Kallavesi ©Arno Minkkinen
This fall the Southeast Museum of Photography provides an experience that photo enthusiasts will surely applaud. The museum’s exhibition schedule overlaps both the work of internationally acclaimed photography Arno Rafael Minkkinen, and Miami’s own Carlos Betancourt. During this brief but exhilarating window visitors to the galleries will be presented with two very different channels of photography: the rigorously studied and composed approach of Minkkinen’s self-portraits, juxtaposed with the impassioned and unbound image constructs of Betancourt.
In “Mind Over Matter: The Photography of Arno Rafael Minkkinen” visitors to the museum can view photographs spanning the length of Minkkinen’s illustrious career—from his post-grad days in the late 1970’s to his most current photographs. Minkkinen, known for his truly unique form, places himself within the confines of his composition whether he is taking photographs in the frozen Finnish wilderness, or above the Grand Canyon. Along with his innate ability to frame a picture, to see and pursue a complex and pleasing composition, Minkkinnen has developed the ability to fold his body into the frame. Minkkinen bends, and stretches, and hides, and twists and somehow manages to contort himself into just the right position at just the right moment to capture that certain magic he is known for.
This is no trick, or manipulation, or post-production edit. Minkkinen, at the top of his ability, is a master composer who uses the camera machine to its full functionality. His monochrome prints are rich with texture and contrast; and by inserting his own flesh into this world devoid of color his being returns to its natural, elemental state.
In contrast to the very controlled and disciplined approach of Arno Minkkinen, the Southeast Museum of Photography presents the work of Puerto Rican native and Miami resident Carlos Betancourt. Nothing of Betancourt’s style is typical. Likewise, his photography pushes the boundaries between the pure capture of the lens and image making in post-production. What results is an experimental explosion of sensations: lush, radiant, eccentric, and uninhibited. The work is the consequence of Betancourt picking seemingly random objects imbued with vital memories and creating an unapologetically beautiful, strangely ordered, and vibrant assemblage—like memory itself.
Featured in this exhibition are selections from Carlos Betancourt’s “Re-Collections” series: ornamental and organic photographic prints, “the Cut-Out Army”: life-sized prints of his closest relations in various outfits and poses, an “atomic” sculpture, and larger than life vinyl prints.
“Mind Over Matter,” curated by Steven Benson, professor at Daytona State College, is on display at the Southeast Museum of Photography from August 29th to October 29th, with an artist talk and book signing on Friday October 6th at 5:00 PM. The work of Carlos Betancourt is on display from October 17th to December 2nd and the museum will hold a gallery walkthrough with the artist on Thursday November 2nd starting at 6:00 PM.
Minkinnen’s and Betancourt’s exhibits overlap from the 16th to the 29th of October, and it is strongly recommended viewing. The Southeast Museum of Photography is free and open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 11:00AM to 5:00 PM, and Saturday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Funding for the exhibit comes in part from Florida’s Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. -James Pearson