Luis Carle

Luis Carle moved to New York from Puerto Rico in 1984 and studied photography at Parsons.  It was particularly exciting and full of experiences in which he found many outlets for his creativity as a photographer and he eventually formed relationships with both editorial and commercial clients in both New York and Puerto Rico.  Since, he has been documenting a lot of his travels and experiences making photographs: doing portraits, landscapes, and also experimenting in the darkroom with different techniques like solarization, toners and double exposures and most recently with digital images. His photographs have captured the essence of a life well lived and have received positive reviews from The New York Times, Daily News and other art magazines; and have been covered extensively in television like PBS and radio programs.


“In the early days of my career I noticed a lot of my friends and many other artists in my LGBTQ community were in danger of dying from AIDS, including myself.  Afraid that our community and our artwork will never be seen I spent time documenting this period through photography. This was part of a great effort of protecting my friends and the people I love.”


How did you pick up a camera?

When i was young growing up… My father worked for an insurance company in Puerto Rico and he had always a Polaroid camera with Him and he would let me use it and teach me how to use it.


Have you always wanted be a photographer?

I took my first Black and White class as elective in my first year in college and I fell in love with photography. Decided it was my call…


Your series Santos In a Bag, is basically saints wrapped in plastic. What’s the idea behind it?

“Santos in a Bag” Photographs.

In this body of work I present a critical view at the traditional power relationship between believers and religious imagery.

In these photographs, the plastic bag becomes an ambiguous barrier between the believer and the Santo. Ostensibly, the plastic bag protects the Santo from the outside elements, but does it also help to contain something harmful?

The cult of the Saints is an intercessory cult. One where perceived imaginary power flows from saint to supplicant in forms of favors. In this photographs the plastic bag is a warning against this pernicious relationship.

As a Latino brought up in the tradition of Santos, I realize that Santos serve as instruments for veneration. Yet, we gladly imbue them with magical powers to help us in moments of our own powerlessness. It is a complicated relationship that gives us a false yet comforting sense of strength rather than the insight and clarity to deal with life’s issues.


Where did you get inspiration from?

I come from a place were older generations would get a custom made wood saint to pray if their mom was sick, or for other problems. I was following the struggle we have living as an artist in New York City and created my own saints overlooking at the recent problems or themes of everyday life we face today…, Themes like sexuality, religion, money, war, etc…

Also It is like been in a store/shop (the world) wrapped in plastic waiting for someone to come and pick us up to a better place!.  “Artist’s hopes”.


What is the series PR on the Moon really about?

In this ongoing body of work, I present my artistic vision by creating a fictional world of humans establishing themselves in another planet and bringing their traditions, modern culture and their customs wherever they go to create that new world.

I digitally place the subjects from other of my photographs with combining all this different images into the B&W landscapes using digital techniques.

All photographs used are recicled from my own previous photography work’s.

The coalition of the anonymous subjects and volcanic landscapes with the allure of personality, allows this body of work to engage the viewer in creating stories of an imaginary world and therefore connecting with the work, expressing different stories or a fantasy that objects play in supporting personal and cultural identity.

My photographs have been documenting human activities, exploring themes of everyday life.

Utilizing my portraits with landscapes in relation to light and form presenting social developments and human changes, always In pursuit of capturing the essence of reality.


How have your surroundings influenced your work and how has your work influenced your surroundings?

I live in Chelsea NYC, and it is a fast changing place to live… Also the world is going crazy, been apocalyptic.


What are you working on right now?

My latest Project: The faces of the Loisaida Festival 2016
Portraits from a Community in danger of extinction. Gentrification is changing our communities. It forces residents to move on. 
A reminder of the challenges facing a city struggling to make room for its current hispanic community and low income residents. 
If we truly believe in improving and redeveloping our neighborhoods, we must do so for everyone – regardless of social, racial, or economic status.
About: Since 1987 the Loisaida Festival has been celebrated the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend in the Manhattan neighborhood known as the Lower East Side, the East Village, or LoisaidaFest