Artist's Statement

Tony Chirinos

Eliminating Immigrants is a portrait series of young immigrant men representing their individual knowledge and interest. Mixing political content with pop culture that reflects their daily intimate experience layers everyday life struggles with music and social media. With these photographs I attempt to highlight the conflict felt by the viewer’s experience of that which is inclusive and that which remains exclusive. Eliminating Immigrants, deals with young immigrant men whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas, seen in their most intimate setting. After looking at these portraits for months, I felt that the connecting thread in all of my work dealing with death and the vulnerability of life was very much missing. While examining these portraits the rhetoric in the news and comments by my students about being an immigrant in the United States has turned very negative. The process of eliminating, discarding, rejecting and or purging, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I consider myself a strait film photographer and would have never considered adding or excluding visual information from the viewer. Yet, here I stand, doing the unthinkable gesture of eliminating the essence of an individual. However, these are intricate compositions filled with detail and meaning that resonant renaissance paintings and shows cultural elements of each individual. My gesture of eliminating the essence of an individual into negative space becomes a very poignant and powerful symbolism of perception going back centuries relating to Plato’s Cave.