I am interested in the relationship between natural and constructed environments, how each helps define the other. In these juxtapositions I see a microcosm of all relationships, including the dichotomy of my ethnic (Filipino-American) and cultural (Midwest US) histories and how each has informed my identity. In addition to this view of contrasts, my work looks at how the relationships between the past and present help shape identity. Is it only the past that gives meaning to the present or can the present redefine the past?
Having witnessed my grandfather’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease during his last years (very significant in my development), I saw the fragile and temporal nature of memory. His loss of memory, his loss of history, contributed to my headfirst plunge into photography so that I could capture and preserve daily moments. Photography quickly became a significant part of my identity. It is now how I understand my relationship with my immediate surroundings as well as my role in the community.
In each object and scene I photograph, I see its history and my history collaborating. It is as if my life and its life exist to find meaning together. Each of these moments lead to the next and I will continue on this path, following the breadcrumbs of time and memory, learning more about who I am with each step. I never know where my projects will take me, and this uncertainty is part of the unique gift of art. Photography is my tool for exploration, discovery and (ultimately) growth.
Born in Springfield, Illinois in 1980, Daniel Ballesteros is the son of a telecommunications installation technician and an office manager of a female health clinic in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a third-generation Filipino-American who grew up on a steady diet of sports and the Catholic Church. With the encouragement of his life-long friend, Kurtis Kyle Hall, he began making photographs in undergraduate school at Webster University in St. Louis. Since then he has received his MFA from the University of Connecticut, and has exhibited his work in Santa Fe, Chicago, New York, and others. He is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2012 he was included in the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward: Emerging Photographers Catalogue and En Foco’s New Works #16 Photography Fellowship Awards.