April 2015 / Alone, Together

Joe Aguirre, Mike Avina, Emilio Banuelos, Troy Holden, Ben Molina

These images explore the myriad ways we are isolated while in the midst of society and they also examine the sometimes tenuous and fleeting connections that occur despite our isolation.

Solitude is an abiding fact of human existence; one could even say that our self-awareness and consciousness create isolation. To be self-aware is to understand the self-in relation to the world, as separate. Connection is also a defining human characteristic; as social animals we crave and rely on connection above all other conditions.

Isolation and separation have multiple dimensions. Social boundaries and rules divide us; we can be inches from another person on a bus or train but be separated by conventions of interaction. Class, color, and creed also establish or maintain barriers.

Connection permeates our lives; despite our need for occasional respite we require interaction and intimacy more. We are now intertwined by electronic means even as we are also crowded together in busy offices, factories, and streets. Even when we are alone memories of interaction, images, and digital linkages persist.

These photographs explore the duality and contradiction of our isolation and connection.


Joe Aguirre

Joe Aguirre is a San Francisco based photographer focused on personal documentary and lyrical narrative projects. Joe lives among his subjects; he uses the street aesthetic to create candid, nude, and conceptual portraiture.  Dividing his time between art and street photography, Joe is searching for a way to communicate his work to the world in a singular presentation.

Mike Aviña

Mike Aviña is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the environmental field and technical and legal expertise in environmental justice, urban planning, and water resources. He uses photography as a tool that complements narrative descriptions of these issues. Images provoke a visceral response which reinforces technical facts and invites further questions. Aviña uses documentary photography, street photography, and psychological portraiture to examine the interconnected social and natural environment. His work has been published in regional journals, such as California Northern and juried competitions such as the Miami Street Photography Festival. He is based in Sacramento, California.

Emilio Bañuelos

Emilio Bañuelos has worked as an editorial photographer and consultant for newspapers in Mexico, Panama and the US. His documentary work earned him fellowships from the Poynter Institute, the Marty Forscher Fellowship for Humanistic Photography and an award from EnFoco Inc. Emilio has taught photography since 2002 for such organizations as The Academy of Art University, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the University of Hawaii and The San Jose Museum of Art. He specializes in storytelling photography and is concerned with using photography as visual communication.

Troy Holden

Troy Holden is a San Francisco based photographer who focuses on the physical and cultural trends in everyday life. Roaming San Francisco’s downtown streets daily with a compact camera, he shoots snapshots and candid portraits of a city that’s often overlooked.

Ben Molina

Ben Molina is a graphic designer currently based in the Bay Area. His body of work is primarily focused on candid and street photography, and has been featured in several group shows and local publications in California and Asia. In 2014, his series “Now Here, Nowhere” was among those featured in FotoIstanbul held in Turkey.