Sheila Arens: The Reluctant Photographer
Today I will be attending the funeral of my wonderful friend, Sheila Arens, who recently passed away from breast cancer. The fact that her service will be held at the Annenberg Center for Photography in Los Angeles might give a clue to one of her greatest passions, besides her husband Greg, her family, and countless friends of course.
I first met Sheila through the Los Angeles County Art Museum’s Photo Arts Council, and had the good fortune of being asked to co-curate the annual members photography exhibition, along with Sheila, Sara Jane Boyers, and Svjetlana Tepavcevic. We spent tireless months working as a team to create a terrific exhibition, but the best part of that experience was developing new friendships and being in the presence of Sheila’s sparkling personality. She was a lover, a laugher, and had an endless curiosity about all things, especially the photographic image–and even more importantly, she knew how to have fun.
Sheila was born in Brazil (and had a delicious accent that she used to her advantage in her work as a docent with the L.A. County Art Museum) to a photographer father, and moved to New York City from Sao Paulo where she spent many of her formative years as a master darkroom printer, shaping images for familiar and famous names. She moved on to editorial research and worked for Getty and a number of museums and galleries. And while she was surrounded by amazing imagery produced by other photographers, she was very reticent to draw attention to her own work. In sharing some of her work, I am honoring her person. She will be missed by so many and I will remember her with love and a huge shit eating grin.
Images from The Queens
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