Shooting Stars: Sylvia Plachy presents Pilar Belmonte

Belmonte found her personal voice as a photographer during a time of family crisis

From a series about her son's illness, 2004. Pilar Belmonte
Nightmare, by Sylvia Plachy, 1980 Sylvia Plachy
From a series about her son's illness, 2004. Pilar Belmonte

Pilar Belmonte was a student in an editing workshop I was teaching at the Maine Media Workshops last fall. She, like the other students, brought many prints in pursuit of discovering a personal voice and defining connections in her images. She brought two bodies of work. One was about her young son during his life-threatening episode with encephalitis; she said the effort to record his struggle held her fear at bay and “kept me grounded, steady, focused.” Her other images were taken later, but still infused with a surreal quality that connected easily with the others. The word “delirium” came up in our discussions and became the title of her work. -- Sylvia Plachy

Sylvia Plachy has won the Infinity and Lucie awards and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her photographs are on exhibit at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City. Pilar Belmonte, 57, is based in Asheville, North Carolina.