While I am enjoying the Focus Awards hosted by the Griffin Museum and the Flash Forward Festival hosted by the Magenta Foundation in Boston this week, I featuring Boston photographers, today with Asia Kepka.
I love Asia Kepka’s work, but also her person. David Hilliard took this amazing photograph of her:
In Asia’s words:
The day I was born my grandmother cried.
The tears were not tears of joy, she cried because she had never seen such an ugly baby.
Many years later, I became a model and a whole new world opened up to me. It was fun, but even more fun awaited me when I landed in NYC 20 years ago. I arrived with $100 in my pocket but my boundless enthusiasm was priceless. My friend greeted me at the airport and gave me my first point and shoot camera. Things were never the same.
I felt like a dog hanging its head out of the window of a fast moving car. With camera in hand and very little English, I embarked on a career as a photographer. I was lucky to start with the best clients imaginable: Wired, Time, Fortune, and the NY Times.
Her work has pathos and humor and I am sharing her series, Bridget and I.
Bridget and I: In 2004 I found Bridget on Craigslist . I was intrigued and decided to spend $100 not knowing really what will I do with her.
One day I took her out of my basement, dressed her up and started to set up a portrait. She looked bit stiff and the photo needed something.. never before I was a fan of doing self portraits but I decided to jump in. Suddenly I found myself in the midst of my most exciting project-don’t get me wrong- taking photos always brought me incredible rush and joy.
Working as a photographer I feel like a dog with it’s head out of the window of a car on the way to the park. This project is even more exciting. It became my visual diary- place where I record my dreams, my past, my everyday life .
My hope was to create a fairy tale that is timeless, independent of place, hermetically sealed from the outside world. This cathartic process has allowed me to explore issues of my identity as a woman and as an immigrant. Quite often images of me are reflection of my Mother and Grandmother back in Poland.
“I feel like i’m watching Fellini’s movie” -said an onlooker at the site of Bridget and I in a hotel pool in Arizona. At times dragging mannequin in public places draws quite an attention and “being in a moment” is a challenge but seeing reactions of bystanders is always positive and at times priceless.
All images are self portraits taken with 4×5 camera. The only exception are water shots.
This adventure can be physically challenging – Bridget is heavy and rigid , she endured being shipped via Fedex and immersed in many bodies of water.She got slammed by the wind in a sand storm ,which caused her big cracks on her head and she is missing a toe. I hope she lasts few more years as I plan on continuing this project for a avery long time.