Philippe Velez McIntyre , is a freelance photographer and social entrepreneur. Born in Paris, he grew up in Colombia and the United States. In the beginning of the eighties he moved back to Europe, first in Madrid and then in Paris. Since the early nineties he lives and works in Amsterdam.
In his work McIntyre combines an esthetical and ethical perspective while crossing artistic, social and political disciplines. He has been especially active in fields where nature and culture meet, like ecological architecture, sustainable food and agriculture, and urban city planning. Other fields of interest are public health and social wellbeing. His approach is at the same time educational and spiritual.
Philippe McIntyre can be reached at:
All Publications, photographs, books and objects on website are available via Boekie Woekie Books by Artists, Amsterdam, except when otherwise mentioned.
All Photographs and Publications © Philippe Velez McIntyre, © Philippe McIntyre, except when otherwise mentioned.
“Le Congrès anarchiste international se déclare en faveur du droit de révolte de la part de l’individu comme de la part de la masse entière”
“Le Congrès est d’avis que les actes de révolte, surtout quand ils sont dirigés contre les représentants de l’ État et de la ploutocratie, doivent être considérés d’un point de vue psychologique. Ils sont les résultats de l’impression profonde faite sur la psychologie de l’individu par la pression terrible de notre injustice sociale.
“On pourrai dire, comme règle , que seul l’esprit le plus noble. Le plus sensible et le plus délicat est sujet à de profondes impressions se manifestant par la révolte interne et externe. Pris sous ce point de vue, les actes de révolte peuvent être
caractérisés comme les conséquences sociopsychologiques d’un système insupportable; et comme tels, ces actes, avec leurs causes et motifs, doivent
être compris, plutôt que loués ou condamnés.
“ Durant les périodes révolutionnaires, comme en Russie, l’acte de révolte, sans
considérer son caractère psychologique, sert un double but : il mine la base même
de la tyrannie et soulève l’enthousiasme des timides.(…)
“Le Congrès, en acceptant cette résolution, exprime son adhésion à l’acte individuel de révolte de même que sa solidarité avec l’insurrection collective”
Emma Goldman et Max Baginski
Congrès anarchiste international
“The times are inexpressibly evil, and yet—and yet … the times are inexhaustibly good. In this time of death, some men and women, the resisters, work hardily for social change. We think of such people in the world and the stone in our breast is dissolved.”
RG: What does culture need to thrive as an ecosystem? It’s not that you just need your apartment, it’s part of a fabric. Like, how does one person try to build that — what basics does a culture need to thrive?
JM: What’s culture? How are you defining culture?
RG: Maybe getting back to that idea of risk, who participates?
JM: Low rent allows so much to happen. It allows people to take risks. Whether that’s creative risks, professional risks, sexual risks, political risks. When you don’t have low rent, you have people who have to be obedient, because they have to make a living in order to pay that rent. So they’re not gonna dissent. And they’re not gonna deviate.
RG: Low rent equals time?
JM: It means time and it means you can fail and survive. So if you can fail and survive, you can do all kinds of things. You can publish something incendiary. And if you piss some people off and it takes away from your bottom line, so be it. Because you’ve got low rent. You can make art that upsets people. You can have a political viewpoint that you put out into the world that not everybody’s gonna like. You can risk making people not like you.
RG: So does culture just get pushed to other boroughs and squeezed from there to – wherever? You mention the South Bronx in the book, the controversy around a “Bronx is burning” party. How are artists complicit or co-opted into hyper-gentrification? Staging an urban-blight theme party is part of it. Don’t artists at this point have to be aware of when they’re basically helping to get themselves evicted?
JM: I think they do.
RG: But they need the work?
JM: The artist question is so hard. I find it intellectually and emotionally difficult. Because I want a city full of artists – I mean, I want New York to be full of artists and writers and dancers and, you know –
RG: Risk takers?
JM: Risk takers and queers and – and these people have been co-opted by larger forces as the shock troops of gentrification, right? Some are complicit, some love gentrification. They do. And others have a more conflicted relationship with it.
RG: The staging of the Bronx through art seems particularly offensive.
JM: Yeah. That seems to be ground zero where a lot of artists, mostly artists of color, are fighting the whole co-opting there.
RG: You end the book on a hopeful note. Are you hopeful?
JM: Hope is not the word I would use. I would use a word like steadfast. I haven’t given up.
RG: You haven’t given up — on what?
JM: I haven’t given up on waking people up. I think my work is about consciousness raising more than anything else. I’m a psychoanalyst. I believe that people can become conscious, but you have to help them. We all have to help – and we have to help ourselves. I’m not saying that I’m totally conscious. I have hope for increased consciousness, and with increased consciousness can come change. But I don’t think you can skip the consciousness raising part. So that’s where my optimism lives.
• Vanishing New York: How A Great City Lost Its Soul (HarperCollins, 2017)