Portrait of the artist by Rick Herron

Ruben Natal-San Miguel –American, (Born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico) is an architect, photographer, curator, writer, art collector and consultant specializing primarily in the art of fine emerging photography.

Sweet 6teen is a 16-year celebration of people, life and places through the lens of Ruben Natal-San Miguel. Ruben shoots everyday life and turns to the streets to capture his portraits, photographing people being themselves in their environments. As a long-time Harlem resident, Ruben often focuses on Harlem and NYC in his work. 

Not Just Another Vanilla Portrait 2016
Harlem, NYC

Arcade Project:               Happy Sweet 6teen! Where were you sixteen years ago?

Ruben Natal-San Miguel:       16 years ago, I relocated to Harlem after surviving the September 11 attacks.

AP:                   Why did you choose to settle in Harlem?

RN-SM:           I was looking for a low-rise area to live in.  After moving to Harlem, I started photographing because I wanted to capture the street life scene.  I felt the urgency to capture the neighborhood was disappearing before my eyes.

Jailene (Coffee Shop)
Lower East Side, NYC.

AP:              How has the neighborhood changed over time?

RN-SM:      The neighborhood is being gentrified and the rents are high. A lot of the landmarks are being destroyed, just like other undeveloped parts of the city

AP:               How did your location influence your work?

RN-SM:       I was confronted with a street life that I never witnessed before that I saw in pictures from artists like Helen Levitt, Bruce Davidson and Roy DeCarava.

AP:               How did you come to work with Loni Efron?

RN-SM:       I attended events at www.ilonartgallery.comand we became friends.  Recently we did a portfolio review together for the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), New York Chapter, and I was scrolling through my Instagram (#rubennatal.sanmiguel) and Loni saw my pictures.  She came to my studio, and Boom! And here we are.

Manhattan, NYC.

During the show, on April 7, I will be doing a photo session where I will take outside urban portraits and you will receive a signed print. (signup also on www.ilonartgallery.com/photosession) and on April 15 I will take you on a class through the streets of Harlem. Must bring your camera. Signup on www.ilonartgallery.com/photoexperience. Space is limited.

Also, I want to mention that Loni Efron and I are collaborating on a juried entry photo competition opening June 2018.  Photo entries will be due by mid-May.  Visit www.ilonartgallery.com for more updates.

ilon Art Gallery
204 Wet 123rd Street, Harlem
Opening Celebration Friday March 16, from 6-9pm
RSVP loni@ilon.com

Please contact Loni Efron at loni@ilon.com to schedule an appointment for the gallery or private tours with the artist.