Artist of the Month

September 2013

Orin Langelle

Buffalo, NY

Orin Langelle is a concerned photographer, who for four decades has been documenting peoples’ resistance to war, corporate globalization, ecological destruction and human rights abuses.

 Langelle’s first photographic assignment was to cover the protests against the Vietnam War at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach.

He has worked behind rebel lines to document the struggle of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Mexico. He also co-produced the film Lacandona: The Zapatistas and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico to expose the links between the destruction of the resource-rich Lacandon rainforest and the conflict of the government and the Zapatistas.

Langelle has also documented Indigenous movements in Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Paraguay, James Bay, Quebec, Indonesia, Kenya and across the US.

He has photographed and participated in forest protection campaigns, protests, direct actions and other events at national and international forums including UN climate and other summits, World Bank meetings, the U.S. Democratic and Republican Conventions, the World Water Forum, the World Social Forum, and meetings of the G8 and G20.

Awards: In 1988 and 1989 Langelle received awards from Environmental Action Magazine for “…recognition of photographic excellence in exploring humanity’s effect on the earth and action to protect the environment.

Publications: Langelle’s photographs have appeared in numerous print and online publications from La Jornada, to USA Today, and have illustrated numerous book covers.

Exhibits: Langelle’s photography has been displayed in New York City, Buffalo, NY, Boston, Washington, DC, Madison (WI), San Francisco, Santa Cruz (CA), Eugene (OR), Vermont, Copenhagen, Denmark, Amador Hernandez, Chiapas, Mexico, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Campo Loro, Gran Chaco, Paraguay.

TAL: How and when did you start creating art?

OL : I became active in the struggle to stop the Vietnam War in 1968 following the police riot against nonviolent protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. I began teaching myself photography in addition to being an anti-war organizer and journalist, and my first assignment was documenting the protests at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach in 1972.

TAL: What media and genres do you work in?

OL : Photography, photojournalism

TAL: Who or what are your influences?

OL : Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Brisson, W. Eugene Smith and other concerned photographers influence my art. Indigenous Peoples around the world standing up against all odds to protect their communities, lands and livelihoods inspire my passion for social and ecological justice.

TAL: What was your inspiration for ": "Comandante in La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico—headquarters for the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee, General Command of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation)?” "?

OL : On January 1st, 1994, the Zapatistas, a small group of Indigenous Peoples In Chiapas, Mexico, rose up against the government of Mexico in protest of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which they called “a death sentence for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.” The defiance of the Zapatista struggle to defend their land and livelihoods in the face of extreme repression and military might was my inspiration for this photo.

TAL: Describe your creative process.

OL : I attempt to capture, what noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson describes as ‘the decisive moment.’ To me this decisive moment is the instant a visual image is recorded—when light, composition and the subject unite. As a concerned photographer, my goal is not just to document and expose the harsh reality of injustice—much of which is linked with the struggle for the land—but to inspire viewers to participate in changing the world, while helping empower those striving for justice because they know that photographs of their struggle are revealed to a larger audience.

TAL: What are you working on currently?

OL : ? I am currently reviewing and four decades of my work. I am also collaborating with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to document the effects of the Peace Bridge that spans the Niagara River and connects the Canada to the U.S. Ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, commercial traffic has increased with trucks idling on the bridge and in customs for hours on the NY side. These toxic diesel fumes are having major impacts on the health of the people in Buffalo, NY. The Latino community, which is closest to the Peace Bridge, is the first and worst impacted. I will document this community and tell the stories of the residents and their suffering due to this unjust situation, with the aim to raise awareness of the problem and help change it.

TAL: What are your near/long term goals as an artist?

OL : My near term goal is collaboration with the Clean Air Coalition of Western NY (described above). My long term goal is to putting my photographs—which document decades of the global struggle for soclal and ecological justice--in order so it can be used to counter the societal amnesia from which we collectively suffer. This is not merely a chronicling of history, but a call out to inspire new generations to participate in the making of a new history. For there has been no time when such a call has been so badly needed.

TAL: Where can people view/purchase your work?

OL :

The Comandante in La Realidad... - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

United Nations climate conference protest, Durban, South Africa 2011 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Nicaragua man listening in meeting, Bosawas Jungle, Nicaragua 1998 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

At the World Social Forum, Belem, Brazil 2009 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

G8 protest, Rostock, Germany 2007 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protest, Miami, FL 2003 - 11 x 14 inches matted and mounted 16 x 20

All Images © Orin Langelle
All Rights Reserved

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Artist of The Month Archives:

Judith Kuegler -March 2017 Helen Shulman -February 2017 John Irwin -January 2017 Krys Pettit -December 2016
Anne Scheer -November 2016 Donna McCullough -October 2016 Arturo Samaniego -September 2016 Theron Cook -August 2016
Patricia Henderson -July 2016 Niamh Butler -June 2016 Eunika Rogers -May 2016 Rebecca M. Fullerton -April 2016
Madhini Nirmal -March 2016 Sara Carli -February 2016 Scout Cuomo -January 2016 Tal Dvir -December 2015
Chris Walker -November 2015 Rebecca Finch -October 2015 Newton Scheufler -September 2015 Adam James Butcher -August 2015
Dan Pyle -July 2015 Alisa Shea -June 2015 Jean M. Fernandes -May 2015 Sharon Heyward -April 2015
Aleksandra Kann-Bogomilska -March 2015 Alan M. Richards -February 2015 Phil Hopkins -January 2015 Jaya King -December 2014
James and Lynn Lemyre -November 2014 Pamela H. Viola -October 2014 Irena Orlov -September 2014 Bob Craig -August 2014
Brett Polonsky -July 2014 E. Melinda Morrison -June 2014 David Lee McGee -May 2014 Patricia Maus -April 2014
Sorin Dumitrescu Mihaesti -March 2014 Justin Silver Horowitz -February 2014 Jovan Karlo Villalba -January 2014 Joana Bruessow -December 2013
Francisco Little -November 2013 Seitaku “TAK” Aoyama -October 2013 Orin Langelle -September 2013 Agnieszka Bernstein -August 2013
Agnes Indre -July 2013 Jamie Lee Hoffer -June 2013 Maria Xagorari -May 2013 Kevin Mann -April 2013
Karin Johannesson -March 2013 Carmen Cartiness Johnson -February 2013 Maria Kanevskaya -January 2013 Roman Arevalo -December 2012
Debra Keirce -November 2012 Derrick Breidenthal -October 2012 Marie Gardeski -September 2012 Jivan Lee -August 2012
Bianca Pratorius -July 2012 Mary Chiaramonte -June 2012 Kathleen O’Brien -May 2012 Diane Morgan -April 2012
Kristina Zallinger -March 2012 Carrie M. Becker -February 2012 Cara DeAngelis -January 2012 Chirsty J. Cairns -December 2011
Eric Nichols -November 2011 Laura Elkins -October 2011 Jenie Gao -September 2011 Jaromir Hron -August 2011
Johne Richardson -July 2011 Diane C. Ruark -June 2011 Melissa Daubert -May 2011 Toni Silber-Delerive -April 2011
Tony DiMauro -March 2011 Lynnette Shelley -February 2011 Lauren Alyssa Howard -December 2010 Jamie McHugh -October 2010
James Kieran McGonnell -September 2010 Jon Goldberg -August 2010 Jill Pope -July 2010 Elaine Coombs -June 2010
Marty Martinez -May 2010 Allan Gorman -April 2010 Katy Kuhn -March 2010 Laura Warburton -February 2010
Doug Argue -January 2010 Nancy Calef -December 2009 Kathryn J. Beale -November 2009 Lee Peterson -October 2009
John Sidman -September 2009 Bland Hoke -August 2009 Evelyn Duberry -July 2009 Roy Secord -June 2009
Donna Hayen-Lässker -May 2009 Jisoo Lee -April 2009 Carrie Zeidman -March 2009 Ailyn Hoey -February 2009
Byron O’Neal -January 2009 Glenda F. Hydler -December 2008 Jeannine Cook -November 2008 Ricky Hill -October 2008
Marion Coleman -September 2008 Pepper Pepper -August 2008 Claudia Wornum -June 2008 Carol McSweeney -May 2008
Jan Jackson -April 2008 Nathaniel Hester -March 2008 Julie Vinette -February 2008 Lynn Basa -January 2008
David J. Negrón -December 2007 Ione Citrin -November 2007 Don Harvie -October 2007 Mary Aslin -September 2007
Tracy McCabe Stewart -August 2007 Renee Decator -July 2007 Rebecca Fox -June 2007 Lauren Vioers -May 2007
Derek Jecxz -April 2007 Kathryn Jacobi -March 2007 Catherine Smith -February 2007 Niles Cruz -January 2007
Maxine Graham Price -December 2007