Photographer of the Week #158: Juan Giraldo

Juan Giraldo is a photographer currently living and working in Chicago, Illinois; he received his MFA in May of 2015 from Columbia College’s photography department. He was born in Manizales, Colombia and raised in Paterson, New Jersey.

There is a distinct beauty found in the personal objects and domestic spaces created by immigrant hispanic families; iconography, ornamentality and nostalgia adorning the edges of the otherwise banal suburban working class narrative. Giraldo’s work challenges this banality, his images become observations into the vibrant experiences and poetic anecdotes of the blue collar immigrant family. Growing up and being an active participant of the decaying industrial work force of Paterson, New Jersey, Giraldo’s personal history informs the sincerity and sensibility given to his subjects.

” strong bond emerged which allowed me to photograph my subjects as I would my family…In their stories I see echoes of my past. Intimate spaces reveal the textures of a working life; a Gatorade bottle as a vase uncovers the beauty in the banality of domesticity. My portraits and still life photographs highlight objects of importance and their iconographic meaning in these settings, reflecting a reverence for my personal history and the lives of the people I photograph.”

In addition, Giraldo continuously turns the lens towards his family; in an on-going series that deconstructs his relationship with his parents. Giraldo examines the complexities of the divide found between parents and their first generation immigrant children, a divide immensely magnified by assimilations of culture, education and shifting relationships with class, labor and technology.

For more of Giraldo’s work check out his website: