive and the cosmos shows itself, we can help to ask transcendental questions while looking up. The night skies are hard to grasp and easy to fall in love with.
Since I was little I was always marvelled at night skies. I remembered the superstition of my nana: “if you try to count the stars you will certainly get a wart”. I always tried anyways, never got a wart!
I always tried to imagine the first humans admiring the stars, trying to figure things out, trying to make sense of such a beautiful spectacle. I got a chance to see the Northern Lights last march and there is really no way to describe the way something inside me moved, drifted…
My mother was always a cosmos fanatic. Sometimes we would go to the roof and look through a cheap telescope my dad had bought for us and spend hours looking at the moon, mapping constellations and making up our own.
Last night I drove 2 hours west to Azua and yet again failed miserably in my quest to photograph the Northern Potoo (Nyctibius jamaicensis). So I looked up and after 4 hours of being out there decided to make the best of the situation. I replaced my 500mm lens for a 18-35mm f/2.8 and decided to have some fun. These are some of the shots that saved the night. But I promise I will go back out there and eventually find the mysterious bird and I will come right back here to this desk in front of this computer and write: “I have conquered my nemesis”.
Greater Antillean Bullfinch (Loxigilla violacea)
No matter where I travel in the world, there is always one place that will never cease to amaze me: La Sierra de Bahoruco. It is a place filled with magic and resilience. La Sierra manages to stay alive and beautiful despite all the harm that has been caused by humans. Of course it wont be like this forever, if you keep pounding on her she will eventually die. But every time I set foot I always come home with new hope and a profound sense of humility and awe. The vegetation varies a lot: from dry forest to transition to broad-leaf rainforest to pine forest all in minutes from one another. Temperature can also be as wide and varied as vegetation, so this mixture of ecosystems gives place to a melting pot of species of all kinds; plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and birds.. but also mammals. The only two endemic mammals, the Hispaniolan Solenodont (Solenodon paradoxus) and the Hispaniolan Jutia (Plagiodontia aedium) are found here, and mostly only here.
Most Hispaniolan endemic birds can be found here but also other great species such as the Northern Potoo (Nyctibius jamaicensis), Greater-Antillean Bullfinch (Lixigilla violacea) and Antillean Euphonia (euphonia musica). Also the entire populate in the Bicknell’s Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) migrates to this place for winter, as well as our endemic La Selle Thrush (Turdus swalesi) which is pretty much only found here. You can also find the most beautiful song in the bird kingdom in these forest: that of the Rufous–throated Solitaire (Myadestes genibarbis). This gorgeous whistle fills the forest just before dawn and really creates a surreal atmosphere.
I crave this place. When I am locked in my office, thinking of budgets and strategic plans and cash flow, La Sierra always provides a safe haven for me to look forward too and pull trough. Evey time I go the experience is different. Every time I go a want more. I have been around in the world, but still La Sierra de Bahoruco always manages, with her accustomed resilience, to come back and retain her title as my favourite nature spot in the world, and that my friends, it’s a tough title to keep.
Rufous-throated Solitaire (Myadestes genibarbis)
Antillean Euphonia (Euphonia musica)