Jonathan Traviesa Lecture
December 7, 2010
New Orleans Photo Alliance
1111 St. Mary Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Jonathan Traviesa won the inaugural 2009 Michael P. Smith Fund for Documentary Photography (MPS Fund) grant for his series of environmental portraits, “New Portraits in New Orleans”. Traviesa is using the $5,000 grant to propel his portrait series in a new direction – to document the newest residents of New Orleans – ones that have helped rebuild and restructure the city in positive ways. Traviesa will speak about this new focus and show photographs made during the grant year. Traviesa writes:
“This project has reinvigorated my life and place in New Orleans. To find and document the various peoples and communities that are literally rebuilding the city, reshaping urban space, changing broken policy, and expanding the cultural fabric is overwhelming – in the best way. To talk with the folks who are actively making the new future recently begun in New Orleans is to witness the city change and grow before my eyes. And yet, New Orleans will always maintain its core identity. My photographs represent that through the stylistic platform of my larger project.”
The MPS Fund’s first juror, Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator, Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, selected Traviesa’s project. In his words: “Traviesa’s photographs delight the eye and thrill the heart. In addition, they reflect something often lost in contemporary art practice: patience and real communication between artist and sitter. In essence, Traviesa allows himself to be a medium through which he and the residents of New Orleans can express their desires, worries, thoughts, and dreams.”
Jonathan Traviesa is a photographer and artist living in New Orleans since the late 1990s. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. In 2005, the Times Picayune named his Katrina photo-sign installation best art show the year. He has been teaching Photoshop at NOAFA since 2005 and is a founding member of The Front, an artist-run gallery founded in 2008.
Traviesa released his first book, “Portraits” with a concurrent exhibition at The Front during October and November of 2009. As part of PhotoNOLA, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art exhibited a selection of his portraits from the book. Traviesa was awarded the New Orleans Photo Alliance’s inaugural Michael P. Smith Grant in December 2009. His work is collected privately around the United States and publicly by the Ogden Museum and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
The New Orleans Photo Alliance will begin accepting proposals this fall for the next grant cycle of the Michael P. Smith Fund. All required materials must be received between November 15, 2010 and January 20, 2011. For submission information and guidelines, please visit the Michael P. Smith Fund’s website here.