Upon seeing Harvey Castro’s work, one is immediately and effortlessly drawn into the multiple layers of content and emotion. This beautiful body of work focuses on the survivors of Hurricane Maria, a horrific storm that engulfed Puerto Rico’s shores in 2017. What rises to the surface within his images is the reverence for humanity and empathy. Documenting sheer perseverance, Harvey distills the dignity of the spirit that remains, given the herculean challenges so layered between the pain and loss, coupled with the will for basic survival. Once we observe and take in these photographs, we are forever altered with how we look and feel about these people as they cope with their challenges. I trust you will enjoy this rich collection of photographs as much as I do.
We look forward to having you join us for the live webinar on April 24, 2021 @ 11AM PST.
Dave Christensen, Director
Harvey Milk Photo Center, March 31, 2021
Harvey Castro is a documentary photographer and visual artist working on documenting social movements within BIPOC communities that narrate resistance and resilience.
Sociopolitical issues related to inequality, identity, and diversity are central to his work, leading him to build connections with individuals, which result in candid portraits and intimate scenarios taken in both public and private spaces.
Castro’s genuine engagement with the people in his photographs leads his work to have a strong reportage feeling. Reflected also are the bonds of support and camaraderie within each specific community – bonds that make resistance possible against adversity and exclusion.
Los Olvidados is a series of photographs taken in Puerto Ricans’ homes affected by Hurricane Maria, making landfall on its shores in 2017. These photographs are from almost a year after that event and reveal both an extraordinary level of personal resilience and the disregard for human life represented by the authorities’ inaction to provide water, electricity, and, in some instances, basic shelter. These U.S. citizens live without any indication that their circumstances will improve, literally forgotten, as the title says.
Fellow photographer Dan Fenstermacher, and I, worked with Relief for Puerto Rico (relief4pr.org), Puertorriqueños con Morovis and community leaders in Yabucoa, Jayuya, and Utuado to learn about residents who had been most affected. Each resulting photograph is a depiction of dignity and strength in the face of extreme trauma.
With this work, I aimed to provide insight into these resilient individuals’ lives, looking intently towards the world, in some cases as they shelter under the blue cast hue of a temporary-now-permanent tarp roof. Feelings of isolation and separation pervade the scenes, despite some spirited smiles and ingenious repairs. The cruelty of being forced to live in that unnecessary stasis of hardship is difficult to bear.
Harvey Castro – 03/2021
Director, Harvey Milk Photo Center
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April 24th, 2021
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