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Contact Kari Campano
(203) 223-0756 KariMax@aol.com
18 Arcadia Road
Old Greenwich, CT 06870
SANTA BARBARA NATIVE
CAPTURES HER DREAMS
DANIA PATRICIA MAXWELL, who grew up in Santa Barbara and is a graduate of Santa Barbara High School, recently completed her undergraduate college education and entered the workforce in pursuit of achieving her goals of traveling the world as a cultural photojournalist. Her general mission is not complex, but rather simple actually. She wants her photographs to tell a story that will enrich the observer’s knowledge and awareness of the diverse cultures of the world.
DANIA PATRICIA went to Santa Barbara City College during her freshman college year and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York this year obtaining her Bachelor of Arts Degree with a concentration in International Studies and Photography. After applying to various traditional entry level positions in her field in New York and California and receiving a few job offers, DANIA took a careful look at her goals and gave serious thought to what she really wanted. She came to the conclusion that what she really wanted was to combine her two great passions, travel and photography. “It took my first job offer to figure out that my discomfort was due to the comfort of going through life as others have lived it,” says DANIA. “It is too easy to fall into the static conception of what one is supposed to do, and when they are to do it.”
After exploring her alternatives, she searched the internet and decided to apply for a short term teaching position in China. She was accepted to Marshall University’s “Appalachians Abroad, Teach in China” program and chose to live and work in
Shanghai. Her assignment as an elementary school teacher at one of the most prestigious schools in Shanghai, Shanghai High International Division (SHSID), which lasts from
August 2006 through June 2007. There are forty-six American teachers currently employed at SHISID. The majority of the American teachers are hired by SHSID through the “Go China” program at Marshall University.
DANIA returned to Santa Barbara for the summer before departing for her journey to China. Obtaining a short term teaching position in a foreign land has presented her with the valuable opportunity to travel and pursue her ethno-photography work. As DANIA works teaching English-speaking fourth and fifth graders Monday through Friday, she currently travels every other weekend on short excursions outside Shanghai and gets six weeks of paid vacation time during her term. “My first excursion was to Suzhou, a historical city about an hour outside of Shanghai,” says DANIA. “Two weeks ago I joined a hiking group and we hiked through the beautiful terrain of China. During a break we had in October, I went with two other Americans to Xian. We saw the Terracotta Warriors, walked around Xian’s city wall, and experienced a different side of the country. Everywhere I go, there have been incredible photography opportunities”.
“Shanghai itself is an overwhelming city,” she states. “It has surrendered itself to neon lights and dizzying seven story shopping malls. Any given location is surrounded by fifty-story apartment buildings with lives are compacted into tall robot-like squares. And whoever compared Shanghai with New York was right. They both keep going all the time. At any hour you can hear construction… ‘Progress’ is twenty-four/seven commitment.” Yet DANIA has found a certain peace here despite the language barrier, the people who stare curiously at the blonde headed stranger, the thick heavy smog and the over-light and people stimulation.
Between fulfilling her obligation as a teacher and exploring the varied aspects of the city and the countryside, DANIA works on her photo essay of China, complimented with text, and submits articles about her experience to magazines, periodicals, and internet sites. Prior to coming to China, DANIA completed photo essays in Havana, Cuba, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in the United States. For a project titled “Aesthetic Beauty of Darkness”, Dania took photographs of homes in Santa Barbara at night. Three photographs were chosen to be hung in the Sarah Lawrence Art Gallery in April of 2006. In pursuit of her professional goal, she completed her first formal project titled, “Cartoneros: an Ethnographic Discovery”. She spent four weeks during a summer break documenting the achievements and difficulties encountered by the “cartoneros” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Cartoneros translates to ‘cardboard collectors’, says Dania. “They derive their name from the type of work that many unemployed adults and children have been forced to engage in to resist the devastating consequences of a deep economic crisis and be able to survive”. Her Cuban photo essay titled “A Question of Perspectives” was presented as an individual show at Alcazar, a local Santa Barbara Latin-American restaurant on Cliff Drive. The show was composed of 25 photographs from her college semester studying in Cuba and hung from July through September of 2006.
The daughter of Santa Barbara Real Estate Developer Jack Maxwell and Santa Barbara School District School Psychologist Alejandra Aranovich, DANIA PATRICIA is looking forward to the adventures ahead of her as a photojournalist and will keep beautiful Santa Barbara as her home base. At the young age of 22, Dania has seen more of the world than most people see in their lifetime. She has climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa and she has journeyed through Thailand and Vietnam with only a backpack and a camera. Other countries she has visited include Spain, Scotland, Brazil, England, Equator, Bali, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chili, Portugal, and France.
DANIA has stepped into this new phase of life with her eyes and mind wide open. As she watches a group of students playing a game of basketball from her apartment window in China, she reflects, “I think that this new generation grows a new culture. The old is nearly lost within the free-market modernity here and the new springs out from tradition. Beyond my peripheral vision, a new world is unfolding”.
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**Photos by DANIA PATRICIA are available to be published with this article. Please contact Kari Campano at (203) 223-0756. Dania Patricia Maxwell can be contact by email at DaniaPatricia@gmail.com.