Artist Daniel Handal Discusses His Photography Project titled “Enganos”
Daniel Handal discusses his photography project “Enganos” and its challenging of traditional beauty norms. For this series, he travels to exotic bird keepers’ homes with a portable studio that resembles a pup tent and pastel backdrops carefully chosen to complement each bird’s hues.
Daniel Handal is a Honduran-American photographer who studied photography at Rutgers University. His works explore themes related to gender, sexuality and identity.
Early Life and Education
Handal was raised in Honduras with the understanding that “pajaros,” or birds, were derogatory terms for gay men. After moving to New York City to pursue his art and receive his degree from Rutgers University’s Department of Applied Sciences as well as study photography at the International Center of Photography he gained an understanding of LGBT identities that went far beyond mere perception.
His project Pajaritos captures the beauty of exotic birds using his portable studio. By visiting bird keepers around New York and setting up tent-like structures with pastel colored backdrops carefully chosen for each subject avian subject, this artist strives to highlight their magnificence.
Photographs that look similar to botanical close-ups but serve two distinct functions. One is celebrating diversity while the other defying personal definition. In similar fashion, Final Girls challenges traditional notions of femininity.
Handal’s latest series finds her seeking out exotic bird keepers and setting up a portable studio resembling a pup tent, complete with pastel-colored backdrops for each animal she encounters. Once their pets have settled and were calm enough for portraiture, Handal snapped away!
Due to their ability to soar high above the earth, birds symbolize freedom. For Handal, who was raised in a traditionally male-dominated Hispanic culture, birds serve as a powerful symbol of self-identity.
Handal’s work centers on portraiture and explores issues of gender, sexuality and identity through portraiture. His photographs have been shown internationally at exhibitions as well as published in publications like the Huffington Post, Slate and Hyperallergic. Handal currently lives and works in New York City where he received a BA in Applied Sciences from Rutgers University before studying photography at the International Center of Photography.
Achievement and Honors
Handal’s photographic project “Enganos” uses birds as symbols of freedom and authenticity, suggesting they represent how individuals can embrace their sexuality without succumbing to society’s expectations. In his words, this bird’s ability to fly high above the earth represents how an individual may remain true to themselves without restrictions placed upon them by society.
Handal’s project, Portraits of Exotic Birds, is an ongoing series. To capture them, Handal travels to New York City homes of exotic bird keepers to set up his tent-like portable studio with pastel backdrops inside. Once an exotic bird comes flying over and perches upon one, Handal waits patiently until its portrait can be taken.
Handal’s work has been featured at international exhibitions at venues including the New Mexico Museum of Art, Deborah Colton Gallery in Houston and powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. Additionally, his pieces have been highlighted in publications such as Huffington Post and Slate while he has received residencies at Millay Colony for the Arts and Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.
Daniel Handal currently resides and works in New York. His artwork explores issues of gender, sexuality and identity and has been displayed nationally at venues including the New Mexico Museum of Art, Deborah Colton Gallery in Houston, powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, Australian Center for Photography in Melbourne and MKII London. Additionally he has participated in residencies at Millay Colony for the Arts Austerlitz Constance Saltonstall Foundation of Arts at Woodstock as well as Center for Photography Woodstock.
His chromatic portraits of exotic birds serve two functions. On one level, they serve as close-up images that depict each bird’s different feather colors and beak colors; but also, on another, they serve as visual metaphors of quiet defiance of personal definition and the beauty in being true to yourself.
He is an esteemed Poet with an estimated net worth of $5 Million and stands at 6’2.
His hobbies include writing, reading, hiking and playing sports – in addition to music and photography. His talents have received widespread acclaim around the globe and can be found active on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Born July 29, 1969 in Haiti France