On June 20th the Slovenian Exhibition Centre in Venice A plus A will host the presentation of American photographer Amanda Marsalis’ new book “Reproduction”. In an exclusive interview Swide reveals her thoughts and recounts her career.
On June 20th at 7pm at A plus A Slovenian Exhibition Centre the American photographer Amanda Marsalis will present her book Reproduction published by the Venetian independent publishing house Automatic Books.
For the occasion some of her breathtaking Polaroid pictures will be on display until June 22. Amanda Marsalis comes from Los Angeles, California, and has established a very successful career in commercial photography, collaborating with magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Monocle and The Wall Street Journal.
Of her new book she says: “Reproduction for me is 3 things: The purpose of a flower, the way the book is being printed, and a woman's fertility/sexuality. Myself being the woman. I feel in a tradition of classic photographers shooting still lives as an exercise in image making and self examination”.
Here is what else she recounted to Swide.
Can you tell us when did you understand you wanted to become a photographer, and how everything started?
When I was 14 years old I started going to see bands, including Fugazi, play at a club I could walk to from my house. This was in suburban St. Louis where I had moved to from San Francisco, where I was born. It was a shock as a young person to move to a place so culturally different than what I had always known. I had become kind of an outsider and it was not until I found the scene built around this music that I felt at home. This is when I started taking photos, I have not done anything else since. I was given an old camera of my mothers and I would shoot the bands playing, my friends hanging out, anything. I could also travel freely because my mother was a flight attendant and my father a pilot. Having the camera gave me an excuse to explore more and I used it. From high school I went to art school to study photography. I studied with Larry Sultan and Jim Goldberg at CCA in Oakland. Their influence continues to effect me.
How would you define your style?
Intimate, natural, very California.
What do you want to communicate through your photos?
That depends on the photo. In general I think about desire and longing. In an ideal world my photos would perfectly communicate my love of life and all the pain and suffering one goes through to get the good stuff.
Can you tell us more about your book, Reproduction, and about the exhibition?
The book is a collaboration with Automatic Books in Venice. It is a collection of photographs of flowers that I shot with the end of my Polaroid stock. They are a study of shape and light while also being a meditation on fragility and femininity. The images have been printed in blue and red risograph and hand bound.
Because of Lorenzo and Marco at Automatic Books we created something I am very proud of and I am forever grateful to them for it. On occasion of the exhibition for the release of the book at A plus A gallery on June 20th we are going present the book in the gallery full of flowers. It is not to be missed!
Tell us about some future project of yours...
I am working on a zine of all the band photos I took in the 90's. My friend Maia Ruth Lee and I are curating and publishing a book of 6 female photographers. And I am working with Jon Santos at Common Space on a book of all of my Polaroid work. I am equally excited about all of them.
From San Francisco to Venice: Polaroids and Independent Publishers
San Marco 3073
30124 Venice, Italy
Interview by: Elisa della Barba