BEST SERIES- Claudia Ruiz Gustafson
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' BEST SERIES- Claudia Ruiz Gustafson
THE CALLING by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson
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Review by Curator Emma Powell:
"This series stood out to me for being both clearly connected while also expansive. These images work together as a cohesive series because there is a consistency in aesthetic style and symbolism. The soft focus and warm black and white approach suggests a fictional dream environment, rather than reality. This consistent mood and sense of ambiguity asks the viewer to read these images as parts of a larger narrative. 
This artist utilized selective focus in a unique way. Rather than softening the images making the scenes gentle, the lack of focus heightens the sense of movement and implies an urgency that might not otherwise be there. I interpret this as depicting the singular concentration that can come with dreaming. The choice of placement of the focus is also important. In these images, the figure is often located in an out of focus portion of the composition. This adds to the emotional aspects of these images, as the figure’s lack of focus suggests a lack of control or a fear of the dream world she inhabits.
Repeated themes link these images together and ask the viewer to try to unlock the story behind them. The same female figure appears in each image. While she is recognizable as a consistent protagonist, she is also somewhat anonymous. To me, this figure represents the dreamer. Through obscuring distinguishing features, she is both an individual and also a more universal character. Within these scenes the figure is very active, using subtle movements and gestures to direct the viewer’s attention and suggest a narrative to discover. Though the figure is dynamically engaged with the spaces she is inhabiting, she does not appear at ease. It is this tension that prompts the viewer to imagine what the story behind the image could be. Multiple images in this series have an abstracted man-made structure in the background that provides strong compositional lines, while adding to the anxiety in these scenes. In contrast to these grounded forms, a bird repeatedly serves as a detail the viewer is directed to pay attention to.
While the images in this sequence have similarities to each other, they are a strong series because each is also unique from the others. These images do not repeat the same compositional structures or formats, rather they build on each other and are stronger together."
Claudia Ruiz Gustafson says of her Project: Project Somewhere (En algún lugar), 
"Our dreams can act as mirrors, reflecting our emotional intelligence, showing us where we are in life and what we need to know about ourselves. Dreams fascinate me, as does Jungian psychology and the concept of individuation and the collective unconscious. This series of photographs--Somewhere--brings to life significant concepts from my dream journals, which go back many years.
Using symbolic objects and nature, I place myself in evocative scenes that lie in a realm of awareness beyond this world. My son often accompanies me, as he does in my dreams. The work validates the importance of remembering who we are and where we have come from.
I use a camera fitted with toy lenses to capture a blurred reality. This practice helps me forge deeper meaning by strengthening the links between waking and dreaming, arriving and preparing to leave, restriction and freedom.
Everyone runs.
I remain still, dazed.
Somewhere between the vast sea
and the blue sky,
In the land of dreams.
Fading away,
Filled with questions.
Mystery sinking into my skin.
Seeping, burning.
Still alone,
Still waiting."
Originally from Lima, Perú, Claudia Ruiz Gustafson is a fine art photographer based in Massachusetts. Her work is mainly autobiographical and self-reflective; each image relies on visual codes and symbolism often portraying themes of femininity, memory, dreams and personal mythology. She regards image making as a powerful medium for exploring her own inner world.
Claudia currently runs her own portrait photography business and teaches Creative Photo Portraiture and Mindful Photography in the Boston area. Her fine art work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the US and abroad at venues including the Griffin Museum of Photography, Danforth Art Museum, Sohn Fine Art Gallery and A Smith Gallery.
She holds a BA in Communications from Universidad de Lima, and a Professional Photography Certificate from Kodak Interamericana de Perú. In Lima, she worked as a freelance photographer for a cultural magazine and as a photojournalist for a regional newspaper.
Universidad de Lima, Bachelor of Communications, Lima, Perú
Kodak Interamericana de Perú, Professional Photography, Lima, Perú
Cambridge Art Association, 2019 National Prize Show, Juried by Camilo Alvarez & Steve Locke, Cambridge, MA
12th Pollux Award, Professional Fine Art Series Category, HONORABLE MENTION, Juried by Philip Brookman, Barcelona, Spain
A Smith Gallery, SHE, Juried by Joyce Tenneson, Johnson City, TX
Cambridge Art Association, University Place Gallery, Members Prize Show, Juried by Lisa Crossman, Cambridge, MA
Gallery 263, Do You Remember? Juried by Cobi Moules, Cambridge, MA
Cambridge Art Association, University Place Gallery, Art, Grief and the Land, Juried by Patricia Miranda, Cambridge, MA
Praxis Photographic Arts Center, The Portrait, Juried by Douglas Beasley, Minneapolis, MN
11th Julia Margaret Cameron Award, Fine Art Category, HONORABLE MENTION, 5th Biennial of Fine Art & Documentary Photography, Juried by Analy Werbin, Barcelona, Spain
Griffin Museum of Photography, Photography Atelier 28, Winchester, MA
Open Spirit Gallery, Of Water and Dreams: Selected Images and Poems, Framingham, MA
Davis Orton Gallery, Portfolio Showcase: Identity, Hudson, NY
Invited 3-Person Exhibit: Cambridge Art Association, University Place Gallery, Women Interpreted, Cambridge, MA
Griffin Museum of Photography, Photography Atelier 26, Winchester, MA
Griffin Museum of Photography, 23rd Juried Exhibition, Juried by Hamidah Glasgow, Winchester, MA
Brookline Arts Center, Up Rooted, National Juried Exhibition, Juried by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Brookline, MA
Providence Center for Photographic Arts, Open Call Juried Photography, Juried by Paula Tognarelli, Providence, RI
Fountain Street Fine Art, Divergent Thinking, Juried by Jane Young, Framingham, MA
Creative Photo Portraiture, Newton Community Education, Newton, MA
Contemplative Photography, Newton Community Education, Newton, MA
CROSSING CULTURES: Family, Memory and Displacement, A Photo-Based Art Exhibition at Cambridge Art Association, Kathryn Schultz Gallery. Featuring the work of Astrid Reischwitz, Vivian Poey, Nilou Moochhala and Claudia Ruiz Gustafson, Cambridge, MA
Annual Open Arts Juried Show, Amazing Things Arts Center, Framingham, MA
Artist Talk, Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA
Artist Talk, Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge MA
2019, A Smith Gallery, SHE, DIRECTOR'S HONORABLE MENTION, given by Amanda Smith and Kevin Tully
2019, Black & White Magazine, Single Image Award Winner in MINDSCAPE/SURREALISM Category
2018, 12th Pollux Award, Honorable Mention in Professional Fine Art Series Category
2018, 11th Julia Margaret Cameron Award, Honorable Mention in Fine Art Series Category
Claudia Gustafson Photography, Portrait and Event Photography, owner, Framingham, MA, 2005-present
La Tortuga Magazine, freelance photographer, Lima, Perú
Onda Newspaper, photojournalist, Lima, Perú
Bookbinding Workshop, North Bennet St. School, 2019, Boston, MA
Portfolio Review, CAA in partnership with Lesley Art+Design and the MFA Visual Arts Program, 2019, Cambridge, MA
New England Portfolio Reviews, 2018, Cambridge, MA
Instagram for Visual Artists, Molly Akin, Cambridge Art Association, 2018, Cambridge, MA
Artist Statement Writing Workshop, Christine Palamidessi, CAA, 2018, Cambridge, MA
Concept Aware, J. Sybylla Smith, Cambridge Art Association, 2018, Cambridge, MA
Atelier 28, Meg Birnbaum, Griffin Museum of Photography, 2018, Winchester, MA
FlashPoint Boston Portfolio Reviews and Portfolio Walk, 2017, Boston, MA
Atelier 26, Meg Birnbaum, Griffin Museum of Photography, 2017, Winchester, MA
Cambridge Art Association Portfolio Review, 2017, Cambridge, MA
The Art of Sensory Writing, Tracy Marks, 2017, Newton, MA
2018- Photographic Resource Center, Cambridge, MA
2018- Concord Art, Concord, MA
2014- Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, MA
2012- Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA
L.A. Photo Curator: Global Photography Awards - 'Where Photography & Philanthropy Meet' BEST SERIES- Claudia Ruiz Gustafson
FLYING LESSONS by Claudia Ruiz Gustafson
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