Mario Algaze (born 1947 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban-American photographer whose work celebrates the culture of Latin America. At the age of thirteen he was forced to exile Cuba in 1960 and relocated to Miami, Florida. Miami offered a rich cultural mecca and a vibrant melting pot of culture which encouraged him to travel to Central and South America where he worked as a freelance photojournalist for national and international publications. These trips allowed him a glimpse of belonging within a familiar culture.
In finding his identity after exile, he began photographing Latin America in the 1970’s while reconnecting with the feeling of home. His photographs embody the everyday of Latin life. Between his travels in the late 70’s, Algaze studied visual art at Miami Dade College. Algaze’s masterful command of light illuminates his street scenes that detail the struggles and victories of Latin culture.
Mario Algaze is the recipient of various acclaimed awards, including the Florida Artist Fellowship from the Florida Arts Council (1985), the Cintas Foundation Fellowship in Photography (1991), the Visual Arts Fellowship and the SAF Artist Fellowship sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1992, he received the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Photography.
A retrospective collection of his work is showcased in the important monograph, Mario Algaze: Portfolio
, published by Di Puglia Publisher, 2010. Additional monographs by the artist include, Mario Algaze: Portafolio Latinamericano
, Mario Algaze: Cuba 1999-2000
, and A Respect for Light: The Latin American Photographs: 1974-2008
Algaze's documentary work is highly sought after by institutions and collectors worldwide. His work can be found in permanent collections at every corner of the world including the Museum of Fine Arts
, Houston; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Santa Barbara Museum; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, DePaul University, Chicago and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Source: PDNB Gallery
Mario Algaze was born in Havana, Cuba but emigrated to the United States in 1960, settling in Miami, Florida. In 1971, at the age of 24, he began a career as a freelance photojournalist. Although Algaze left Cuba as a teenager he has frequently turned to Latin America as the subject of his photographs, traveling extensively throughout the region. In his carefully composed black and white photographs, he captures people alone or in small groups on the streets and in cafes and parks. Many of his photographs of these everyday settings are infused with a soft light and marked by shadows, giving them a serene or mysterious quality, or evoking the passage of time. The region's conflicts and political activities, frequent subjects of photojournalism, are largely absent in his imagery; instead, he lends quiet insight into the cultural diversity of Latin America and the shape of daily life in countries as far spread as Mexico, Ecuador, and Argentina.
Source: Museum of Contemporary Photography