OD Photo Prize 2022 | Shortlisted Artist
Austin Quintana is an American photographer (b. 1998) based in New York, New York. His work is primarily in the post-documentary style, although he also enjoys making photographs and films with experimental analog techniques. He is inspired by the vestige of the American West, conflicts of the natural world, sequestered land, and memory. He graduated from Emerson College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in visual media art. He currently works in downtown Manhattan as an assistant to the artist Ryan McGinley.
“Where the Valley Sings combines landscapes and portraits in a series of photographs that explores the lives of my relatives residing in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. The valley my family calls home is named Cañon de Cantor— which translates to the singer’s canyon. It is here where my ancestors settled, raised their families, and tended to their crops. They were known for singing their prayers, and the valley would carry their songs. The children grew old, and generations passed into the next. I was not raised here, but my grandfather was nearby, and he tells me stories of his childhood— exploring the mountains alone, fishing, and dreaming of making this valley his home one day. Decades later, he and my grandmother were able to move onto this land, and now, in his mid 80’s, he continues to plod away every day, working to preserve it. This project is a meditation on the idea of the American dream or the vestiges of it, and the broader conflict between humans and the natural world when we don’t take care of it. The effects of drought and wildfires are ever-present and ravaging the vitality of this area. The land is not fruitful, and tenure through generations is dying. With this body of work, I have strived to create a document of life in the mountains and a deeper personal connection with the land’s current ecosystems adapting to changes and trying to survive.” – Austin Quintana, 2022
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