Providence street and architecture photography exhibition at 100 Westminster
Head to 100 Westminster St to experience Providence streets and architecture through the unique and breathtaking lens of photographer Rafael Medina. Thank you to Paolino Properties for supporting the exhibition.
Artist Statement from Rafael Medina:
My work is a culmination of the endless hours I put into exploring my hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. Growing up in the city, I never had pride in where I was from and I always kept a foolish dream of getting out and finding success elsewhere. As I grew older I got to know Providence in a more intimate way and began to fall in love with it. So many people were contributing to this creative culture and I was hoping to find my way of doing the same and street photography gave me that avenue.
Since 2016 I’ve been wandering the streets of Providence hoping to capture those unique perspectives and fleeting moments within our city. I’ve always wanted to document more than just the skyline or popular buildings and it took years of practice to find my voice. My long walks have given me the pleasure of not just getting to know the area better but also connecting with so many individuals along the way. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the opportunities it has provided me and I’m looking forward to documenting the area for years to come.
Coming Home, 2022 (State House Photo) – The beauty of practicing street photography is that you can take a good shot at any moment, regardless of whether you’re in the streets or not. Capturing genuine moments in your day to day is always the goal and this time it was no different. I was shooting a sweet 16 party and we were all on a bus getting downtown and one of the younger kids was sitting across from me all alone. As soon as we turned the corner he got up to walk to the front and I quickly saw the photo unfold. I took two quick shots before the moment passed and luckily captured exactly what I wanted.
Reflection Eternal, 2022 – I noticed this reflection while walking down Benefit Street and loved how clear everything looked. I was hoping to catch someone walking in the frame, but that area is usually so empty and no one was in sight. I stayed close by for about 10-15 minutes and right when I was about to leave I noticed someone walking my way from afar, so I waited for him to walk through the shot. Patience is key, especially when shooting in a quiet city like Providence.
Winter Days, 2022 – After neglecting shooting in the winter all month long, I finally decided to be proactive and hit the city on a snowy day. I stayed downtown for hours and captured some of my favorite shots of that year, including this one. I walk by this area all the time, but had never seen a reflection line up so perfectly.
KP Stories, 2021 (Superman building) – I was walking through Kennedy Plaza when I noticed the light hitting the Superman building, so I took a quick shot without thinking much of it. It wasn’t until I uploaded the image to my computer and noticed the RIPTA bus creeping out of the shadows that made me really happy with the moment. Sometimes when you’re out there consistently day after day, luck ends up being on your side from time to time.
Mr & Mrs Smith, 2020 (100 Westminster) – This was a quiet night where the city felt extremely empty. I’d been walking around for quite some time with no luck until I stumbled across this moment. I’ve always loved how this building looks, but never had success with getting something worthwhile. As soon as I noticed these two people walking out from afar, I lined up the shot hoping they would stay in place as they came out of the building. Fortunately, they did and I was able to end my night with something good.
Serenity, 2022 (Point Street Bridge) – I woke up this morning with intentions of going to the gym, but after seeing how beautiful the fog looked I headed straight to the city to see what I could capture. The lack of wind made the reflections look like a painting and the mist added so much to the scenery. It was early in the morning, so there was barely anyone around. I took a few shots of the bridge and stayed there just enjoying the moment to myself.
Providence Station, 2020 – This area is always a hit or miss for me. It has a lot of character, but it’s either really empty or a bit of a mess. On this day, everything seemed to line up perfectly. The sun was hitting the scene just right and the guy walked right into my shot as I was analyzing the scene. It’s still my favorite photo I’ve ever taken near the train station and it’s been 3 years since I took this.
The Beatrice, 2023 – This image was commissioned by 100 Westminster Properties as a signature work for the exhibition. Shot by Medina in early August, the image showcases the hotel’s significant Neo-Colonial, Victorian and Queen-Anne style architecture in the quiet early morning hours of the day. Medina captured a single passerby mid-stride, perfectly intersecting the gentle bend in the road at the intersection of Westminster Street and Post Office Court. The photograph’s technical prowess is heightened by its large-format display with the bespoke image appearing in a significant 4’ x 5’ scale.
About the photographer:
Rafael Medina is a Dominican-American street photographer from Providence, Rhode Island. His work seeks to see past skylines and popular buildings and explore the crevices of the city, finding those brief moments and overlooked spaces that serve as a narrative. In December 2021, he released Dear PVD, his self-published photo book love letter to his hometown. Rafael’s work has been featured at the Water Fire Art Center, PVD Monthly, TF Green Airport, Providence Art Club and various local shops and galleries around the city.
Rafael is also a well-known portrait, event, and concert photographer. Since 2018, he has been a fixture in Rhode Island’s Hip Hop concert scene, shooting local, regional, and national acts at The Strand and other venues. He has also contributed work regularly to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Rhode Island and The Avenue Concept.