Daniel Ballesteros – Photographer


Fig.067, 10″x8″, Ambrotype, 2014

This episode was originally going to be a blog post about Daniel Ballesteros, following a presentation he made here at UCONN last October. His body of work and the technical requirements of his photographic process, wet plate colloidal were evocative and and engaging, but what struck me most powerfully is that he was using his art as a means of searching for meaning. His work is directed by the needs of personal discovery, a means of facing his fears. Fear of the unknown, fear of moving outside his creative comfort zone, fear of change.

St. Louis No. 135 (Shopping Center on S. Kingshighway at Nottingham Ave.), 8 "x10", Ambrotype, 2014
St. Louis No. 135 (Shopping Center on S. Kingshighway at Nottingham Ave.), 8 “x10”, Ambrotype, 2014

He wasn’t working on commission for this “project”, there was no plan in the beginning and the goal was uncertain, but each step appeared organically one after the other.

St. Louis No. 033 (Melvin Theater on Chippewa Street), 8 “x10”, Ambrotype, 2014, courtesy of Daniel Ballesteros

He began his presentation covering  a series of projects which he that pursued following graduate school but I found the story of his most recent project the most captivating.

Pathway off the Nasugbu Hwy., Philippines, 16"x16", Ambrotypes, 2012
Pathway off the Nasugbu Hwy., Philippines, 16″x16″, Ambrotypes, 2012

Daniel is a third generation Filipino American, who has lived most of his life in Saint Louis Missouri. His work over the past few years has focused on his search for cultural roots in Filipino communities in the U.S. as well as the Philippines.  His search developed out of his own ignorance of his family’s history, the silence of his parents and relatives, and a desire to both represent and capture memory.

My initial blog post sat in limbo for a few months until I realized  ilsaI needed to talk with him to learn how he balances his work as an artist and the work that pays the bills.

And I wasn’t disappointed. During this conversation you’ll hear Daniel speak candidly and insightfully about his creative vision how he makes all of his life a part of his photography.

:: Music by Ringo Starr – Photograph


If you’re curious, here is a video demonstrating the wet plate process.

Also, as mentioned in the episode, here’s the NCECA video presentation about professional ways of packing art for shipment:


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