In support of this year’s New Works Photography Fellowship Award Exhibition and to share the work of this year’s photographers with the online community, En Foco partners with juror Michael Mazzeo to highlight their work in a series of blog posts. To view all the work in the exhibition, preview the exhibition catalog (or better yet, come by and see the show!)
Blog post 3 of 5.
Adam Amengual has always been fascinated by the lure of gangs, cults and other organizations of like-minded members––but he is also interested people’s potential for change. By working with an intervention organization called Homeboy Industries, he was given the opportunity to explore these topics and share his images.
Homies might seem to be a collection of mugshots were it not for the inclusion of hands, hats, and sunglasses, but these commercially influenced portraits would be better suited to the magazine page than the wanted poster. Photographed against a clean white background with studio lighting often seen in celebrity portraiture, Amengual’s subjects, dressed in casual attire, could very well be actors, musicians, athletes, or artists.
Upon close inspection however, their finely detailed tattoos display gang symbolism, territorial claims, and respectful tributes to lost friends and family. They are imposing characters, equally tough-looking men and women with a similitude of confidence and attitude. Sitting close to the camera, and often gazing out of the frame, their poses and gestures suggest pride and heroism, and in a way, they are deserving of that status. All former gang members, they have made the decision to change their lives through intervention and rehabilitation. They are surely role models for countless others from similar backgrounds dreaming of a better future.
–Michael Mazzeo, Guest Juror, New Works #15
Adam Amengual is the recipient of En Foco’s New Works Photography Fellowship Awards, an annual program selecting three or more U.S. based photographers of Latino, African or Asian heritage, and Native Peoples of the Americas and Pacific, through a national call for entries. The New Works program helps artists to create or complete an in-depth photographic series exploring themes of their choice, and provides the infrastructure needed for national visibility and a professional exhibition of their new work in the New York area. More about him at his En Foco Photographers page and his website www.adamamengual.com
Michael Mazzeo is a gallerist, educator and photographer based in New York City. He serves on the faculties of the School of Visual Arts, the International Center of Photography, New Jersey City University, and has been a guest lecturer at other prestigious institutions. He has been a featured portfolio reviewer at Fotofest, Review Santa Fe, Photolucida, Critical Mass, FotoWeek DC, The Center of Photography at Woodstock, ICP, ASMP, SPE, powerHouse Books, and Atlanta Celebrates Photography. www.mazzeoprojects.com