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Institute of the Americas
10111 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA, 92037
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Traveling regularly throughout the Americas, Professor Feinberg stops to chronicle the people and cultures of the early 21st century. Subjects extend from intimate street scenes to history in the making, notably the unique series on the Summits of the Americas. Images of national leaders—Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia—freeze the telling gesture. Barack Obama, Raul Castro and the singer-philanthropist Shakira earn cameos.
Feinberg ranges widely. His lens captures the stark contrasts between the ultra-modern and the decaying colonial, between individuals existing in a crowded social milieu and in stark isolation. Workers are portrayed hand-rolling classic cigars, processing sugar cane and bananas, selling tropical fish, and assembling electronics—consciously documenting their inherent human dignity. Other photographs celebrate the great locks of the Panama Canal, the proud civic culture of Costa Rica, and the urbane sophistication of Buenos Aires.
Unpretentious yet poetic, select photographs posit the beauty of elemental forms, from the plaza of Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations to desert formations in the Valle de Guadalupe to ordinary street manholes. Aesthetic truths are also uncovered in national culinary dishes. The revealed majesties rise from the unifying waters of the Amazon Basin to the steep alabaster stairs of historic University of Guanajuato, Mexico.
Cuba is of special interest. Two photographs taken during the recent XIII Havana Arts Biennale contrast playful public sculpture with a darker painting of millennial anxiety. An unfinished nuclear power plant and a gray, overbearing Russian Embassy suggest a rapidly fading period in the island’s convulsive history. Two female entrepreneurs—managers of a gelato parlor and an outdoor cafeteria – point to a more hopeful future.
Feinberg’s visual narrative combines empathy and rationality to convey an optimistic humanism: An undaunted Americas endowed with courage, resilience, and indominable human energy.
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