The NEMAA blog is a platform for us to share our members work and their stories, and a hub for information about the NEMAA community.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Last Weekend for Fall Fine Arts & an Interview with Selma Fernandez Richter

[Selma Fernandez Richter, Untitled.]
This is the last weekend to see the NEMAA Fall Fine Arts Show on the 3rd Floor of the Solar Arts Building. Head over and see over 170 home-grown Northeast art works on display.

After the opening, we handed out prizes some amazing art works on display in the show. The top prize went to Selma Fernandez Richter, a photographer who was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and is now based in Minneapolis.

I took the liberty of asking Selma a few questions about her amazing piece, her career in photography, and what she's working on these days.

Here's what she had to say...

NEMAA: How did you get interested in photography?  What is your background?

Selma Fernandez Richter (SFR): I´ve been a photographer for 13 years professionally and I got my first camera as a child.  In college, I studied Communications and after that I traveled to different places like Barcelona, Dublin, and Buenos Aires where I studied with a variety of photographers and learned different approaches.

When I started working as a photographer in Monterrey, Mexico´s most industrial city, the majority of my work was photographing people in the business community for editorial and corporate clients. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn how to be a photographer.  During that time, I took different classes and workshops. Mexico is a place where many great photographers come to teach, and I was fortunate to study with photographers like Mary Ellen Mark and David Alan Harvey.

When I moved away from Mexico three years ago, I knew that I needed a change, I wanted to focus more on my personal work.

[Selma Fernandez Richter, Untitled.]

NEMAA: What kind of subjects do you most like photographing?

SFR: I am definitely a people photographer and I have a particular interest in photographing children. 

[Selma Fernandez Richter, Untitled (on display at the FFA show).]
NEMAA: Tell me about the photo in this show. What are we looking at? How did you get this angle?

SFR: It was taken during the Maha Kumbh Mela celebration in Allahabad, India last year. My husband, photographer Andy Richter, was on assignment and working on his ongoing project about yoga.

I love traveling and travel a lot for work but I didn’t have an specific agenda at that time.  I was fascinated to learn that the city is built every 12 years just for the Kumbh. It is the most populated city in the world for that period of time and interestingly is the city with the best health and sanitation services in India. This is all set in the basin of the Ganges river. I decided I wanted to do something related to the city itself.

As a portrait photographer I immediately felt attracted to its inhabitants, that´s why most of the images of this project are about them.  But I also included scenes of the actual city to give some context, most of them from up above.  The picture in the show is of one of the many camps that constitute the city, and was taken from a bridge.

NEMAA: What are you working on these days?

[Selma Fernandez Richter, Untitled.]
SFR: For the last three years I´ve been working on a project, about the refugee communities in the Twin Cities. I mostly photograph people from Burma, of the Karen ethnic group, as well as Bhutan, Somalia, and Eritrea.

My intention is to document their first months and years in Minnesota and their adaptation process to their new context, as well as the configuration of their new communities.  This work has a lot to do with my own adaptation process.  My goal is to produce a book of the photographs.

That's it! Come down and see Selma's work as well and the other rich variety of visual arts on display.  While you're there you can stop by Indeed Brewing on the 1st floor of the Solar Arts Building and check out Johnny Cash's personal bar or any of the other inevitable Northeast surprises.

See you there!

[Selma Fernandez Richter, Untitled.]

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