Elias Carmona is one of the most active photographers in Chicago’s Latin community. He has carved a niche in the city’s cultural and artistic circles. Carmona’s work has been exhibited at The Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, The Africaribe Cultural Center, El Barrio Fest, Galería Las Américas, The Chicago Childrens Museum and countless of publications and national festivals. Elías became well-known in Puerto Rico for his famous picture of “Los Hijos de Borinquen”, a tribute to the classic site in Old San Juan made famous by the young independentista movement of the 1970’s and 80’s. Carmona has been documenting for over 20 years.
Carmona’s optic takes us back to the act of capturing. However, this is just the beginning. Carmona not only captures images, he captures essences, “Latinidades”, latitudes, stories. From the emblematic figure of Albizu Campos and the “pitirres” at the crossing of San Sebastián and San José streets, to the Puerto Rican diaspora in Humboldt Park in Chicago, Carmona has even gone to Chiapas in search for a unique type of complicity. This is the complicity established between the observer and “The Other” in order to find the common denominator that links us to the rest of the world.
Carmona does not limit himself to looking through his lens. He also plays, challenges, sympathizes, and empathizes with everything that he captures. His eye is comfortable reviewing the unexpected dimensions of a newly discovered place, just as he is comfortable when he surprises us with what is known and familiar: a “Botánica”, a landscape, a musician. His work speaks for itself with unusual eloquence, leaving traces of a trajectory that is rich in dialogue and visual conversations with the mirror. Just like every effort that is truly artistic, Carmona’s photography reveals a world that is unknown to us at the same time that it presents us with a mirror.