• Alex Leme searches and explores the content of billboards and signs while driving aimlessly through the south of the United States in an area known as The Bible Belt. Signage with strong religious messages permeates the roads and contrasts at times with secular ones. The subtext of his images demonstrate how far some fundamentalist religious institutions are willing to go to recruit new members and to warn their followers of the lure of the adult entertainment industry which threatens their faith.

    In her Sandhogs series, Gina LeVay brings to the surface an occupation that is a way of life. Sandhogs are miners who work 800 feet below the streets of Manhattan, tunneling bedrock to create the largest capital project in New York City’s history, the 60-mile City Water Tunnel #3. The future of Gotham depends on the efforts of these unseen miners. This new water channel will supplement the two existing and decaying tunnels and will prevent a catastrophic water shortage in the city. Submerged in the tunnels with the miners, Gina beautifully captured the risk and the danger of this way of life and created a work of historic significance.

    Matthew Pillsbury’s sensibility travels from the most mundane and ordinary to the opulent and results in sublime imagery, great composition and surreal lighting effects. The human figure is at times present in a form of an insinuated shadow or silhouette, a reflection of how fast paced and of the moment everyday life can be to most of us. The calm and the storm occupy a single space. His elegant, ethereal and classical interpretation of contemporary black and white photography captures both the present and future.

    Carlo van Der Roer brings new meaning to contemporary portraiture with The Portrait Machine Project. Using AURA technology, van Der Roer creates portraits mostly of well-known artists and prominent figures in the art business. The color palette varies with the personality of the individual in front of the camera.

    These four talented photographers whose work deliver strong messages are a signal of the direction of the medium in the new year.

    Ruben Natal-San Miguel is trained architect, writer, art collector, blogger, consultant, curator and photographer. He primarily focuses on emerging art photography. Ruben is actively involved with the art non-profit organizations ACRIA, Printed Matter, Aperture Foundation, AIDS Chicago, Humble Arts Foundation, Photolucida and Visual AIDS for which he has served as a volunteer, consultant, panelist and competition juror. He has collaborated in projects with several artists including Magnum Photographer Susan Meiselas. Ruben is the Editor-in-Chief of the blog ARTmostfierce which promotes emerging artists and non-profit organizations.

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