Cristina De Middel (Spain, 1975) is a London based photographer that has been working for different newspapers in Spain and with NGO´s for almost 10 years. She combines her strictly documentary assignments with more personal projects that question the potential of photography as both a document and an illustration of reality. With projects like The Afronauts (Deutsche Börse Prize finalist and ICP´s Infinity Award), Cristina deliberately invites the audience to question the language and the veracity of photography as a document, and plays with reconstructions and symbols that blur the border between reality and fiction.
In “Sharkification”, the Spanish artist transformed the Rio slum of Rocinha in the seabed and the UPP (Pacifying Police Unit), the Rio Security Bureau project in shark-represented by a gas balloon helium controlled via remote control. “The idea is to convert the community in an underwater environment where fish predators operate and small fish hide and ‘fight’ with their strategies to stay alive”, she explains.
De Middel brought from London, where she lives, three balloons shaped shark and painted with the colours of the UPP. Thus, documented the reaction of the favela residents and asked them to, in some scenes, interpret small fish fleeing predator. A video is also being produced.
“I realized when I started visiting the favela that there were many more aspects that I could include in this game of turning Rocinha into an underwater world and the UPP as the predator. There are very interesting similarities between what happens under the sea and what happens in a favela”, says De Middel.
The artist actually went back to Brazil for three weeks to finish the series.
“My plan is to work with costume makers and with local samba schools with choreaographies, so basically the work developed so far is just a preview of what it will become”, she explains.
More information about the artist:
1995-2001: MA in Fine Arts, Universitat Politécnica de Valencia (Spain)
1999-2000: MA in Photography, University ofOklahoma. PROMOE Scholarship
2001-2002: Postgraduate Degree Photojournalism, Barcelona Autonoma University (Spain)
2006: IV War Correspondents Training. Ground forces Army war School, Madrid (Spain)
“Party”, Paris Photo Los Angeles (LA, US)“The Afronauts” La New Gallery. Pinta. The Modern & Contemporary Latin American Art Show (London, UK)”Seven Stories” Dilllon Gallery (New York. US)
The Copper House Gallery, Dublin (Ireland)
The Photographer´s Gallery. Deutsche Börse prize, London (UK)
Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles (France)
Quai21. Festival Images Vevey (Switzerland)
Tago Mago Gallery, Paris (France)
Studio Museum Harlem, New York (USA)
Dillon Gallery, New York (USA)
Paraty em Foco (Brazil)
Photo Ireland ’13, Dublin (Ireland)
Fotografía Europea. Reggio Emilia (Italy)
T.R.I.P. Mercato Traiano, Rome (Italy)
Foam Museum, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
Lagos Photo Festival, Lagos (Nigeria)
La New Gallery, Madrid (Spain)
Festival Circulations, Paris (France)
Kursala. Museum of the University of Cádiz (Spain)
Other series:“Vida y milagros de Paula P.” MUA Museum, Alicante / Caja Mediterráneo. Itinerance until 2013.
“PolySpam” Proyecto Arte Gallery, Madrid,PhotoEspaña 09 / 2009.
“The City” Obra Social Caixa Galicia. A Coruña. Itinerant.“Kulunguelé” Forum Fnac Alicante , Fnac Madrid Sur and Fnac Diagonal Barcelona.
“Imagine Science Film. Artist in Residence”
New York (USA)
“Lightside/Women in Photography Individual Project Grant” Humble Arts, 2011, New York (USA)
“Fototraballo” Nortempo Foundation, 2009.
“Alcobendas Creativity Grants” Spain, 2009.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
“Party” Best International Photobook 2014. PHE PHotoespaña (Madrid, Spain)
PULSE Miami IMPULSE Prize 2013 (Miami, FL)
Infinity Award for a Publication, ICP 2013 (New York City, US)
Finalist at “Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2013” London (UK)
2012 Winner. “Infinity Award. Best Publication”
International Center of Photography, NYC (USA)
Winner “Piclet Prize for Contemporary African
Photography” Basel (Switzerland)
Finalist at “Open call. Guatephoto 2012” Festival (Guatemala)
Finalist at “First Book Prize. Aperture/Paris Photo 2012” in Paris and NYC (France) (USA)
Winner, “Photo Folio Review” Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles (France)
Finalist “Hey Hot Shot. Jen Bekman Gallery”
New York (USA)
2nd prize ”Sony World Photography Awards” London (UK)
Finalist “ 3rd Ward Open Call” New York (USA)
Finalist “Renaissance Photography Prize”
Finalist “ Accademia Appulia” London (UK)
Finalist “PDN Photo Annual”- New York (USA)
2011 Cum Laude award, “Martin Chambi. Union Latine” Paris (France)
Lightside/Humble Arts Grant for individual Poject, New York (USA)
2010 Special Mention “Caminos de Hierro”. Ferrocar riles Españoles Foundation (Spain)
First price “Colmenar Viejo Environemental
Photography Contest “ Madrid (Spain)
Finalist “Albarracín photography and Journalism gatherings” Santa María Foundation (Spain)
Finalist “Arte Joven” Madrid Complutense Univer sity (Spain)
2009 1º Prize “Juan Cancelo National Photojournalism Price” A Coruña (Spain)
1º Prize “Barrio de las letras photography com petition” Madrid (Spain)
Honors. “Fnac de Fotografía 2009 New Talent award”
Winner of the ARCO 2009 “ Fotoreportaje “ Award
Special mention “Premios Ejército de Fotografía 2009”
Finalist “Ciudad de Gijón XIII Photojournalism International Awards”