Artist Statements

In support of the Russian-American exchange, San José State University photography graduate students acted as guides, taking Denis and Sofia to a plethora of places to photograph in San José and around the Bay. These sites were chosen with consideration for characteristics that Yekaterinburg and San José have in common and history shared between cultures. The graduate students photographed alongside the Russian team. Their photographs provide regional interpretation of San José. This interpretation rises from each photographer's unique vision and insight. This exhibit showcases the images made by the graduate photographers as part of the cultural exchange and is shown in conjunction with 7 Days—Sister Cities—Artist Exchange on display in the City Windows Gallery.

Ara Ahadi

Another Preview

All the Words I Don't Say

“Windows are my concern. I shoot them all the time either from the outside or inside. So I took advantage of this Russian-American exchange to photograph them. Windows always have symbolic meanings in cinema, literature and poetry. Itʼs amazing for me how each window has its own personality.”

Barbara Boissevain

Hanger One Night No. I

Robin's Salute

“I have been photographing Hanger One at the Moffet Field Navel Air Base in Mountain View, CA. This hanger was used to house dirigibles during the beginning of the 20th century and is a significant icon from the Bay Area's history that is about to be completely transformed. Photographing this hanger is a part of an ongoing project where I am documenting Federally  designated Superfund sites (toxic waste sites) here in the Bay Area.”

Elena Polanco

Mare Island 1

Mare Island 2

“I enjoyed the colors, the yellow against the blue, and the patterns within the images, in the image of the dock. Conversely, I like the dull colors in the second image. I loved the light that Mare Island had during the early evening.”

Eric Baral
Untitled cell phone photo

Untitled cell phone photo

“I use a LG Envy 2 mega pixel camera phone. I have chosen to use this camera because of its inconspicuous nature. I am able to get close to situations and take photos of people without them being aware their likeness is being captured, where as an SLR would alarm the subject and the moment would be lost.”

Jeffrey Opp

Reflected Office Building

Saint Josephʼs Basilica

“I found myself drawn to scenes of San José's architecture reflected on the surfaces of other buildings. These images represent what exists in a way that differs from reality. They show how illusions can be justa few steps away from fact.”

Julia Weber

Shopping Bliss

Being an Ant at Moffet Field

“During a quick lunch stop at Costco, we had more than just pizza. Our Russian guests got a glimpse at this American shopping experience and we spontaneously bought two TVs that are now part of the exhibition downstairs. Being an ʻantʼ at Moffet Field shows that Hanger One is a recognizable Bay Area landmark from any perspective.”

Sieglinde Van Damme

San José Mercury News

SJC-Airport Phone

“Both photographs were taken at the San José airport. Though this airport claims to be the gateway to Silicon Valley, I was intrigued to find an old phone in the main lobby, as well as some old-fashioned newspaper bins. Somehow these items felt out of place in comparison to the high-tech world outside the terminal doors. I chose to convey that feeling by using a Holga lens on my DSLR camera. This plastic lens addsan extra layer of ambiguity to an otherwise straight photograph. The imagery feels more cinematic and suggests a less realistic context. The Holga allows me to 'document' a new reality for a subject matter that is typically already classified in the viewer's mind and most often easily recognizable.”

Tamara Danoyan

Traffic Light, San José

Bus Stop, San Francisco

“I was drawn to the darkness created by an overpass of a freeway in an otherwise sunlit city. The gray and lifelessness of the concrete were activated by the red of a traffic light and a piece of blue sky, which found its way into the image through the cracks of the cement walls. I walked by this bus stop and the image got so powerfully imprinted in my mind that I returned a couple of minutes later to capture it on camera. It must have been the diffusion of light and color by the frosted glass wall and the yellow plastic above, as well as the serendipity of colors in the environment, which came together at that particular moment to make the image.”