Photographer Interview: Myra Greene

Apr 29, 2009 / by Qiana Mestrich / Dodge & Burn blog

Myra's fine art work attempts to address "issues about the body, memory, the absorption of culture and the ever shifting identity of African Americans."

D&B: Where are you from?

MG: I grew up in Harlem, and I am proud to call myself a New Yorker, even though I haven't lived there in 10 years.

D&B: What kind of photography do you shoot and how did you get started - any "formal" training?

MG: My training started back in high school, where I knew I wanted to make photos. I then got my BFA from Washington University in St. Louis, and then later my Masters at the University of New Mexico. And since graduate school, I have taken workshops that help me learn specific photographic techniques for specific projects. The process of learning never ends.

D&B: What cameras or techniques do you use?

MG: My work isn't specific to any type of shooting process, camera or technique. I have worked with experimental and historical processes as well as digital technologies. I really believe that the medium you use should compliment the metaphorical meaning of the work. So I change photographic mediums when I am start working on a new idea. Right now, I am shooting with a medium format camera (a Hassleblad) and making digital prints.

D&B: Who are your mentors (in photography)?

MG: One of my mentors is Tom Barrow, one of my graduate professors, since he was able to consume and decipher information from many different sources. He's thinking would reflect his knowledge in popular culture, classics, and everything in between.

I also love the work of people who do the same. Carla Williams is a wonderful woman, and her writing and images also reflect her broad thinking. I think this is also true of other artists I love: photographers Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and artists like Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu and Julie Mehretu.

D&B: When did you realize you could have a career in photography? Describe your journey towards becoming a working photographer.

MG: I believe my journey is just beginning. I have had some recognition by interesting organizations (Light Work, CPW, and En Foco) and have participated in some great group and solo shows. Hopefully that trend will continue!

D&B: What do you hope to achieve with your photography?

MG: Oh there are lot of things I wish to achieve, that many artists dream of. I would for my work to have great gallery representation, and to create a monograph of my work one day. But more importantly, I hope that my work helps people to think about the power photography holds over representation of identity.

In turn, I hope my work makes people really think about photography as a medium, and the culture's obsession (or lack there of) with identity.

D&B: What's your dream photography project?

MG: Dream Project, I am not sure... I am really enjoying the path that I am on. Each day’s experience become stored in my mind and eventually some of them are translated into photographic projects. My dream project will come out of these lived experiences.