Foto Forum Santa Fe Award
Honorable Mentions 2022
José Castrellón is a New York-based photographer from Panamá. His photographs have been featured in publications such as M Le Monde, De Morgen, Domus, Vice Spain, Esquire Russia, Fisheye Magazine, C International Photo; and in books from editorials such as Gestalten. His work has been exhibited in institutions such as the Tate Modern, London; Museo del Barrio, New York; the Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Museum of Art and Design, New York; LAXART, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy; the Medellín Art Museum, Medellín, Colombia; among others. Castrellon works with photography, video, found objects and text, moving between the conceptual and documentary realms; taking history as a point of departure to inquire into and express anthropological and sociological concerns. He identifies with cultural changes and the impact they have on different places, the cultural modifications of people and the involution and evolution within their societies. His sensibility as an artist is attracted to the transformational forces of a society, to the cultural influences of other people, as well as to the physical transformation of urban or rural spaces, brought about by commercialism, construction, colonialism and geopolitical conflict and interventions. In general, he is attracted to all events that can generate change in people or their way of living.
The series Beautiful Woman focuses on an exploration of the female body and the discomforts imposed by modern femininity. I chose to create self-portrait photographs using materials that traditionally represent beauty, to demonstrate how females conform to societal pressures that beauty must be portrayed in specific ways, regardless of the physical pain. My vision is to create beautiful and provocative photographs and challenge viewers to engage more deeply with my work. I want to convey the hidden reality of the female body, the pain and the imperfections that are not openly talked about and remain invisible. This body of work is a representation of the way I feel to be a woman and the pressure to feel feminine. The work is inspired by a recollection of memories that impacted me throughout my life and show me how to appreciate and celebrate womanhood. I want to capture the effort and time many women dedicate to this idea of the ideal beauty because life is heavily based on appearance. Ultimately, I want the viewers, especially women, to feel encouraged and to embrace love of their bodies.
Moon Phase: The Moments Between Wax and Wane is an interpretation of depression through the art of photography. My photographs explore my own experiences with this invisible disease. They represent the torment and pain that I navigate with major depression. They also record my constant struggle with mental health. This body of work acts as a visual diary about a depressive patient that I created as a photographer. The process of photographing and editing this project is also the process by which I find a productive way to communicate with the outside world. The purpose of my work is to help those who may be indirectly impacted by depression to understand mental illness more comprehensively and establish an accurate portrayal of this very real concern. We live in a society where people still hold prejudices against those with mental health issues and misunderstand them. My photos serve as an invitation to viewers to raise awareness and support for the people around them who struggle with this widespread issue.