Artist Statement: The Gulf
This work explores the entire length of the U.S. Gulf Coast and the way its varied history, economics, environment and culture intertwine to reveal a simultaneous reverence and abuse of its natural resources.
As I photographed along the southern edge of the Gulf Coast states most affected by the BP oil spill of 2010, I saw the contradictions in the economic, environmental and social landscape of the area as it coped with the negative impact of events created by an industry on which it depends. At the height of the disaster, I photographed the region that the U.S. government declared a “No Fishing Zone,” closing thousands of square miles of open ocean as well as coastlines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and my home state of Florida.
I returned to the area in 2014, this time slowly covering the entire US Gulf Coast crossing more than 5000 miles. The latest photographs further explore the nuances of the region and also include the ubiquitous use of land, animals and natural resources as they pertain to industry and recreation. The traditions, attitudes and livelihoods that are passed down through multiple generations are wound tightly into the fabric of the place and are often visible within the landscape.
Camilo Ramirez was born in Santa Monica, California and raised in Bogota, Colombia as well as various cities throughout California, Texas and in Miami, Florida. He holds a B.F.A. in Photography from Florida International University and an M.F.A. in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is currently on view at the New Hampshire Institute of Art and in a solo exhibition at the Bromfield Gallery with upcoming solo exhibitions this year at Roxbury Community College, ArtsWorcester and the Vermont Center for Photography.
He was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Grant in 2009 and an Emerson Faculty Advancement Fund Grant in 2014. This year he was awarded an Emerson Consumer Awareness Project Grant, a ArtWorcester Biennial Juror’s Prize, a Review Santa Fe 100 invitation, a Lensculture 50 Emerging Talent Award, and is the winner of the BOAAT Press Photography Competition. His work has been featured on CNN, The Boston Globe, Aint-Bad Magazine and in an upcoming limited edition monograph to be published by BOAAT Press in 2016. Camilo currently lives and works in Boston, MA where he serves as SPE Northeast Regional Vice-Chair and Assistant Professor of Photography at Emerson College.