Maxine Helfman: Forefathers
Looking at work from PhotoNOLA…
Photographer Maxine Helfman is a unique and perceptive portrait photographer, moving effortlessly between the editorial, commercial, and fine art worlds. Her personal work often looks at “race and inequality through a historical perspective” with an insightful examination of the unseen or the unconsidered. Her new project, Forefathers, examines the personal practices of our presidents and shines a light on historical realities not often discussed.
A self – taught, late bloomer, Maxine spent many years as a prop/set stylist and photo art director, but the only way to truly realize her vision was to get behind the camera. She has since been shooting commercially for advertising and editorial clients, while pursuing personal projects. her work has been recognized by Px3, IPA, Foto DC, Flash Forward Boston, Critical Mass, British Journal of Photography , Photonews and PDN, as well as the permanent collection of Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Art Houston.
Forefathers is one of a series of projects on race and inequality through a historical perspective. These collages represent 8 presidents that were slave owners.
Inspired by Flemish Portrait Painting, “ Historical Correction” reinterprets these old masters from a more contemporary point of view. Our world and cultures are changing so quickly we are witnessing the collision of past and present. When you look at paintings from periods of art history, the depiction of the population is defined and specific. As populations shift, our world has become so diverse that different cultures are visually harder to define. Although my photographs are “ invented realities”, they are about real issues. Populations shift, gender and race are redefined, past definitions are challenged, and the faces of cultures and customs change. My work depicts those changes.
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