Richard LaBarbera


Born, raised and educated in New York; recipient of the 2004 Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, Richard LaBarbera's work has appeared in solo and group shows nationally. He graduated with his master's of fine arts degree from Columbia University in 2004. He has taught photography at Columbia University and Florida International University and currently teaches at Palm Beach State College and Miami Dade College. His work is in the collections of The Fort Lauderdale Art Museum and art collectors around the country. The themes of Mr. LaBarbera's photography are:

  • "In The Name of The Father": Portraits of Roman Catholic Priests
  • "Family Archives": A series of diptychs of Mr. LaBarbera's family using past and present photographs
  • "Extended Family": Panoramic photographs expanding a 4 year period of his sister and her partner
  • "Enschede": A city in The Netherlands where in May of 2000 a storage facility housing fireworks exploded killing 25 people in the village
  • "Lake Okeechobee": Portraits of people whom have made Lake Okeechobee, Florida their work, home and their playground while the course of time has had its impacts on the environment and the lake's water supply.
  • "Youth Hunters": While photographing the series "Lake Okeechobee" I wandered into the world of youth sporting activities which included the education of youngsters with firearms. If it were not for the willingness and understanding of these youngsters these portraits would not be possible. I therefore, would like to thank each and everyone for standing for their portrait.
Mr. LaBarbera lives in Florida where he is an adjunct professor of photography while he continues to pursue his work.



Click images to enlarge.




Untitled #5
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Untitled #3
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Untitled #2
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Untitled #1
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Color print

Untitled #10
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Memorial Day
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Untitled #7
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Artist's Statement

I started photographing Lake Okeechobee and its residents in 2008 from the perspective of our diminishing natural resources. Now, after four years of intensive photography and practically a resident myself, I have come to understand that I have also been capturing the lives of these people in the midst of a great recession, in an area already severely strained in the best of times. Their mannerisms, their body language, their dress, their occupations, and how they play all lend a sense of themselves to the camera’s lens, which captures and defines their lives, unique as the neighborhoods in which they live: Pahokee, Okeechobee, Buckhead Ridge, Moore Haven and Clewiston.

Using a 4 X 5 view camera, the sitters are aware of the camera’s presence but remain unposed and unaffected while I wait for a moment of truth, sincerity and strength that many of my subjects exhibit during tough times. The lake, resting in the middle of the state, sparsely populated and surrounded by sugar cane fields, offers a low cost of living for those trying to make ends meet on little or no income. Florida is one of the states most affected by the recession. Recovery has been slow and many people remain unemployed. I often felt transported to the depression era of Dorothea Lange while photographing the hardscrabble inhabitants.

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