Filtering by Tag: Photographer
“I really want my photography to be a quality platform for representation of people of color that hasn’t been seen before” – Micaiah Carter
THE FIRST TIME I saw the photography of Brooklyn based artist MICAIAH CARTER in the fall of 2016 at Parsons School of Design…I knew he was going to be successful. A self described recluse, he was not social in college, he just put his head down and quietly got to work. Mentoring and guiding him through his senior year was one of the true joys of my long teaching career. The unique gift that 30 years of experience in the art world and 16 years teaching at one of the most prestigious art schools in the world has given me, is the ability to spot artistic talent and potential - immediately.
Micaiah’s portraits are sincere, dignified representations of the sitters while staying true to his distinctive aesthetic - a modern day combination of Roy DeCarava’s poetic, lyrical, emotional photographs - and the proud, regal and formal portraits by Harlem Renaissance photographer, James Van Der Zee - all of them achingly beautiful.
The work is soft hued with a 1970’s tone and vibe that pay homage to his family history and father’s scrapbook. In some works, Micaiah consciously references his father’s early life and dated fashion and with total reverence, creates exquisite, inspired images, that can only be interpreted as stunning
Micaiah has been out of school for less than 3 years and in that short amount of time has photographed a distinguished and impressive list of celebrities, athletes, musicians, and artists: Spike Lee, Serena Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Solange Knowles, Kehinde Wiley, Zendaya, Terrence Nance, Jorja Smith, Ciara, Duckie Thot, Dev Hynes, Moses Sumney, and Cortez Kenny IV.
Navigating his young career like a seasoned artist, he has worked with: The New York Times, Time Magazine, Warner Bros Records, Epic Records, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Showtime, A24 Films, Pepsi, Converse, Apple, Vice, Afropunk, i-D, Document Journal, Elle, Nylon, Paper, V Magazine and a fashion shoot for designer, Thom Browne .
In the next 2 months alone, he will have a 12-page spread in Vanity Fair, photographs in Vogue, and GQ magazines as well as a portrait in the Wall Street Journal, simultaneously. In this day and age, photographers are no longer anonymous, they are celebrities themselves. It is in stark contrast to Michaiah's introverted nature to be front and center, but he's handling this new found success like a pro.
One of Micaiah’s many major accomplishments post graduation, was an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in February of 2018. An exciting collaboration with the sports brand Adidas, highlighting 7 black creatives who symbolize the future, alongside historical artifacts from the Adidas archive representing the past.
Walking into that museum exhibition my heart swelled with immense pride. That moment was confirmation that my first instinct on that fall day in 2016 was correct... MICAIAH CARTER is the one to watch, he is the new generation…watch him rise.
SH: Why did you choose photography as your medium?
MC : Photography was a way for me to speak without saying anything. I’m usually a timid and reserved person, so photography gave me a chance to get my voice out there without having to say it myself. Also aside from that, I love and appreciate the medium as a whole - the art of capturing a photo still fascinates me to this day. I can remember being a younger kid, begging my parents to let me use their point and shoot for a few frames when we were on family vacations. Photography gave me an outlook on life, not just from my perspective but from the world. I was always curious about looking in archives, whether it’s from my family albums or the albums of other families.
SH: What artists do you believe have had the most influence on your work, musical, artistic etc.?
MC: I feel like my Dad has had one of the most significant impacts on my work and life, he’s very militant yet very creative, and I think those two things drove my childhood and teenage years in shaping my viewpoint of the world. My parents also made sure that I knew of my history at an early age because they understood that schools did not have a full spectrum of representation within the classroom when it came to curriculum; it wasn’t until I was in my junior year in college that I found out about other black photographers in my past.
One of my biggest fashion influences was photographer Koray Birand, I loved his use of toning, and it inspired me as to what I could do with my images. Another significant impact was photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia, his use of lighting and communication with subjects was stunning to me. Other powers are Carrie Mae Weems and Jamel Shabazz. I also am a massive fan of Ertha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Kelela, Bok Bok, Budige and so many more. Music has impacted my work a lot, I can see a vision when listening to songs.
SH: Do you feel growing up in Los Angeles has had an impact on your photographic style?
MC: I for sure think that growing up in Southern California impacted the way that I see light in general. I believe that it’s scarce to get that type of light anywhere else, especially New York City, and I think it’s unique to try and pay homage to the desert light which is honestly different from any other light I’ve seen before, in all its glory.
SH: You have photographed well known actors, artists, athletes and creatives from Spike Lee, Taraji P. Henson, Kehinde Wiley, Zendaya, Solange Knowles, Terence Nance, Jorja Smith, Ciara, Duckie Thot, Dev Hynes, Moses Sumney, Desus and Mero, Serena Williams , talk about what goes through your mind while you are taking those portraits? Do you ever feel a sense of intimidation?
MC : While taking portraits of high profile or celebrities, it comes down to me being down to earth and seeing the human in both of us. I try to be as transparent as possible and not have an overbearing presence because in retrospect I can understand what it is like to be on the other side of the camera and it can make you very nervous at times. I think once I break that initial wall down, we can create something that is fresh and standstill. I never get a sense of intimidation, just more reverence for the people I respect and inspire me the most.
SH: You have done a lot in 2 years since your graduation from Parsons School of Design what do you feel motivates your drive and ambition?
MC: This goes back to my upbringing when my father would wake me up at five every morning to make sure I made the bus on time and was on top of my school work, and I think that aggressive attitude trickled down to me. I love photography, and I love perfecting my work. I feel like those attributes come out when I am working and drive me to become more creative, push myself harder to tell more transparent stories, and just in general, be humble and in grind mode while I’m blessed to create.
Art Dealer SARAH HASTED
Interviews Artist MARK MANN
O Uncolored People
Owen James Gallery
May 17 - June 30, 2018
O Uncolored People, Geraldine, 2015. Acrylic on canvas, 7 x 7”
MARK MANN is the most descent person I have ever known.
We met at college in Santa Fe, New Mexico so many years ago, and he has been quietly and consistently working his way through this thing called “the art world” ever since. Some artists don’t demand the spot light, they diligently work in their studios, making exceptional works of art, often overshadowed by all the hype and noise.
Mark has never been the squeaky wheel, nor has he been invisible.
With dozens of exhibitions under his belt, including one at the Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C., and notable New York galleries, like Laurence Miller Gallery, his work has been recognized and collected by the Los AngelesCounty Museum of Art, the Sir Elton John Collection, Yale University, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Progressive Collection to name a few.
Our shared histories include a lifetime of understanding, being raised in the Southwest, our love of art, our complicated upbringings in broken families. Mark and I spent a lot of our lives together, and we always understood the various definitions of the word “family” – and all that entails.
I don’t know about you, but growing up in families with modest to low incomes, meant your family vacations consisted of everyone being loaded up into the station wagon, windows rolled up, car sick while your mother chain smoked, shouting instructions like “don’t’ make me stop this car” - as we head out on that long drive to Little Rock, Arkansas or Tulsa, Oklahoma. You stayed in a cheap motel (not hotel), but it didn’t matter as long as it had a pool. The highlight of the trip was usually something simple, like having your mother teach you how to swim, all the while, trying not to get her perfectly set and curled hair wet, or your step father pretending his feet were sharks, humming the theme to Jaws and saying they were coming to get you…as you squeal with glee.
Most of Mark’s art work over the years has referenced his role in the complex family structure, navigating relationships with siblings, relatives, aunts, uncles and parents.
“O Uncolored People is an ongoing series of paintings depicting burnt sunbathers as a means to express a side of the American character, weary from excess and leisure and instilled with a dark sense of humor. As a group, these people of Anglo descent are over-exposed and vulnerable to a changing world where American superiority is challenged. Each painting’s title is based on popular boys and girl’s names from 1930’s Social Security records, meant to reference an older generation – tough, stoic, but now questioning their status. My goal is to bring qualities of both the strange and sentimental in these pictures – in much the same way the most miserable of vacations can, over time, become the fondest of memories.”
Think about all of your family vacations, the painful sunburns and the sweet moments that you often remember…those trips down memory lane, aren’t about the sting of the sunburn and usually have nothing to do with some grand experience or fancy place, but rather a simple, thoughtful and loving gesture or time spent with someone you love.
SH: What is your favorite memory of a family vacation?
MM: Most of our family vacations were road trips throughout Oklahoma and Texas. Favorite may not be the best word to use, lets say memorable. One time in particular we had arrived to the beach motel and my sisters rushed to get all the sunbathing time the could on our first day. Their resulting sunburns and mild heat sickness made for a comically tragic dinner which they wanted to cancel altogether. Our dad was determined to go out and have a good time no matter what. I’m sure I got my hamburger, so all is in order from my point of view.
SH: Everyone in your paintings seems to have a sunburn, why?
MM: It’s a symbolic reference to cultural excess and privilege. I ultimately think it refers to a time before concerns like using sunscreen or limiting exposure to UV light. A type of self-inflicted wound; this preoccupation with the feeling better in the short term while simultaneously disregarding safety in the long run.
SH: What is the importance of the pool in your work, we see it referenced so often?
MM: Pools are inherently a part of the postcard and vacation scenes I use for subject matter, but I also have an affinity for them as spaces for family interaction. There are boundaries to a pool (shallow end and deep end) that relate to stages of life and personal growth.
SH: I love the titles of the new paintings; can you tell me about them?
MM: The titles are inspired by popular boys and girl’s names from Social Security records, meant to reference an older generation that precedes baby boomers. It seems to me to be the most evident point of cultural and political divide in America.
SH: Way back in 1993, one of the first works I ever saw of yours, were plaster cast water guns with Chinese fortunes on the back. The new casts are various cactus plants in coffee cans and other vessels. Do they relate?
MM: That series from 1993, just after graduation from art school was some of the earliest sculptures I did with mold making and cast plaster. The resulting objects were basically a mash-up of Eastern and Western philosophies or elements of violence and non-violence rolled into one. There was an absurdity that appealed to me. Regarding the cacti, they embody that same contrast of forms and material I am drawn to. Strength vs fragility, scarcity vs abundance.
Cuban Cactus, Bustelo 2016.
SH: How do you think growing up in the Southwest has influenced your work?
MM: Despite the conservative side to my upbringing, I had a great amount of personal freedom as a kid growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s. Out all day with less supervision and the free time to explore was invaluable.
SH: What do you think the biggest challenge an artist faces now?
MM: From a local perspective, affording to live and work in New York City while maintaining a serious studio practice is the biggest challenge. In the bigger picture, staying present and focused amid the distractions that come with technology, communications and social media.
SH: How has your work evolved from your earlier series, “Are we there yet” and “Wish you were here”?
MM: Both series involved a great deal of nostalgia and looking to the past. Now that I’ve worked through those ideas, I can direct the work on current themes, whether personal or political.
For more information please visit the gallery and artist websites: