The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.

Today’s featured artist:  Agnes Lopez

Artist Statement

Agnes Lopez –

With each portrait in The Faces to Remember Project I want to record my subject’s story indelibly. So far I have met and photographed Holocaust survivors, the first African-American schoolteacher at a historically all-white school in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, and Filipino veterans of World War II, who shed blood for the United States and then had to fight another 75 years to even be recognized for their service and sacrifices.

My process for creating these portraits centers on eliminating ornamentation. I want to take a simple photograph and yet have a strong impact on a viewer through my subject’s expression. This challenges me to connect with my subjects on a personal level.

It started with the portrait of a client’s grandmother, Ella Rogozinski, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust in Budapest, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the death march to Bergen-Belsen. I expanded the scope of the project to include veterans in South Carolina, and eventually traveled across the country to San Francisco to a gathering of Filipino World War II veterans.

As a commonwealth of the United States before and during the war, Filipinos were legally American nationals, and the 260,000 Filipinos who fought for the U.S. were promised all the benefits afforded to those serving in the armed forces of the United States. In 1946, Congress voted to pass the Rescission Act, stripping Filipino soldiers of the veteran benefits they were promised. It was only in 2009 that the U.S. authorized the release of a small, one-time lump-sum payment to eligible World War II Filipino veterans. In 2016, the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act was signed into law to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino veterans of World War II, in recognition of their service.

My hope is that the people I photograph will see their participation in this project as an opportunity to receive a definitive portrait of themselves in the twilight of their life, so it can be an heirloom for their families, and that viewers of the portraits will be inspired to learn more about the events in history that each person endured.

Ella Rogozinski, 91
Holocaust survivor, Auschwitz

Patricio Ganio, 97
World War II veteran and Bataan Death March survivor

Bevelyn Demps, 103
First African-American teacher at Justina Road Elementary School, Jacksonville

Ponciano Mauricio, 100
World War II veteran and Bataan Death March survivor

Morris Bendit, 77
Holocaust survivor and Israeli Navy veteran

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.


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