Biographical Information from UM Department of Art and Art History
Click on the image below to access images and text describing Sean Black's project "Human Nature" on the website Lens/cratch: Fine Art Photography Daily.
Tree Bed, Hobe Sound, Florida 2013 ©Sean Black
Human Nature, “explores the socio-economic dilemma of homelessness. Specifically seeking out those individuals who retreat into the natural terrain, he imbues his approach with a psychological awareness of what Existentialists refer to as ‘the uncanny’. While conveying this uneasy sensation of ‘not-being-at-home’, his images offer hints of the re-creation of domesticity as well as the strangely familiar touchstones of conventional dwelling. By presenting a rich and disarming closeness to his subject matter, he gently invites his audience to reconsider a hidden population and their humble resilience.”
The Digital News Reporting blog run by students in the Journalism and Media Management Department at the University of Miami's School of Communication reports on Sean Black's graduate thesis work, “Human Nature & The Oblivion of Being,” which explores the issue of homelessness, and his exhibitions, and engagement in social activism. Excerpt: "Black describes his work as being “evocative,” he struggles to find that moment or interaction that describes the personality of the person instead of just photographing their image."(Written December 2013 by Danielle Cohen)
Sean Black's Official Website: A website created by Sean Black featuring photo galleries of a variety of his past and recent works.
What's Up Miami blog post featuring Sean Black's "Human Nature" project and exhibition information
In December 2020, I traveled to Brazil with several missions in mind. The first mission was to reconnect with old friends and colleagues in the fight against stigma related to HIV/AIDS and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ people (particularly the trans community). I have worked with condom artist Adriana Bertini who works with the NGO Barong barong.org.br for many years. I traveled with her to rural communities outside of her home base of Sáo Paolo to interview and photograph transgender individuals as well as document HIV/AIDS testing and outreach.
With Brazil's HIV/AIDS response beset by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the antiscience approach from president Jair Bolsonaro, civil society organizations are picking up the slack, even as funds from international donors dwindle. The Barong Cultural Institute, formed in 1996 in São Paulo and working across 50 municipalities nationwide, has long sought to bring a holistic and non-judgmental approach to HIV/AIDS outreach in Brazil, as part of a wider strategy to promote sexual and reproductive health education.
The second mission was to document how COVID19 has impacted Brazilian communities and their response. 3. I wanted to bring back recent work which could be useful to both Professor Steve Butterman and his work with transgender refugees and for students of the University of Miami who do scholarly research work in many areas including Human Rights law at the Otto G. Richter Library in its repository of culturally sensitive holdings.
Daniels, Joe Parkin. "Barong: Reaching out to Where Things Happen in Brazil." The Lancet HIV 7.12 (2020). Vol.7 (12), 80
"Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to visit Mexico City and this past Christmas I finally made this dream come true. Traveling on Christmas Day from Miami, a simple three-hour flight, I immediately set off on my adventure hailing an airport cab and taking a scenic, half-hour drive into one of the many breathtaking neighborhoods of one of North America’s oldest cities. Upon arrival to maximize time and to get my bearings, I purchased a pass aboard a double-decker bus with on-and-off service running frequently along the Paseo de la Reforma, a magnificent central boulevard bustling with dog-walkers and passersby in open markets amid looming skyscrapers. Mesmerized visitors and young families were heading to sights such as the Jardin Botanico, the National Zoo, Chapultepec Castle, and museums such as Museo Nacional de Antropologia and the Museo de Arte Moderno with the iconic masterpiece Las dos Fridas (The Two Fridas) by Frida Kahlo on display. The destination corridor is towered over by the gold-gilded Angel of Independence with displays of pinatas and nacimientos (nativities) this time of the year celebrating the birth of Christ and enmeshing both religious and secular cultures. This cosmopolitan district normally abuzz with heavy business traffic was at a surprisingly peaceful standstill with locals off to beach and country homes during the festive season. I was free to roam the vibrant, colorful and electric avenues taking in the sights of one of the most populous cities in the world with a remarkable 22 million inhabitants. There was so much I didn’t know about Mexico City for example; Mexico City boasts the second-highest number of museums in the world next to Paris. In fact, Mexico City was modernized in the same manner of Paris under Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann in the mid 19th Century. The opulent exterior of The Palacio de Bellas Artes exemplifies the architectural influence of the French in Art Noveau and Neoclassical styles with a train system erected shortly thereafter including Mexico City in the modernization progress of the Industrial Revolution. In short distance is the oldest forest in the Americas (Bosque Chapultepec) which is twice the size of New York City's Central Park.
One of the highlights for me was a guided tour to the the Pyramid of the Sun (not for the faint of heart) and then onto the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the preeminent Mexican national landmark dating back to the 17th Century. The Basilica honoring the matriarch embodies deep national sentiment and attracts millions of pilgrims to both its (old) Antigua Basilica (1695–1709) and its (new) circular Nueva Basilica each year. Another special highlight was a personally guided tour by my good friend and colleague Lecturer here at the University of Miami’s Art and Art History Department, Gerardo Olhovich, a brilliant painter and a native of Mexico City who guided me on a private ghost tour, treated me to epicurean delights of the artsy Coyoacan neighborhood and led me on a stroll through the upscale artist’s colony of San Angel. Mexico city is definitely one of the most romantic and vibrant cities in the world; a splendid and enchanting trip through time."
Text courtesy of Sean Black, University of Miami Department of Art and Art History