TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
Past Events

Thursday Night Photo Talk w/ Pete Brook and Sofia Valiente

Florida Woman X Documentary

April 15, 2021

Photographer Sofia Valiente has wasted no time parsing the stories of Southern Florida. Sofia Valiente’s 2015 project, Miracle Village, is a halting photo-study of a community of registered sex offenders near Pahokee, Florida. The book of the work was published by Fabrica (the creativity-hub of Benetton in Treviso, Italy) following Valiente’s year-long artist residency there. Then came the World Press Photo first place in stories. Onward, Valiente set about her second major project Foreverglades, about the past and present of Belle Glade, a small agricultural town that was once at the forefront of the development of South Florida. In the book of the same title, Valiente weaves her own pictures between the words of a mid-century regional historian. The unorthodox tome excavates the pioneer origins and the diversity of the Belle Glade workforces and residents. Currently working on the third part of a Florida Trilogy, Valiente has no time for the cheap gags and sometimes cruel cliches aimed at Floridians. There’s too much going on, too much humanity; there’s the constructed landscape, the fifth generations, the seasonal ebb and remaking of nature, the juke joints, the farming, the cane, the stories. Join Valiente, one of the United States’ most exacting and insightful photographers, in conversation with Pete Brook.

Pete Brook is a writer, curator and educator focused on prisons, photos, and power. In 2008, he founded the website Prison Photography to bring together research and writing that unpacks issues of procedure, visibility, distribution and art in imagery as it emerges from the U.S. prison system. Pete has curated multiple exhibitions, including Prison Obscura (2014-2016) and Cell Signals (2020) that brought together works outside of the documentary tradition, based in critique of or resistance to mass incarceration. Pete’s writing has been published by Aperture, The Atlantic, ICP, The Marshall Project, Time, Truthout, Wired and others. In 2018, Pete was awarded the W. Eugene Smith Fund’s Howard Chapnick Award and a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting for his work teaching history of photography in San Quentin State Prison. Pete teaches at California State University, Sacramento. 

Sofia Valiente (b. 1990) lives and works in Plantation, Florida. Valiente received a BFA in Art from Florida International University in Miami, Florida in 2012. She is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and photographer with two published books “Miracle Village” (2014) and “Foreverglades” (2019). Valiente’s work has been featured in Time, The Guardian, Vice, American Photo Magazine, and numerous other media outlets.

Selected solo exhibitions include “Miracle Village” at AIPAD Photography Show (2015), PhotoSaintGermaine, Galerie Meyer, Paris, France (2015), and “Foreverglades” at the Stub Canal Turning Basin, West Palm Beach, Florida (2019). Valiente received the World Press Photo 1st Prize Portrait Story for Miracle Village (2015), a photography residency at Fabrica, Benetton’s Communication Research Center, in Treviso, Italy (2013), Knight Arts Challenge award for Foreverglades (2017), Individual Artist Grant from the Florida Department of State/Cultural Affairs (2019), and an Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (2019).

Support for Thursday Night Photo Talks is provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Artist fees for the Thursday Night Photo Talks have been underwritten by The Lillian F. and Jerome L. Sindler Fund for Visual Media.

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