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MDC Professor Tony Chirinos Wins Prestigious Camera Club of New York Award

Tony Chirinos 1

Miami, September 28, 2009 - In high school, Tony Chirinos traded drawing for photography because it provided more instant results. That change in direction defined the rest of his life, including several years as a medical photographer and founder of the Medical Photography Department at Baptist Health Systems. Today, he is an assistant professor at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Kendall Campus, with a national award to boast.

Professor Chirinos recently won first place at The Camera Club of New York’s (CCNY) 2009 National Juried Competition. The CCNY, established in 1884, is the oldest camera club in the country and among the most respected. He was among 300 photographers who submitted their work.

“In the art world you get rejected 90 percent of the time, so when you win an award it’s already exciting. When you win a national competition, it’s just icing on the cake,” said Chirinos.

His series of black and white photos depicting cockfighting and its subculture will be featured in the Club’s Juried Show Exhibition Dec. 4 – 22 in New York City.

“My project is not to promote or bash but to simply ask questions. My intention is to find my roots through this,” said Chirinos, who never uses digital photography because he prefers the old school way. 

The son of Cuban immigrants, Chirinos’ search for identity began at an early age. His father was an avid storyteller who shared many memories about his native country, including stories about fighting roosters.

Chirinos shot more than 500 rolls of film over the course of eight years in San Andres, an island territory of Colombia where cockfighting is popular. But he says the project can be universal because it’s present in many Latino cultures. 

Chirinos obtained a Master of Fine Arts from Columbia University. His work has been exhibited at The Leroy Neiman Gallery in New York; Centro Colombo Americano in Bogota, Colombia; Silver Eye for Photography, Pittsburg, Pa.; and Art Miami in South Beach, among many others. 


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