Caleb Stein

United Kingdom

Born in London and based in New York, Caleb Stein found his photographic voice in Poughkeepsie, while studying at Vassar College and working as studio assistant for street photographer Bruce Gilden. Five years spent in this small town in upstate New York resulted in a documentary series, “Down by the Hudson,” an intense yet affectionate black-and-white ode to its people. While exploring the clash between traditional perceptions of small-town America and its lived realities, the series also breaks down masculine archetypes, replacing them with tenderness and vulnerability. This sense of the poetic carried through to his next project, “Long Time No See,” produced together with his partner, video artist Andrea Orejarena, during their two years living in Hanoi. Made with veterans of the Vietnam-America War and their descendants, it explores the memory and legacy of the conflict, while breaking down divides between “subject” and “author.” Along with interest from the press and prize juries, Caleb’s work has been displayed in Milan, New York, Ho Chi Minh City, and Los Angeles, but 2020 saw him stuck in London during lockdown—a bleak series depicting its empty squares and shops emerged as a by-product.

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If a photo sort of hammers you over the head it’s not doing very much, is it? I prefer uncertainty and mystery.