José is an Associate Professor of Art, who teaches photography at the university of Alabama, Huntsville. He holds a BA degree in Photography from the University of South Florida and an MFA in Photography from Hunter College, City University of New York City. Currently, he teaches class in Introduction to Photography, Experimental and Historical Photography, and Documentary Photography. He was awarded the Somerville Art Prize in 1999 in New York City and was a Grand Panelist in 2004 with the New Department of Cultural Affairs. In 1995, he was awarded the Nisod Award of Teaching Excellence by the University of Texas at Austin. In recent years, his art has been exhibited at the Motlow St. Community College (2006) – “Photography Landscapes” II and the University Art Gallery, Sewanee: University of the South, “Half-Seen II. Both were solo exhibitions.

José describes his major influences and his personal style of photography in the following paragraphs, found on the UAH website:

I consider music a large influence in my photographic style. Rhythm, time, silence and syncopation are all a part of my work. My studies in jazz improvisation in college along with the study of the documentary genre of modern photography have inspired me to continue a spontaneous style of taking photographs. Photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, Andre Kertesz, and Robert Frank contributed to my interest and appealed to my sense for the spontaneous. The results were photographs about how we all relate to our environment both physically and psychologically. This later developed into more complex compositions of the juxtapositions of shapes, objects and people. These more graphic formal photographs became about environment and space which would become part of my half-frame camera panoramas.

The half-frame camera became an instrument that could allow me to establish a scene of consecutive frames to form a panorama. This technique facilitates my interest in the spontaneous happening and attempts to address the notions of time and space. When printing multiple frames, the viewer experiences a familiar scene but after further inspection notices the single images that form the altered panoramic view. This is especially true of the “Half-Seen” series where the locations are different between groups of three or four frames. These examples are more complex for me, the photographer, because there is a certain loss of control due to the in-camera editing.

You can find examples of his work at http://josebetancourt.com/.

José will be our judge for the upcoming competition night on February 27, 2017 for the subject, “Glow in the Dark.”


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