Photoquai's artistic direction changes with each edition. After Jean-Loup Pivin in 2007, Anahita Ghabaian in 2009, Françoise Huguier in 2011, it is Frank Kalero, founder of Punctum Magazine, who is responsible for this mission in 2013.
With a Media Communication degree from Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona and a degree in Documental Photography from the International Center of Photography (New York), Frank has emerged as one of the most innovative and engaged people in contemporary culture creating projects and developing international platforms for discourse amongst visual arts professionals.
Kalero was a resident at Benetton's Fabrica (Italy), the founder and director of the OjodePez magazine (Spain), he co-founded Invaliden1 Galerie (Berlin), and in 2009 he also founded the art magazine The World According To…, also in Berlin. Together with Lola McDougall, Frank founded the new pan-Asian photography magazine, Punctum (India). He is directing the Ojodepez Photo Meeting Barcelona, the new must-attend-event for professionals and enthusiasts of documentary photography. Over the past three years, Frank has been the art director of the GetxoPhoto, a photography festival in Spain. In 2011. Frank was working as multimedia communication manager for 3 years at the NOVA Contemporary Culture Festival, held in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. At the present, together with Liza Faktor, Jamie Wellford and Ivan Sigal, Frank is developing an online platform for new media called Screen.
Kalero is preparing, together with Estudio Madalena (Sao Paulo), the launch of the Latin america Punctum version. This year he's also contributing with the festival Paraty em Foco, held in Paraty, Brazil.
Frank resides in Sao Paulo.
‘When I’m aware that I’m being photographed,’ Roland Barthes has written, ‘I turn myself into an image.’ For me these words conjure up the elusive, rewarding exchange that occurs when glances meet: that of somebody observed in their environment, of the photographer who catches the moment – and of the unknown outside observer who encounters them both in this way.
This is why I wanted to make people the focus of this 4th edition of Photoquai; not so much as a theme but as a guiding thread. I asked eight curators from Asia, Latin America, Australia and Africa to set about tracking down photographers still unknown in Europe. The 200-some artists they came up with resulted in a selection of 40 reportages, each an echo of our world, a reflection of human contact and moments to be shared without restriction. Each group of images conveys the same overall, personal hope, almost in the form of an appeal: ‘Look at me!’ Points of view from elsewhere: people seen and those who see them, the real world observed without resort to exoticism, prejudice or ethnic categories.
Today the boundaries between personal and public life are crumbling, just as the distances between people are dissolving. The digital images fostered and transmitted by the new media – especially the social networks – are exchanged and shared in real time, at dazzling speed. This omnipresence can often trivialise them, but at the same time they remain a narrative description of lives, contexts and environments which we can now understand more easily and which are enhancing immediate, global communication. Presented as walls of images along the Seine – just outside the Musée du Quai Branly and in its gardens – this kind of contemporary reality offers the eye a multitude of identities. It calls on the spectator – a stroller, a photography lover or just somebody curious – to stop and observe. To ‘read’ our planet through people who are letting themselves to be looked at. And maybe to come to an awareness shared with the photographer who creates an image and the person who offers his image to a complete unknown. This multifaceted vision of things has all the power of a conversation in which empathy and art are sources of mutual understanding. Saudi women masking their faces in London, Catholic religious services taking place in shopping malls in the Philippines – different, totally unrelated stories. Yet each homes in on people in their usual setting, with all their hopes, paradoxes, pain and wisdom. There are no borders here: these images are part of a human geography, as people willingly offer up their everyday privacy in a narrative that shows rather than demonstrates, states without making claims.
Photography halts the clouds in their tracks. As a metaphor of time, it provides a pause. With a single tiny detail – a scrap of paper on the ground, a stray dog – it can turn a description into a symbol. With a portrait – a silhouette even – it can reveal another world, sum up a whole society, show man as the measure of all things and the human figure as the true scale of the universe. This is the meaning of this edition of Photoquai, for everyone to absorb, interpret and share.
I’m no theoretician. I’m more like a one-man band thirsting for dialogue. To shatter the frontiers, both literally and figuratively, I spontaneously multiply my globalised, globalist uses of the image: through the documentary magazines I’ve started – Ojodepez in Madrid, The world according to in Berlin, Punctum in New Delhi – and the festivals whose artistic director I am. For me photography is a springboard for dialogue, demanding constant commitment to others with no goal except the celebration of life.
Frank Kalero, 2013