Subterranean Portraits (series in progress)

The landscape of the human face has been my most important interest throughout my image making career. It is the linking point to all my works.

The escalator based videos and prints were the essential works where I did away with any contextualizing space for faces.

My first videos of people on escalators were shot as part of the video AS IS in the early 1980s. I continued shooting escalators into the mid 1990s and then began capturing still frames from them which I reprocessed digitally and printed as large scale Giclee prints under the title “ Mistaken Identities”.

Since 2011 I have been taking 180 degree panoramic photographs in the NYC subways. 

In 2012 I begun to take these images, reprocess them and make large scale prints. Working on such a large size means that it can take me up to a month or more to completely reprocess the image.

I have also been taking conventional ratio photographs of singles and small groups of people on the train.

As I felt more comfortable taking photographs in the trains I began to make videos of some of the same people I was photographing.

Since the Summer of 2012 I have been making large prints on vinyl adhesive and posting them on subway stations and trains. Some last one or two days before being taken down. One very large piece was up for over 5 months at the Dekalb Station Overpass in Brooklyn.

“Velez's portraits can be read as sociological studies,  he leaves out no segment of society.   But,  once printed at full scale,  they are haunting studies for the new millenium,  where citizens,  disgruntled and otherwise,  forget their public personae and pretend to have privacy in a very public space.” Barbara Pollack