This Is How Mujeres Do It

LOS ANGELES —  The Beta Main’s current resident artist, Star Montana, moderated a wonderful Saturday afternoon panel discussion. “How We Do It” brought together women creatives Valerie BowerArlene Mejorado, and Desilu Munoz who all share a love for zines, and the need to document their lives through the still image.

The parallels you see in their work all gravitate to hometown pride, families, and friends. These subjects dominate the forefront of their works, giving visibility to those not often represented, sans exploitation.

It was empowering to see mujeres like myself, and I’d like to thank Star Montana, and the Main Museum for bringing together a panel that was well deserved, greatly needed, and entirely appreciated.


Images by yours truly:

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-15

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-29

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-11

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-10

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-28

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-13

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-7

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-25

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-6

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-9

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-19

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-12

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-14

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-22

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-3

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-20

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-17

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-24

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-30

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-21

Beta Main - This is How We Do It - Star Montana - 7.22.17-16

I Dream of Los Angeles, is the body of work by photographer Star Montana, which is currently on view at the Main Museum now until September 24, 2017.

Main Museum and Star Montana presents How We Do It

19264602_1355764557841112_5307208260415314021_o

On Saturday, July 22nd join photographer and artist, Star Montana, at the Main Museum as she brings together a group of women of color photographers to discuss their use of photography, zines, and social media to make visible to the world the places and people in their experiences.

Participating photographers are:
Valerie J. Bower
Arlene Mejorado
Desilu Muñoz

Don’t miss out! Admission is free but RSVP here in advance.


The Main Museum is located on 114 W 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Zero Hour by Amy Li

00:00 (Zero Hour) is a series of dreamscapes filled with the hidden truths concerning death and memory in our everyday, ranging from portraiture, landscapes and objects. Photographer and artist Amy Li began working on the series in late 2014, but it wasn’t until the Flint water crisis took hold that same year, where cost-cutting measures led to tainted and toxic drinking water, truly got the project going.

“I was thinking about rising political and social turmoil that was happening in the US,” Li recalls. “Race relations were tense and the discussions surrounding water were starting to take place. The water crisis in Flint was the initial inspiration of the project because it had involved two subject matters that were extremely important to me: racism and environmental concerns. It had never occurred to me that those two separate discussions could happen simultaneously.”

The series begins with an open Nike shoe box (a size 6 of Air Force 1’s to be exact) filled with overlapping childhood 5x7s. “For most people, their first introduction to photography is the family photo,” says Li. The cardboard box takes on the role of the family album, encasing each stored memory as a nonlinear daydream. These snapshots play on the photographer’s love for the vernacular image.

I really love vernacular photography for its mystery and intimacy. I always strive for those characteristics within my personal work.

AmyLi_000085

AmyLi_004279

AmyLi_000100

Suspended in Amy’s world, we catch ourselves taking in the contrasting warm and cold lights of these nameless places and nameless faces. “I think the way the internet presents photography is very similar to looking through photographs in a bin, box or album.”

In the digital realm, where time and space is disintegrated, flattened and illuminated by a bright screen; images are forced to sit at a stand still — a purgatorial dimension where they drift aimlessly. The bright light blinds us all but we still gaze longingly.

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 6.06.27 PM

AmyLi_000084

AmyLi_007761

Amy Li is an American photographer living and working in New York.
To see Zero Hour in its entirety, have a look at Amy’s website below.
Website | Instagram

 

In Remembrance: Khadija Saye, young photographer loses life in London’s Grenfell Fire

Peitaw-x-Khadija-Saye-2MB

LONDON — The world sinks heavily after learning about the rising death toll (at least 79 are dead, missing, or presumed dead) from the Grenfell Tower fire that took place early morning on June 14. As we mourn the loss of many, one of the confirmed victims was young artist, Khadija Saye, 24 who lived and worked on her photography from the 20th floor with her Gambian mother, Mary Mendy (who is also missing, and presumed dead).

The art world only saw a glimpse of what talent Khadija Saye displayed through her photography. Her wet plate collodion tintype series, Dwelling: in this space we breathe is currently exhibited at the Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale. Saye described her series as an exploration of “the migration of traditional Gambian spiritual practices and the deep rooted urge to find solace within a higher power.”

Nak-Bejjen-x-Cow-Horn-x-Khadija-Saye-2MB
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
Tééré-x-Amulet-x-Khadija-Saye-2MB
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
Andichurai-x-Khadija-Saye-2MB
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum
Limoŋ-x-Lemon-x-Khadija-Saye-2MB
Khadija Saye self-portrait, from the series Dwelling: in this space we breathe © Khadija Saye, courtesy International Curators Forum

Saye presented her final series Crownedwhich encapsulates Afro-Caribbean hairstyles, a project she began working on that expressed her Gambian heritage for her graduation project from UCA Farnham in 2013.

What aches the most is the inclusion of Saye’s mother in Crowned.

The portraits were taken in a makeshift home studio on the 20th floor; I recall with tenderness the tutorials during the making of this work, Khadija would burst in with work prints and talk with joy as she recounted her mother’s nervousness at being photographed

— Natasha Caruana, senior lecturer in photography at UCA Farnham, in an interview with the British Journal of Photography.

There is something familiar about being a student in photography, and turning to subjects that you know whole heartedly. More often than not we aim our lens inward to the ones who gave us life, and we appreciate them within a single frame, unknowingly documenting them for the world to see.

Khadija Saye and her work will forever be remembered. Let us not forget her kindness, her love of others stories, her struggle, accomplishments, her vision. She has left it all behind for us to remember and celebrate, and I hope it inspires our youth, especially young girls, to continue their art, to follow through with scholarships, and to never regret asking for help, or guidance. Collaborate, pursue mentorships, and above all, be proud of where you come from.

Rest in power, Khadija Saye. You are truly a source of inspiration to all.

Crowned5
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
Crowned4
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
Crowned3
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
Crowned1
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
Crowned2
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green
Crowned6
From the series Crowned © Khadija Saye, courtesy Nicola Green

All images appear under the British Journal of Photography’s obituary for Khadija Saye. Image credit is given to Saye’s mentor, Nicola Green, and the International Curators Forum.

Delphine Blast Captures the faces of Bolivian Womanhood in her series, Cholitas

Delphine Blast is a French documentary and portrait photographer based between Paris and South America. She has dedicated several works to the situation of women in Latin America, drawing in on the humanitarian dimension of life, while bringing out the emotional response and engagement of her subjects.

On a two month journey in Bolivia, Delphine discovered what it meant to be a cholita in today’s modern world. In the capital of La Paz she met dozens of cholitas and decided to honor the women by taking their portrait in a recreated photo studio based on backgrounds featuring traditional Bolivian fabrics.

A series of 35 portraits was born, entitled Cholitas, the revenge of a generation. The images highlight their unique outfits inspired by Andean traditions, but above all it reveals the women’s femininity, elegance and dignity.

Discriminated against for a long time, the cholitas are now very much a driving force in Bolivia. In scenes that were unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago, nowadays they have real clout in the economic, political, and even fashion worlds. The cholitas have managed to find their place in modern society without denying their collective past. They are an expression of the dignity of Indian populations.

Delphine’s photographic series aims to renew insight into Bolivian womanhood. It also carries new identity affirmations and reflects the social changes on the march in the country.

Take a look at Delphine’s stunning portraits below:

Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
FOTO INFINITUM | From the series, Cholitas, by Delphine Blast.
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.

Top Photo Events Happening This Week

This week, when it comes to photo related events, February is looking good. I mean, real good. With four photo haps featuring some of the most incredibly talented women to date, it’s hard to make it to them all.

I thought I’d soften all the FOMO by including an upcoming  Q+A panel discussion in April with the impeccable, Shirin Neshat. More info on that below!

Now on to the hard part, how will you be spending your photo weekend? I know it’s going to be quite the decision, but hey, at least I’ve taken out some of the dirty work for you.

Don’t forget to send in those RSVP’s!

laabf

LA ART BOOK FAIR 
@ The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA | FEBRUARY 24, 2017 – FEBRUARY 26, 2017
Preview | Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 6–9 pm | $10 entry fee

Printed Matter presents the fifth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 23 – 26, 2017, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

Free and open to the public, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair is a unique event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals, and zines presented by over 300 international presses, booksellers, antiquarians, artists, and independent publishers. Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair 2016 saw over 35,000 visitors over the course of three and a half days.

Printed Matter’s LA ART BOOK FAIR is the companion fair to Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR, held every fall in New York. In September 2016, over 39,000 artists, book buyers, collectors, dealers, curators, independent publishers, and enthusiasts attended Printed Matter’s NY ART BOOK FAIR.


represent

(RE)PRESENT Q+A Discussion Panel
@ Las Fotos Project | FEBRUARY 25, 2017 6PM – 8PM

Join Las Fotos Project on Saturday, February 25 for a panel Q+A with four well-known black female photographers: Oriana Koren, Kayla Reefer, Dana Washington and Sophia Nahli Allison.

The conversation will be centered on the experiences, challenges, and triumphs of black women photographers and their relationship to their craft. Our wonderful panelists will discuss how their intersecting identities impact both their photographic subject matter and their professional career.

The discussion will highlight the need and importance of black women’s visibility in photography, the challenge of diversifying representations of “blackness” and traditional representations of black communities in mainstream media.

Following the moderated portion of the panel, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions to panelists during the Q+A.

This community event is free, but please RSVP at www.lasfotosproject.org/RSVP.

You can also read my interview with Dana Washington on her portrait series Awa here.

Las Fotos Project is located on 2658 Pasadena Ave., Lincoln Heights, CA 90031


parker-day-icons-closing

ICONS by Parker Day
@ Superchief Gallery | FEBRUARY 25, 2017 1PM – 10PM

Superchief Gallery LA took on the solo exhibition of 100 portraits by photographer Parker Day. Her images from her series ICONS burst forth from the seamy underbelly of life in an explosion of lurid technicolor with a cast of characters played by club kids, internet personalities, and self-professed freaks. The un-retouched grit and grain of 35mm film packages fantastical content in palpable reality. Identity, and our ability to shape how we’re seen and in turn who we are, is central to the work. It’s communicated through costuming, symbols, and the emotional language of color, to connect in an intuitive and direct way that transcends artifice.

Parker Day began shooting ICONS in July, 2015. Images from the series have been featured in The New Yorker, Juxtapoz, Vice, i-D, and Dazed. Although selections from ICONS have appeared in international media and group shows, Superchief Gallery LA is the first to exhibit the complete ICONS series.

Visit the work of Parker Day during her closing reception before it’s gone!


 

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 1.22.13 PM.png

FRIDA KAHLO  HER PHOTOS
@ The Bower Museum | FEBRUARY 25, 2017 – JUNE 25, 2017

Frida Kahlo – Her Photos offers an intimate glance into the life of one of the world’s most beloved artists. Throughout her life, Kahlo meticulously collected over 6,000 photographs of loved ones as well as scenes of Mexican culture, politics, art, history and nature.

These photographs were taken by many renowned creatives of the time including Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Lola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Martin Munkácsi, the artist herself and others. After her death, the collection was locked away by a grieving Diego Rivera in Kahlo’s Mexico City family home, Casa Azul or the Blue House. More than fifty years later, this treasured collection was revealed to the public. Curated by the distinguished Mexican photographer and image historian Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Frida Kahlo – Her Photos presents 241 of these photographs, all of which are the first and only prints made of the originals.

The Bower Museum is located on 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706


shirinneshat

AN EVENING WITH VISUAL ARTIST SHIRIN NESHAT
@ Bovard Auditorium | APRIL 25, 2017 at 7PM

Shirin Neshat, born in Iran and based in New York City, is one of the most prominent living artists in the world. Her work probes issues of gender, power, displacement, protest, identity, and the space between the personal and the political. Neshat’s photography, video installations, and films have been shown at museums and festivals across the globe, and she has been awarded the International Award at the Venice Biennale, the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.

In a wide-ranging and inspiring talk, Neshat will discuss her creative process, how migration and living in varied cultures has affected her life and her art, and the role of art and freedom of expression in an enlightened and just society.

For more information, click here.

The 5 Iranian Women Photographers in ‘Art Brief III: The (Un)draped Woman’ You Need to Know

abiiiOn Thursday, February 9th, join LA based visual artist platform, ADVOCARTSY, in celebrating the opening of their third Art Brief installment entitled, Art Brief III: The (Un)Draped Woman. 

The exhibition features 14 artists of Iranian origin whose works speak to the timely and internationally relevant issues surrounding the representation of women. ADVOCARTSY’s founder and curator, Roshi Rahnama, is hopeful that the exhibition’s intent to encourage viewers to go beyond pre-conceived perceptions will help engender a new dialogue regarding the image of women in Iran and beyond.

Featured in this showcase are renowned photographers Shadi YousefianSepideh SalehiShadi Ghadirian, Gohar Dashti, and Tahmineh Monzavi.

Preview their featured works below:


SHADI YOUSEFIAN

is currently based in San Francisco. Yousefian’s mixed media work reflects and addresses issues that touch on universal themes such as loss, dislocation, alienation, and personal reinvention.

untitled-shadi-yousefian
Shadi Yousefian. Social Identity (2003). Photographic print mounted on wood panels. Image courtesy of the artist and ADVOCARTSY.

SEPIDEH SALEHI

is based in New York City and works in collages, paintings, printing, photography, and video animation. Her works revolve around the poetics of the veil, or chador, as well as stories from her country of origin.

01-mohr-portrait-2014-1-sepideh-salehi-20x24
Sepideh Salehi. Mohr Portrait (2014). Photograph and frottage on Japanese paper. Image courtesy of the artist and ADVOCARTSY.

TAHMINEH MONZAVI

is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. Her body of work concentrates on social conflicts, contradictions and the young generation of Iran.

18-tahmineh-monzavi-tina-2010-2012-17-25x25-tapestry
Tahmineh Monzavi. Tina (2010-2012). Archival digital pigment print. Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery, and Azita Bina. 

SHADI GHADIRIAN

is a photographer residing in Tehran. You may have already seen Ghadirian’s sepia toned work in her series, Qajar.  Ghadirian’s imagery comments and portrays the contradictions between tradition and modernity for women living in Iran and dichotomies present in daily life.

shadi-ghadirian-be-colorful-2002-35-5-x-23-625inches
Shadi Ghadirian. From the series Be Colorful (2002). Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery and Azita Bina.

GOHAR DASHTI

mainly addresses social issues with particular references to history and culture through her photographs. Her practice continuously develops from life events and the connection between the personal and the universal, the political and the fantasized.

gohar-dashti-odalisque-stateless-16x22-5-2015
Gohar Dashti. Odalisque (2014 – 2015), from the series Stateless. Image courtesy of the artist, Robert Klein Gallery and Azita Bina.

Art Brief III: The (Un)Draped Woman opens Thursday Feb. 9th at Arena 1 Gallery from 7pm to 10pm. ARENA 1 Gallery is located at 3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Screen Printed Self Portraits of Photographer Zohra Opoku

Zohra Opoku is a German/Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist living and working in Accra.

With a keen and disciplined eye for textile and design, Opoku employees installation, sculpture, and photography at the helm of her practice. She conceptualizes West African traditions, spirituality, the thread of family lineage as they relate to self authorship and the politics of her hybrid identity.

A globalized social consumption and the commodification of all things African are a driving force in what Opoku sees as the nemesis of her thesis, and the relevance of cultural credentials within this state of being.

Have a look at her beautiful screen printed self portraits below:

wisteria-72bb5a67
Zohra Opoku, Wisteria (2015).
zohraopoku_rhododendron-fdd07623
Zohra Opoku, Rhododendron (2015).
zohraopoku_pyracantha-9261f677
Zohra Opoku, Pyracantha (2015).
cyperuspapyrus-b2d26541
Zohra Opoku, Cyperus Papyrus, (2015).
ficuscarica-e83f9724
Zohra Opoku, Ficus Carica (2015).
dicksoniaantarctica-c878f759
Zohra Opoku, Dicksonia Antarctica, (2015).

 

 

The Promise of Sublime Words by Ewa Doroszenko

Sent to us by Ewa Doroszenko, a visual artist based in Warsaw, Poland. Her project The Promise of Sublime Words started out as a means to show Ewa’s favorite statues she had learned about during her art history doctoral studies. Her time studying brought her face to face with many books on the Classical era’s sculptures.

Cutting out fragments of the images, Ewa incorporated platforms, and made small compositions of the elegant Greek gods. The ancient philosophers and leaders are treated like paper figures in Ewa’s distorted views.

Once Ewa finished her compositions, she would reshoot them and begin printing on a larger scale than the original to create a hybrid of photo sculpture works. Take a look below:

ewa_doroszenko_01ewa_doroszenko_06ewa_doroszenko_05ewa_doroszenko_04ewa_doroszenko_03ewa_doroszenko_02

For more images from this series, view The Promise of Sublime Words in its entirety here, and be sure to follow Ewa on Instagram.

6 Photo Books to End Your Year With

Have you been dismantled by 2016? Between the fractures of the political sphere, and the losses of major music icons like Sharon Jones, David Bowie, Prince, Juan Gabriel, Malik Taylor of A Tribe Called Quest, Leonard Cohen, Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire, and George Michael, it’s as if the world wants to cave in on itself.

And if that wasn’t enough to break our culture clogged hearts, we also lost actors and actresses we held dear like Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fischer, Florence Welsh of the Brady Bunch, Anton Yelchin, Alan Rickman, and Gene Wilder amongst many others, respectively.

Honestly, 2016 sucked. So to soften the blow I’ve rounded up 6 great photo books by women photographers who are sure to show us that this relentless, hard hitting year can still end beautifully.

Sonder
By Rossella Castello

rossella_castello_sonder_2

Sonder is a submission sent in to us by Italian photographer Rossella Castello, whose journey of asking an old woman named Violet for her portrait while in London led her to establishing authentic connections with otherwise total strangers. Yet the power behind creating a portrait led Rossella to four other individuals, each one subsequently leading her to someone else, creating an exponential effect on the young photographer.

Each book is a journey from beginning to end, from one initial character to many others.
Currently this title is out of print, but a new release of Sonder is soon to become available on Rosella’s website here.


L’Enfant-Femme
By Rania Matar

rania_matar-l_enfant-femme_cover darine-and-dania-detail-lenfant-femme

What is a young girls connection to the camera? Photographer Rania Matar captures girls between the ages of 8 and 13, depicting them in deeply personal and poetic ways. Her book L’Enfant-Femme addresses themes of representation, voyeurism and transgression, all the while reminding us of the fragility of youth while also gesturing toward its unbridled curiosity and joy. Photographing girls in the Middle East and the United States, Matar makes us examine our universality, a beauty that transcends place, background and religion. Candidly capturing her subjects at a critical juncture in the early stages of adolescence, Matar conveys the confluence of angst, sexuality and personhood that defines the progression from childhood into adulthood.

L’Enfant-Femme is Rania Matar’s third book and is available for purchase here.


Cosmic Surgery
By Alma Haser

cosmic-surger

Cosmic Surgery is an oddly whimsical filled 48 pages of delightful origami pop up portraits photographed and hand crafted by none other than Alma Haser. Her process involves three steps: photographing the subject, printing multiple copies of the portrait for origami making, and finally re-photographing the work with her origami set in place to create the final image.

With the simple act of folding an image, or ‘origamify’ as Alma puts it best, she is able to transform each face into something of her own creation.

Purchase Cosmic Surgery here for me, for a friend, or maybe even for yourself.


Looking For Alice
By Sian Davey

13367lrg 13414lrg

Looking For Alice is the powerful award-winning project by British photographer Sian Davey, which tells the story of her daughter Alice and their family. Alice was born with Down’s Syndrome, but is no different to any other little girl or indeed human being. She feels what we all feel. Their family is also like many other families, and Sian’s portraits of Alice and their daily life are both intimate and familiar. “My family is a microcosm for the dynamics occurring in many other families. Previously as a psychotherapist I have listened to many stories and it is interesting that what has been revealed to me, after fifteen years of practice, is not how different we are to one another, but rather how alike we are as people. It is what we share that is significant. The stories vary but we all experience similar emotions.”
Own a signed hard copy of Looking For Alice via Trolley Books.

Olive Juice
By Molly Matalon and Damien Maloney

xhbtr_ef8e0130-ed0a-4561-b6db-4ab101c393fa_w1200 olive-juice

Olive Juice is a monograph made by Molly Matalon in collaboration with photographer Damien Maloney. Together they have created part road trip journal part romantic travel memoir, Olive Juice situates the viewer somewhere between the backseat of a moving car and the edge of a motel bed. Presented as a non-linear narrative of still life, portraits, and landscapes, Olive Juice explores notions of friendship, intimacy, and gender, and ultimately confronts the ambiguities of representation in photography.

You can snag a copy of Olive Juice via Vuu Studio


Intimate
By Lauren Crow

intimate-lauren-crow

In our popular media, we rarely view honest depictions of intimacy. Sometimes they scratch the surface, but often don’t go deeper and further. These intimate scenes (in popular media) tend to also be created with idealized people with idealized bodies, leaving many of us feeling unseen and unimportant. Intimate is an exploration of these relationships – be it a platonic friend, a stranger from the internet, a sexual partner (current or from the past) a deep love or something blossoming and new and all the relationships in between. The possibilities are abundant, ever changing and beautiful.

Intimate is Lauren Crow’s first book, and is currently available for purchase here.