This week I am featuring work that I encountered at Review LA, either in a review or on the Portfolio Walk.
Marjorie Salvaterra sees the world in a unique way–in black and white, with an unforgiving lens that exposes and discovers moments of truth and little secrets. With two small children underfoot, Marjorie keeps one eye on humanity with her two series, Halleluhah and Whole. Born in St. Louis, Marjorie attended NYU, and now makes her home in Los Angeles. Marjorie is petite is stature, but her work gives a powerful punch. The unflinching intensity of her vision makes her images feel potent and very modern, which is not an easy thing to do in black and white.
Her statement for Hallelujah:
There is a fine line between sanity and insanity. I’ve always been fascinated by human psychology. When most girls were reading Judy Blume, I was reading the DSM. it lists all the psychological disorders and their symptoms. Diagnosis is made on the number of symptoms. And yet, it is easy to go through the list of symptoms for the various disorders and think “that could be me.” I realized quite young that there was a fine line between what was considered sane and what was considered insane. Are we all a crazy — at least at certain moments in our lives? Is it nurture vs. nature? Some believe people are either born sane or insane. Others believe we are all born perfect and it’s the things that happen in our lives that damage us. I tend to believe the latter. In each portrait, I am looking for that line in each person. The part of ourselves that we tend to hide. The part that scares us. The part that is usually saved for the people closest to us. The ones that know our secrets.
WHOLE began with a series of portraits. However, as I photographed the various people, I began to see similar emotions in their bodies. I decided to expand my project and photograph various parts of their bodies, each like a portrait. As I did this, I began to see that each body part felt as emotional as a face.
Then, came 9 months of bedrest, which I thought would put my project on hold for a while. For nine, months, I laid in bed, watching too much news about hatred in the world and spent the rest of the time daydreaming about what my child would look like. I started to think about the ways people come together and the ways people push each other apart.
As a person with too much time on her hands, I started to piece the various body parts together to create new human beings. Ones where black and whites came together. Men and women. Various cultures. Various income levels. Various IQ’s. Various levels of attractiveness.
And in this, creating a new kind of beauty. A beauty of acceptance. One where we finally feel WHOLE.
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