FOTOFEST 2010 BIENNIAL
FotoFest Exhibitions

Craig Mammano

 
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A FEW SQUARE BLOCKS

In 2006, Craig Mammano moved to Treme, in the 7th Ward of New Orleans. The neighborhood is one of the city’s oldest, and Mammano recognized that it had become disconnected from both other parts of the city and the rest of the country. “Following the largest natural disaster in U.S. history,” he explains, “the media coverage had slowed to a point that the only images of the city being shown were of Mardi Gras, or volunteers gutting houses. Knowing there was an aftermath that I wasn’t seeing, I went to see things for myself, and began to focus on the survival and isolation I witnessed in the neighborhood.”

Mammano’s portraits employ an unapologetic rawness in style and approach that shifts notions of sexualization and exploitation from the implicit to the explicit. His subjects, women who pose both clothed and unclothed, oscillate between elegance and desperation, confronting the viewer with a brazen openness that is equally refreshing and disconcerting. Both literally and figuratively, these women bare themselves to the camera, and assume a nakedness of spirit as well as of body that is rarely achieved within the contemporary photographic portrait. Instead of cloaking the female – and in particular the female nude – in sexual performance, fantasy, lust, and desire, as so much of American media does today, Mammano’s roughly hewn pictures genuinely uncover his subjects’ individuality, presenting them as candidly as possible. Both the photographs and the women possess, to borrow from Walker Evans, a “purity and a certain severity, rigor, simplicity, directness, clarity… without artistic pretension in a self-conscious sense of the word.”


BIOGRAPHY

Artist and photographer, Craig Mammano was born in 1975 in New Jersey. He studied at Hunter College, The City University of New York and received a B.A. in art studio. Later, he worked in the archives of the Black Star Photo Agency in New York and assisting documentary photographer Joseph Rodriguez. His photographs have been featured on Tiny Vices, an online gallery and image archive; The Sunday Times, London; Hamburger Eyes Photo Magazine, issue 013; and Kaugummi magazine # 5. He has exhibited at the Association of Photographers Gallery, London; Home Space Gallery, New Orleans; and Permanent Gallery, Brighton, United Kingdom.