One never knows exactly what affect a photograph will have; they are, in a sense, the “wishbones of time.” The larger part, the captured wish-- the image, hardly more than a collaboration of pixels or a silver sensitized piece of paper, yet, a symbol, abstract and resonant, ready to give deeper meaning to the “smaller” part left behind. I have always recognized the beauty, meaning and excitement inherent in “everyday” people and events. My camera has allowed me to record, and share, that which I feel is meaningful.
For me, the still photograph is in a sense a catalyst for thought; it freezes the moment and allows us a form of "privileged proximity" to situations and events; it allows us to carry the moment with us.
The humanistic photo-essay/book, "The Family of Man," curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art, in 1955, emphasized the universality of all human experience, and the inter-connectedness of all people. This inspirational work proved to be an invaluable resource for inspiring young student photographers whose lives and communities were often fractured by ethnic rivalries, inner city ills, and much suffering. Little did I know how much the theme of this far reaching work would shape my own core feelings and subsequent photography.
“ Circles of the Heart” was a photo essay which began in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. It was my intention to help promote healing and understanding in Crown Heights by introducing my subjects by way of everyday encounters as individuals, rather than by stereotypical faceless symbols of Black, White, Jew, Moslem, Asian, Hispanic, sometimes presented by the media. As time went on, the “Circle...” has widened to embrace people of all lands. It is my belief that intercultural understanding is the corner stone of world peace. When cultures stop trying to understand one another, horrific things begin to happen. The present feeling of humanism, ushered in by Barack Obama's Presidency is, in a sense, a validation of so much of what my work has been striving to achieve, in focusing upon the ever widening "Circles of the Heart."
" When I first became interested in photography,
I thought it was the whole cheese. My idea was to have it recognized as one of the fine arts. Today I don't give a hoot in hell about that. The mission of photography is to explainman to man, and each man to himself." - Edward Steichen
Anthony Almeida’s photographic work was in many ways fueled by his childhood experiences in Brazil, his father’s home land. When he arrived there at the age of six, he was confronted by family, friends, and outsiders who derived from different racial, religious, and cultural groups. Despite initial bewilderment, he quickly felt quite comfortable. Their “differences” seemed to present few barriers. “I just remember having good feelings about people who looked different. I try to draw from those feelings of connectedness when I approach my photography and my life.
Anthony is a fine arts photographer, educator and photo-documentarian, who studied with Lisette Modell. He spent many years teaching English and photography in a high school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. His photographic work is extremely diversified, and he has been the recipient of numerous awards. His work has been shown in national and international shows, and is in private, personal and educational collections. More recently he has devoted most of his creative energy to his documentary and fine art photography. Anthony’s greatest photographic passion is “street photography,” and he considers the street to be “the greatest stage of all, wherein position, juxtaposition and sensitivity sometimes conspire to make the fleeting moment eternal”.
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