On Friday Feb. 28, 2014, the photographer of the May Gallery’s show “Broken Roots; Illegal Immigration Into the U.S.” Juan Hernandez-Claire spoke at Webster University.
A story of men, women and children crossing the Mexican-U.S. border to have a better life is portrayed through black and white images taken by photographer Jose Hernandez-Claire. This struggle is reflected in “Broken Roots; Illegal Immigration Into the US”, the selection being shown in the May Gallery at Webster University.
Friday evening Hernandez-Claire spoke at Webster’s campus about the selection and his prior projects. Hernandez-Claire said he got the opportunity to photograph the immigrants as they traveled. The process began as an essay Hernández-Claire started in 2005-2006, with a grant from the National Fund for the Arts and Culture of Mexico – Mexican Council for the Arts and Culture (FONCA-CONACULTA), allowing Hernandez-Claire to take photos of the borders of Mexico and Guatemala as well as the Mexico-U.S. border through 2009.
“I only take pictures of things I care deeply about. I take pictures of human struggle and problems. I just don’t take pictures of people and things I don’t feel a connection too,” Hernandez-Claire said.
A slideshow presentation of his experiences and projects over his career was shown while Hernandez-Claire spoke, the majority of them captured in black and white.
“I take all my pictures just like they are, in black and white. I feel like all the colors take away from the main focus points in the pictures,” Hernandez-Claire said.
Following the presentation Friday night, there was a quick Q&A and a public viewing of the photos.
Hernández-Claire studied photography at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (1978-1982). He has won grants from the Mother Jones Foundation in San Francisco, Calif. (1996) and from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in New York (2001). Hernandez-Claire has been in more than 25 one-man shows and more than 80 group shows in Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium, Cuba, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Lebanon and Spain. He has had his work included in collections at Musée De L´Elisée (Lausanne, Switzerland), Bibliotéque National (Paris), Musée Nicephore Niepce (Chalon-Sur-Saone, France), the Portland Museum of Art (USA), the Hungarian Museum of Photography (Kecskemét) and the M+M Collection (Auer, Switzerland).
The “Broken Roots; Illegal Immigration Into the U.S.” selection will be on display until March 28. The May Gallery and the “Broken Roots” selection is located on the second floor of the Sverdrup building on Webster University’s campus.