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December 2011. Action in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg, South Africa. Beautiful !!!


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©CharlesYesenczki

Andrea Morales was born in Lima, Peru in the midst of hyperinflation and political instability to a very lovely couple. Her family caught some luck during a visa lottery and hopped a plane to Miami, Florida. Her formative years were spent in South Florida, observing life and writing about it in Spanglish. At some point, she tucked a journalism degree in her pocket and took that, along with her two-wheel drive Jeep on a series of newspaper internships, including one in Ohio. Frustrated with a confusing industry and then conveniently stuck in the Midwest, she made the decision to go to grad school at Ohio University. Now, she lives in a shotgun shack in an old coal-mining community with two awesome cats, but refuses to be called a cat lady because of its anachronistic and close-minded implications.

http://www.andreamoralesphoto.com

When and how did you become interested in Photography?

The idea of making photographs has been a latent interest as long as I can remember, but I spent a lot of my time before college pursuing the idea of becoming a writer. When I realized I habitually overuse passive sentences, I gave that up and found myself exploring the visual instead.

What gear do you mainly shoot with?

I went and spent a lot of the little money I have on a Canon 5D Mark II, so that’s my primary tool. When I have the extra scratch for film, I love spending time with my thrift-store point-and-shoots.

What is your #1 source of inspiration?

The people I’ve met, the people I’m hoping to meet and the people I know.

Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?

Fortunately for myself, there aren’t a lot of paying photo gigs in Appalachian Ohio so I have nothing but time for my personal work. The struggle for money is certainly a very real one for me. Some months I don’t even have cash to fuel my stinkin’ rattletrap of a vehicle. I’ve been making do by picking up odd jobs along the way, but the only reason I’m still here is to finish an on-going personal project, so that remains front and center. If I can maintain some semblance of that pattern for the rest of my life, despite its instability and lack of perceived glamor, I could be very happy.

What is your all time favorite genre to shoot (portraiture, conceptual, documentary, commercial, etc..)?

Anything with lots of angst.

Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?

I’m spending the next few months preparing to defend my master’s project. If I don’t follow through, I would like your readers to hold me accountable.

What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?

I’m only 5’2, so that makes for all kinds of fun low angles. But there’s probably something about who I am that also yields something different.

if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?

My mother in a full-on collaborative shoot. I just can’t imagine her doing that, because of who she is and what our relationship is like, but I think it would be amazing if she opened up to me. If not her, then Shakira.

what’s your dream photo field trip?

Hard to answer this one because I’ve been in one place for more than a hot second and going anywhere with a camera sounds like a dream. I’m going to say exploring the Brazilian Amazon via canoe.

what’s your post production process?

Lots of coffee, the kind of pop music that most people work out to (or something equally sassy), a cat on my lap and enough inches between me and the screen so that I’m not compromising my eyesight. I like going through my pictures in reverse chronological order too. It gives me some weird comfort and clarity. Then its all file naming conventions, some note-making, sharing with a lover, saving in two places and sleeping on it.

if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?

A SX-70 Polaroid Camera with an infinite film cartridge. I would never touch digital anything ever again.

who are your favorite photographers and why?

Brenda Ann Kenneally, Nan Goldin, Elinor Carucci all use photography in a way that’s introspective but also reaches out to a universality that a lot of artists and documentarians fail to do. They lend you their journeys and others’ journeys so that you can learn from them and I appreciate that. On the other end, there are journalists who unintentionally but effectively made coverage of conflict something I could believe in again, like John Moore and Victor Blue.

what has been the shining moment of your career thus far? (or, describe your “big break”)

While I was in the middle of a strange little newspaper internship in Lima, Ohio, I was talked into producing a piece about my family’s experience on our road to U.S. citizenship. Not realizing how excited the editors were about this, I mostly took photos for myself when I went back to Miami for the naturalization ceremony and turned in one of my dad cheesing for the camera in front of this gigantic American flag. The paper ran that photo as the lead on the front page. We’re not an overly patriotic bunch, but something about having the story published definitely gave my parents a lot of joy. Not a big break, but definitely a shining moment for my folks who have given me everything.

do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?

Don’t qualify your work through the work of others. Be yourself. Experience the world. Success doesn’t require exclusivity.

what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?

These here are two questions: Old bolero, merengue and Andean folk is the soundtrack to my life. While I’m editing, I’ll listen to nearly anything that will only consume me enough to push me forward.

what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?

A good porch with good friends and some decent beer.

best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?

I’m usually devouring something in my car that’s in sandwich form while driving to go shoot somewhere and you can’t deny the PB & Honey sandwich. While I do eat to celebrate, I don’t remember ever celebrating a brilliant capture, or ever acknowledging one. General celebration food however does exist and that is a cheesy, sloppy egg sandwich or something bacon-y.

will you share with us one of your favorite shots?

Roxy Ann McKee, 3, works on her sucker while staying still as her older cousins Nykki and Jameska spray her hair pink at the local high school's homecoming game. Roxy and her little brother Shane have been taken in by their cousins after her parents handed over custody of them.


Roxy continues to be one of my favorite people to photograph and hang out with. She is part of a series I’m building into my master’s project in a neglected and often vilified town here in southeast Ohio. I know people say its easy to photograph children, but the complexity of her life and how she interprets that into her surroundings is always surprising. She was left in the care of relatives after her parents surrendered to their addictions and the trauma of her life showed in her behavior. Now that she’s a little older and has been provided for in a certain way, her personality and kindness is no longer hostage to her fears.

your favorite photo by another photographer?

©Alessandra Sanguinetti


I’m enchanted and obsessed with so much that photography and visuals have to offer its hard to pick a singular image, but Alessandra Sanguinetti’s work offers an option I can be confident in. This particular image hits upon a lot of what I think is worth exploring regarding girls, self-image and relationships. And its beautiful.

has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?

I think because passions are the way they are, consuming and kinetic, they are always changing. It was not until a short time ago that I called myself a professional to someone else and actually created an invoice. It was weird. But its a good thing to engage in that sort of business because it will allow me to continue supporting this ridiculous affliction I have.

do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?

A pair of pants that won’t embarrass me when I get low and a tiny felt baby chick my little sister gave me when we were younger that I keep in my wallet

are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?

Gangsta nerd, if anything. Ask anyone who knows me.

what’s your sign? (we’re conducting a poll)

Leo


As a coal train rolls by in the background, Brittany, 8, poses for a picture while playing dress up with her neighbors. Her chosen outfit was an old ballerina number.


Nikki Barnhart, 15, offers her cigarette to her dog Miley while lying in bed with her boyfriend Tim, 18. Nikki and her boyfriend had been living together at her mom's house for a few months until he got felony charges for helping out her older brother in a hair-brained scheme to rob the local E-Z-Mart.


©AndreaMorales

If you are a photographer and would like to be featured as a future/potential Art Star on our blog, email us!
info@photopolus.com or ange@angefitzgerald.com, subject: Art Star.
*please include your website and examples of your work

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A message from our friend Matt:
Dear friends and colleagues,
Since April of 2010 I have been pursuing a project about the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi. The 500 or so residents live in a pocket of poverty, crime and violence that is cut off on all sides by train tracks – barely separated from a comparatively affluent white community. Over the course of the last year I have been invited into bedrooms and kitchens, to bachelor parties and funerals. The short time I have been able to spend with the residents has been punctuated by celebrations, evictions, murders, births, fights, strokes, and a myriad of other experiences ranging from joyful to heartbreaking that sum up the chaos of this place. A lot happens in a short period of time in Baptist Town, but somehow everything remains the same. The people in this neighborhood have come to mean a great deal to me and I am trying to be creative about the way I approach and disseminate this body of work in the naive hope of helping to bring about some positive change for this community.

Sin & Salvation in Baptist Town” is the beginning of a two-part examination of contemporary race and class disparities in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood. My goal is to remind people that while we may live in a time where civil rights are taught in history classes around the country, the real legacies of racism in the south continue to impact people economically and culturally, in persistent and often pernicious ways. I want to directly focus our collective attention on this complicated inheritance, honing in on Baptist Town in particular by continuing to document the neighborhood for the remainder of 2011 while launching into a separate facet of the project documenting the adjacent, white neighborhood in Greenwood. In the end I plan to bring an exhibition of the work created to both Baptist Town and the more affluent white communities that surround them. I want to actively engage the residents in a dialogue about improving the lives of their neighbors who have been disempowered for generations. These neighboring communities are separated by fear, distrust and a history of exploitation. By photographically introducing neighbors to one another in an honest and intimate way, my goal is to foster understanding and dispel uncertainty and fear. I hope to bridge the gap between these two worlds, so close together and yet so different.

Last year I was assigned by AARP Bulletin to visit Mississippi for a story about rural healthcare and eventually spent a total of 14 days working there split up over five trips. I just returned from my first five-day visit in 2011 which was funded by the National Geographic Innovation in Storytelling Grant. My goal is to spend 30 days on the ground in Greenwood this year, gathering stills, video and audio. If funding through Emphas.is is successful I will be able to spend two weeks documenting the Baptist Town neighborhood and their more affluent neighbors across the tracks in Greenwood. I have 36 days left to raise the $5200 goal or all of the pledged funds are returned to the backers.

Platforms such as Emphas.is should not be viewed as photographers standing on the virtual corner with palms outstretched, but rather an outlet for a more engaged audience to interact with a story as it is taking shape. The incentives for backers include tangible items ranging from work prints, books, and limited edition prints to home-made cookies and mix tapes. More importantly, Emphas.is opens up lines of communication between backer and photographer, allowing for an exchange of ideas and offering a platform for conversation during the development of this long-term body of work.

Please visit my Emphas.is page for an expanded proposal and a video trailer, which was produced by Hyunsoo Leo Kim of The Virginian-Pilot. Other places you can learn more about the project are listed below:

The early beginnings of “Sin and Salvation in Baptist Town”, edited by LUCEO partner Mike Davis, were recently recognized as a finalist for POYi’s Community Awareness Award and one of the Critical Mass Top 50. It was recently a solo exhibition at Lorrie Saunders ArtGallery in Norfolk, Virginia. You can read more about previous trips to Greenwood on my LUCEO blog, listen to an interview at Photo Radio and read reviews of the exhibition at The Virginian-Pilot and VEER.

This is just the beginning of a long-term project that has been evolving very rapidly into something much larger than I had originally anticipated and will be disseminated through exhibitions, video, audio, and a dual-sided book. Thanks in advance for your support and I am looking forward to further exploring this community with you.






All the best,
Matt


Matt Eich
Photographer
Norfolk, Virginia
Copyright Matt Eich/LUCEO
www.luceoimages.com
www.matteichphoto.com
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liveBooks has just announced the launch of a Photo Community Blog, called RESOLVE. The site will be run by Miki Johnson, former senior editor at American Photo. She talks here about the goals of the blog, which are to start conversations with Photography industry professionals about how they are handling the changes in the industry and moving forward. As Johnson states, “There have been many conversations about how hard things are right now. We want to start talking about how to RESOLVE these changes for the better.” http://blog.livebooks.com/?blogview=resolve

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