Stephen Wilkes

Ellis Island, Upper New York Bay, was for many immigrant to reach the American Dream. It was opened in 1892 as a federal station for immigration until 1954.

Stephen Wilkes had the opportunity to photograph the shut down and abandoned hospital.

The images leaves us to imagine the thousands of immigrants that walked inside the hospital. Mother nature has taken place and has almost taken over the space. There is a battle between humans and nature.

The corridors are a favourite of mine, as they are very haunting. The space between the indoors and outdoors is very tight and although you cannot see the what is outside or what is behind the rooms, it allows you to be more eager to find out. It is like a boundary/border between the USA and being nowhere. I am inspired by the way that the place is abandoned there is still a feel of human presence that was once there.

The strong colour that is within the photos emphasises the contrast between human and nature. I am also really fond of the lighting that beams through the windows and reflects on the floor or wall. The compositions lets the audience guess what could be around the corner or behind the door. The range of textures portrays decay, age and memory.

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Julio Bittencourt

Julio Bittencourt’s photography focuses on squatters in Brazil. What is amazing about his work is that the residents are photographed in theatrical way. The colour and the lighting also gives this atmosphere similar to a stage. It is very dull and dead. The contrat is very strong to emphasise all this. And if it was not for the inhabitants being in the frame, it would be hard to believe that anyone lived there. The structure of the photos are framed by not only the rectangular composition Bittencourt chose to do, but also the windows and the wooden boards.

Hundreds of homeless families moved in to the building and created their own community in the early 2000’s. Bittencourt began his project in the last years on the residency after a long duration of threats to get them evicted.

He manages to capture humanity and the struggle within the lower class of society.

In some of his projects he grids all the photos together and it becomes a building itself, like a block of flats. The frames may not be all the same, but they represent the people who live behind them who are all have different stories.

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