What It Means to Be SEEN
The group show is dedicated to the work of the Creator Labs’ Season Six cohort. The Creator Labs incubator supports photographers and directors as they pursue work with a strong sense of social impact—all photographed on Google Pixel.
You can experience SEEN on view at SN37 Gallery. Due to overwhelming demand, the show has been extended through July 3, 2022. You can also preview the diverse talent featured in the show, and learn more about their artistic and social inspirations, right here.
Image-maker Glassface (aka Joshua Goldenberg) has worked with Lil’ Yachty, Kendrick Lamar and Drake, and founded his production/post studio called Faceworld Studios in 2019. His ongoing “Ultradreamer” series combines film, photos and 3D graphics and incorporates themes of mental health. “‘Ultradreamer’ is about the idea that creativity is a superpower—and with that comes both positive and negative,” says Goldenberg. “The latest images are meant to show some of our ‘Ultradreamer’ alums, including Tobi Lou, Cousin Stizz, Goodnightmeesh, and myself, rising to their highest form and harnessing their powers.” Goldenberg notes that the photos in “Ultradreamer” have almost no retouching. “Photographic exposure has historically not been suited for darker skin tones [but] SEEN to me is heavily about Google Pixel’s Real Tone tech, and the fact that they’ve introduced a solution for skin tone bias.”
“It’s very important for image-makers to explore self portraiture—especially during transitional moments in their lives,” says photographer Carter, who has shot for the New York Times and photographed Beyoncé for the cover of British Vogue. For SEEN, Carter turned the lens on herself, documenting her transformation into motherhood. “I gave birth to my son in a very traumatic way. These images not only documented that time, but I used the lens as a form of catharsis—to give myself purpose during a tumultuous time in my family’s life.” Carter’s images are known for highlighting the aesthetic and sociopolitical aspects of Black life. For her, the word seen “means to actively view everywhere and everyone with intention and love, which is the guiding force behind my work. I am deeply in love with sitters that are willing to bear themselves to me for an image.”
Photographer and performance artist MaryV’s latest series for Creator Labs, “Knowing Self: Authenticity,” is a series of three self-portraits, each image exploring a unique character. “Each represents different emotions, feelings, or spirits that live within me,” explains MaryV. “I don’t fully understand myself yet; but allowing space to experiment with the expression and experience of these personas allowed me a deepening understanding of myself.” MaryV’s self-exploration aligns well with the overall theme of the show: “Beyond solely being seen, I add to the definition the act of being understood,” she says. “Self-reflection can be the most painful yet beautiful unique experience for a human. I’m using my art to connect into myself artistically, mentally, emotionally, physically, environmentally, sexually, socially, and spiritually.”
“Making people, especially my subjects, feel seen is one of my biggest priorities as a photographer,” says Myles Loftin, who aims to bring the experiences of queer and black communities to the fore in his work. For this latest Creator Labs series, Loftin focused on Black subjects with tattoos—an art form he considers a powerful form of self-expression. “When I did the casting for this project, I wanted to be sure that I included darker-skinned subjects,” he says. “In a lot of my work, my goal is to create the sorts of images that I want to see in the world. I’ve noticed that on a lot of tattoo artists’ pages they don’t show how their work looks on dark skin, and the Pixel (with its Real Tone technology) is the perfect device to capture the beauty of tattooed skin.”
For, “West Coast Moods,” the second iteration of his ongoing series, “Coastal Moods,” filmmaker and composer Tim Kellner, captured rugged scenes of Sweden’s west coast. “Every different landscape in nature pulls a different emotion or feeling out of me,” he explains. “Sometimes it takes hours of sitting still and not focusing on anything else to have one clear feeling.” Viewing his work in SEEN, it is easy to consider the images moody and stark. But, as Kellner describes, “it starts with a feeling of loneliness and sadness but slowly works its way to peaceful and nostalgic and alone. I believe taking the time to do this helps me to sort out what might be negative feelings into something that I can understand and express and maybe change.”