Featured Artist: SlideShowNight

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Thank you to everyone who joined us at Newspace Center for Photography on March 24th for SlideShowNight! I showed some new work, some older work, and talked about my creative process in conjunction with the members' show. It was so wonderful to see all your faces and talk with you and the other presenters about this medium of ours.

Sir Cupcake, 2017

I've had the honor of photographing Sir Cupcake's Queer Circus since 2012 and these incredible performers amaze me every single time.

Escape to Canada

Finding inspiration and solace across the border.

Transgender Day of Visibility

I have had the opportunity to photograph and work with some incredible trans performers and today I'm giving a big shout out to two of them - Jack StockLynn (circus performer) and Charlie Laban Trier (dancer). Thank you both for the incredible collaborations! 

Collaboration, fashion, and a helluva lot of fun!

Some history.

When I was young, six or seven, I started sewing costumes for my dolls and photographing them in various scenes around the house (flower pots, kitchen shelves, looking at the river). In high school I photographed local theater productions and developed dozens (hundreds?) of b&w portraits of my friends. In college I started working with local designers and performers to create lookbooks, headshots, posters, and visual narratives that told the stories of the brand. While working on my MFA I realized that I loved shooting landscapes with (gasp) no people in them.  

Over the years I’ve continued working on portraits, collaborating with local designers, and shooting for books and magazines (online and print), and, most recently I’m collaborating with writer and queer fashion blogger Nic de Luna.

Stardust

Every now and then I open my eyes and glimpse the stardust that weaves through the galaxy and connects us all. To our shared histories. To the endless possibilities of the future. Through photography I step out of the ashes and into the stars.

Photographic Vision

Vision can be elusive. We may not always have an immediate conscious reaction to the world, may not understand our feelings about the story in front of us. In these times, it is often the case that the camera becomes more than a means to record our vision; it becomes the means to help clarify it. The act of looking through the frame, of excluding other angles and elements, of bringing chaos into order, can bring our vision to the surface. This ability to help us see means, in some way, that the camera is a partner with us in the process, and it is what separates photographers from painters. We have a symbiotic relationship -- not with the camera technology but with the frame, which, for all the technological changes photography has been through, remains the constant.

- David duChemin, Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision.

Starting something...

Gratitude and Celebration

 Three generations. And a lot of matriarchs.

Three generations. And a lot of matriarchs.

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It's back to school time, and though my students are adults, I've been thinking a lot about how much we can all learn from my cousin's five year old sons. Though I don't see them as often as I'd like, I have always loved watching them play. The twins just started kindergarten.

I realized that one of the things I love see most is that they haven't learned that they "can't" do something, or can't do it in a certain way (kitchen knives and hot pans aside). They are discovering new things every day.

As we grow up, we learn we are better at some activities than others. We are encouraged down different paths. We begin to be assigned labels. We practice different skills.

Yes, some things come more naturally (I have never been able to understand car engines, no matter how hard my father tried), and we generally like doing things we excel at, but we also build the muscles we use. For me, those are often creative in nature. The way I see. How I solve problems. The tools I use to make images. And it isn't easy. I hear people talk about talent like it's something that just shows up, delivered by the proverbial stork. Or Santa Claus.

Like many people, I've had my share of ruts and setbacks. This happened recently (for two years) and I felt so frustrated and confused by this art of mine. I kept pulling out the camera because I knew I had to do it - I had to stay alert and I also needed to stay connected to the pathways through my brain and heart that seek out the beautiful and the curious. I knew I was making something, but I couldn't see where it was going.

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After conversations with friends, therapy sessions, a few bottles of wine, and travels from one coast to the other and back again, one day, sitting in an airport, all of the pieces came together. After two years, I finished the body of work within a few weeks. As my life came into alignment, so did my art. The day I put the final words to paper to describe this journey, I submitted the work for the first time. And now I sit in wonder that this creation is a finalist in Photolucida's Critical Mass. I received the email a few days ago and haven't been able to find words to adequately express my humble gratitude, my shocked amazement.

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One body of work is now complete and slowly making it's way out into the world. Another hangs from magnets in my office - resequenced daily. It is still growing. This weekend I began planning something new and I am excited to see yet another path for exploration. Another way of working with love, longing, connection, memory, home.

Today I write to remember this moment and to celebrate the triumph of continuing to create, whatever comes next. And I write to thank you for traveling through this journey with me.

Gratitude and Celebration

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It's back to school time, and though my students are adults, I've been thinking a lot about how much we can all learn from my cousin's five year old sons. Though I don't see them as often as I'd like, I have always loved watching them play. The twins just started kindergarten.

I realized that one of the things I love see most is that they haven't learned that they "can't" do something, or can't do it in a certain way (kitchen knives and hot pans aside). They are discovering new things every day.

As we grow up, we learn we are better at some activities than others. We are encouraged down different paths. We begin to be assigned labels. We practice different skills.

Yes, some things come more naturally (I have never been able to understand car engines, no matter how hard my father tried), and we generally like doing things we excel at, but we also build the muscles we use. For me, those are often creative in nature. The way I see. How I solve problems. The tools I use to make images. And it isn't easy. I hear people talk about talent like it's something that just shows up, delivered by the proverbial stork. Or Santa Claus.

Like many people, I've had my share of ruts and setbacks. This happened recently (for two years) and I felt so frustrated and confused by this art of mine. I kept pulling out the camera because I knew I had to do it - I had to stay alert and I also needed to stay connected to the pathways through my brain and heart that seek out the beautiful and the curious. I knew I was making something, but I couldn't see where it was going.

After conversations with friends, therapy sessions, a few bottles of wine, and travels from one coast to the other and back again, one day, sitting in an airport, all of the pieces came together. After two years, I finished the body of work within a few weeks. As my life came into alignment, so did my art. The day I put the final words to paper to describe this journey, I submitted the work for the first time. And now I sit in wonder that this creation is a finalist in Photolucida's Critical Mass. I received the email a few days ago and haven't been able to find words to adequately express my humble gratitude, my shocked amazement.

One body of work is now complete and slowly making it's way out into the world. Another hangs from magnets in my office - resequenced daily. It is still growing. This weekend I began planning something new and I am excited to see yet another path for exploration. Another way of working with love, longing, connection, memory, home.

Today I write to remember this moment and to celebrate the triumph of continuing to create, whatever comes next. And I write to thank you for traveling through this journey with me.

…You can see the full body of work on my website, maricofayre.com

NYC > PDX. Day 5.

Wednesday. 

The road seems to keep getting longer. We're both quieter than we were a couple of days ago. All of the postcards have been written and mailed. Sometime tonight we'll make it home, but we have the Boise heat, the wildfires in eastern Oregon, sunset in the Columbia Gorge, and many, many bottles of coconut water and iced tea to get through first. 

NYC > PDX. Day 4.

Tuesday. 

Climbing the Rockies. Altitude sickness. A very fully packed car. THE BEST PEACHES. Photos. Photos. Moab. Photos. It's almost midnight...I think we're somewhere in Utah, now?

NYC > PDX. Day 3.

Monday. 

Woke up in Omaha in a real house (thanks Jack's in-laws!) and then made gluten-free, vegan blueberry pancakes. Because that's how we roll. 

We're covering a lot of miles every day, so today we decided to be tourists for a few minutes and stop at the Pony Express station. Turns out it is exactly halfway between NYC and PDX. I think we're going to make it!

NYC > PDX. Day 2.

Sunday. Woke up in a terrible, terrible motel outside of Cincinnati. And what do you do when in a terrible motel? First, open the door to let out the smell of stale smoke. Then, PHOTOSHOOT! 

And then diner coffee. A lot of diner coffee. 

NYC > PDX. Day 1.

Saturday. 

We woke up in style at Kimpton's posh Ink48, knowing it might be the last comfortable bed we saw until we reached Portland and home. Then there was traffic. A lot of traffic. All the way through NJ and into Pennsylvania. (Pennsylvania is a very. long. state.) We sang along with the Fun Home soundtrack for awhile and pointed out references from the show the night before. (We were on I-80 after all, basically driving from shore to shore.) 

Last Day in NYC. (for awhile)

Bestie + road trip buddy arrives on a redeye from PDX. Hotel and shower. Coffee. Subway. Sister. LES. Tea.. Pala's Pizza. Bluestocking. Coffee. 3D printing. Happy Hour. Blisters. Favorite restaurants. Central Park. FUN HOME. Hotel. Wine and photos in the lobby with best friends. Hugs that last forever and not nearly long enough. Falling asleep looking out at the Hudson. 

NEW WORK: Cartographers of Memory

I was raised on stories I didn’t believe, but wanted to. Fairy tales and family histories that changed with every retelling. Through empty roads and conversations around kitchen tables, I learned that every moment is both a discovery and a loss. The facts of our lives become history, until we have only pieces of memory woven into a personal mythology.

My grandmother, Tutu, had a stroke last February, at the age of 92. Four months later she told me that she could no longer laugh or cry, but that she still had a universe of thoughts inside her mind. For this woman of passion and chaos, a house was never enough space for all of her paper sculptures, her pianos and violins, her inventions and ideas. Now she sits in a chair in her daughter’s house, surrounded by beige walls, her mind filled with emotions and desires she struggles to express.

When I was a child her life existed for me as a series of unbelievable tales: training as a concert violinist in New York and drawing maps during WWII. Building a house in southern California out of barn doors and stained glass windows. Intentionally burning toast every morning. Befriending movie stars and opera singers and getting married four times to three husbands, but raising five daughters on her own.

At 30 I realized the stories were real. Without knowing it, I spent three years retracing many of my grandmother’s dreams – from New York City to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Adventure is her legacy.

These images, captured during my travels to San Miguel, are part family album, memoir, poem, and prayer. In the high desert, all of our masks and facades are scoured away in the wind and the dust, washed clean in the afternoon rain. The land here is made of light. It is sunbaked stone and agave plants and women emerging from their old lives like butterflies into the sharp sunlight.

This is a map of my search for my family’s history and my own home. The photographs show the expansion of a life, of becoming part of a world vaster and more fantastic than the books that fed my childhood dreams. But pause and reverse, see the images backwards, and they tell the story of a life that now turns inward, contained within four walls. And the universe of her mind. My world is now the one expanding, while Tutu’s becomes ever more still.

...You can see the full body of work on my website, maricofayre.com...

NEW WORK: Cartographers of Memory

CofM_025     CofM_026 I was raised on stories I didn’t believe, but wanted to. Fairy tales and family histories that changed with every retelling. Through empty roads and conversations around kitchen tables, I learned that every moment is both a discovery and a loss. The facts of our lives become history, until we have only pieces of memory woven into a personal mythology.

My grandmother, Tutu, had a stroke last February, at the age of 92. Four months later she told me that she could no longer laugh or cry, but that she still had a universe of thoughts inside her mind. For this woman of passion and chaos, a house was never enough space for all of her paper sculptures, her pianos and violins, her inventions and ideas. Now she sits in a chair in her daughter’s house, surrounded by beige walls, her mind filled with emotions and desires she struggles to express.

When I was a child her life existed for me as a series of unbelievable tales: training as a concert violinist in New York and drawing maps during WWII. Building a house in southern California out of barn doors and stained glass windows. Intentionally burning toast every morning. Befriending movie stars and opera singers and getting married four times to three husbands, but raising five daughters on her own.

At 30 I realized the stories were real. Without knowing it, I spent three years retracing many of my grandmother’s dreams – from New York City to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Adventure is her legacy.

These images, captured during my travels to San Miguel, are part family album, memoir, poem, and prayer. In the high desert, all of our masks and facades are scoured away in the wind and the dust, washed clean in the afternoon rain. The land here is made of light. It is sunbaked stone and agave plants and women emerging from their old lives like butterflies into the sharp sunlight.

This is a map of my search for my family’s history and my own home. The photographs show the expansion of a life, of becoming part of a world vaster and more fantastic than the books that fed my childhood dreams. But pause and reverse, see the images backwards, and they tell the story of a life that now turns inward, contained within four walls. And the universe of her mind. My world is now the one expanding, while Tutu’s becomes ever more still.

...You can see the full body of work on my website, maricofayre.com...