“Estamos Aquí.” (“We are here.”) This is the aptly named photo project of the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (SCEOC), showcasing black and white photographs taken by Spanish-speaking workers in Saratoga Springs. Last Tuesday, the EOC’s Latino Community Advocacy Program presented the newest collection, providing a look at life behind the scenes through VISIÓN.
On racing’s dark day, more than 150 guests gathered in the At the Rail Pavilion of the Saratoga Race Course for the special exhibit featuring the beauty uncovered by nine talented photographers, mentored by Marcela Gaudin and Carole Moreau. The group, hailing from Mexico, Chile, Guatemala and yes, the United States, documented their everyday lives through their cameras, and the resulting images captured extraordinary moments from seemingly ordinary days. As SCEOC Executive Director Anita Paley indicated in her welcoming remarks, the exhibit jury – Emma Dodge Hanson, Tanya Tobias, Lisa Cueman and Michelle Paquette – certainly had their job cut out for them as they were charged to select the top three pieces.
Third place was presented to Reina Ceballos, a young lady dreaming of becoming a fashion designer and artist. Her photograph, a self portrait, was aptly titled “The Person in the Mirror.” Ceyla Soto, a horse walker who loves escaping to places like Yaddo whenever she can, was recognized in second place for her “Sunset in the Lake.” Best in Show went to Rony Garcia for “Open Your Hand and Release Your Worries.” Explaining his photograph, Rony stated, “The worst prison for a human being is to have a closed heart and a tightly fisted hand so one can’t receive the blessing and grace of God.”
Speaking of blessings, the evening was also a special tribute to committee member Carole Moreau, who passed away just one week earlier on July 27. Her friend and colleague, Michelle Paquette noted, “This event, and the Estamos Aquí participants, were especially close to (Carole’s) heart, and she took the greatest pride in her role leading biography workshops with the photographers. Carole would often tell me how humbled she was by their strength and determination. She recognized in their photos and in their life stories the same hopes for good and meaningful lives that we all hold equally dear. She spent many hours with the photographers, revealing their histories and personal ideals that are, in so many ways, not unlike our own. She listened in full awareness that kindness, in its simplest form, can gently change the world.”
Joining the celebration in Carole’s memory were her husband, Dr. Mark Moreau, with their daughter Maddie, and several of her fellow 2011 classmates from Leadership Saratoga, including Chris Cook, with his wife, Meghan; Kelly Armer, there with husband Chris; and Samantha Bosshart. Also attending were Linda and Michael Toohey, Cathy and Bob Allen, Angelo and Kate Calbone, Allison and David Meyers, Maryanne and Dan Moerschell, Cindy and John Munter, Natalie Sillery and Rick Partyka.