A four-story face of a Russian Angel Investor hovering in the trees in trees above the Public Garden… The portrait of a recent Cuban arrival blended with the centuries-old facade of the Old State house… Retired slugger David Ortiz lighting up the Green Monster at Fenway once again…
These surreal and arresting scenes are coming to life as part of an ambitious public art project entitled Boston#StandsWithImmigrants. Part portrait series, part public art installation, we are photographing Boston's most incredible immigrants - from David Ortiz and Yo-Yo Ma to agricultural workers, policemen, doctors and cleaners…
Then, using state-of-the-art cinema projectors, we are projecting those faces on to Boston's public spaces - trees, buildings, bridges and trains. Multiple projections have already popped up around the city, providing and unexpected and inspiring opportunities for public engagement. And we are documenting each projection so it can live on as an ever-growing body of work for gallery display.
Identify subjects – We work with partner organizations to identify candidates for the projections. Strong candidates will be legal residents and will embody one (or more) of the following:
- Compelling personal narrative - (e.g. The Abdos, a Syrian family who fled Aleppo in 2013, after living for more than two weeks in the rubble of their bombed house, surviving on bread alone.)
- Thought leader - Be making a significant contribution to the region in the field of academics, technology, entrepreneurship, medicine or life sciences. (e.g. Iranian-born geneticist Pardis Sabeti doing pioneering cancer research at the Broad Institute)
- Material contributor - Be a low-wage worker employed in immigrant-dominated industries (agriculture, construction, manufacturing etc.)
Photograph subjects – We then shoot portraits of each immigrant on-location at a place convenient for the subject. The subjects will be evenly lit and photographed on a black background. A sitting will take approximately one hour of the subject’s time. The goal of the portrait session is to make a compelling picture that portrays each person in a personal, dignified and humanizing way. An interview will also be recorded.
Project the images and document – Projection locations are chosen for the the most relevant and compelling sites for display. During the dusk to dawn hours we will project the immigrant portraits onto buildings, trees, bridges, barns, trains, etc. using a high-tech Christie Roadster 14K projector. We will then photograph the projections in their environment to produce an abstracted view of Boston’s urban landscape blended with the faces of immigrants.