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Daniel Ballesteros’ photographs of life in the Midwest remains on view at the Chashama art space on Times Square till June 10. “Midwest Filipino” is a collection of Ballesteros’ memories growing up in St. Louis, Missouri.
According to a gallery statement, Ballesteros is interested in looking at the scores of immigrants who chose the Midwest to raise families in, and shape the identities of their children. A common goal seems to have been to fit in but sometimes the cost was a family’s history. The gap between familial history and familial environment is central to the work on view. Among a host of questions asked is: What is the effect of this gap, and how much does family history really matter? A complex answer is that while history can be key to understanding identity, for some it can be a roadblock to progress.
The images in this series are two steps removed from their original scene and decades distanced in photographic process. Pictures of pictures, memories of memories, they are represented in sometimes-cloudy, warm monotones. They are small plates that possess a digital time and date stamp, referencing their place in both the digital and the early photographic era.
“Daniel Ballesteros is a master of transforming the mundane into the extraordinary. My favorite works are those in which he captures the essence of everyday Filipino American models through truly unique textiles and shapes,” said Kevin Nadal of the Filipino American National Historical Society-Metro New York, which organized the exhibit.
Ballesteros moved to Brooklyn in 2007 after completing his MFA at the University of Connecticut. His work has been exhibited in Santa Fe, Chicago, Boston, and New York. He enjoys fixing bicycles, making wet plate images and teaching photography. - The FilAm