Like Stains of Red Dirt brings together a series of moments that recognize an experience of a particular place. Made after living in Johannesburg, South Africa, for more than 10 years, Juan Orrantia’s gaze points inward. Combining spontaneous, intuitive and constructed scenes the book moves through moments, gestures and objects in his home and immediate surroundings. His use of color and shadows create a language rooted in subjective, everyday experience and imagination.
In a country marked in so many ways by color, the photographs invite us to think of the surface as both seductive and as an illusion. They suggest emotions and anxieties as much as the presence of historical, political and representational undercurrents that traverse the context in which the photographs are made.
Juan Orrantia makes photographic works that involve subjective approaches to thinking about perception, history, and the representational function of the image. For this he explores different modes of interacting with color, interventions and the photobook. He has been awarded a Smithsonian Artist Fellowship, the Tierney Fellowship in Photography, and exhibited at venues such as the Centro de la Imagen-Mexico City, Lisbon Photobook Fair, Rencontres de Bamako, Khoj-New Delhi, New York Photo Festival among others. He holds an MFA in Photography from Hartford Art School’s International limited residency program and a doctorate in visual anthropology. Juan was born and raised in Colombia and is based in South Africa. The maquette for Like Stains of Red Dirt was awarded the 2019 Fiebre Dummy Award.