and representing. . . part 1

One of our major goals with expanding the gallery (see the post here about moving into a larger space) was to take on more artists to represent.  Representing photographers is an interesting business.  Typically it means you will show their work and promote them, usually by giving them a solo show every year or two.  “Typically” isn’t really in our vocabulary.  We have a different approach to the gallery model – one focused not only on moving forward the careers of our artists, but also on pushing the Atlanta (and online) photography communities in new directions through community building and collaboration.  In case this sounds like fluff. . . we do not want to just scroll through our roster of represented artists and do solo show after solo show.  We want to do conceptual shows and present work to the photo community that is important and current.  We want to offer educational programs and be a resource to photographers as well as collectors.  We want to be accessible and relevant.  And because we may not offer an annual solo show to photographers, we instead work very closely with them to help them achieve their goals – whether it be exposure (see Lori Vrba’s solo show in New Orleans) or publication or anything else.

So for us, taking on a new photographer to represent is a big deal.  We have to gel as a team.  Not only does the work have to blow my mind, I have to want to go on a second date.  And a third.  Because we are going to be in the trenches together.

Ryan and I have been following a few photographers for a while, and I also knew that Photolucida would be really important in terms of being exposed to new talent.  Well let me just say, I was completely caught off-guard when I met Rachel Barrett.  She wasn’t on my list of reviewees, but she pulled me aside in the lobby one day. . . the rest is history.  After texting several other reviewers and telling them to come to the lobby to see this work, like right now, I basically signed her up on the spot.  Her work is incredible, and she speaks about it so eloquently and intelligently.  She is a dream.

"Jana" by Rachel Barrett

She is both a 2010-11 Tierney Fellow and one of PDN’s 2011 30 photographers to watch.  In short, she’s a rock star.  Her work is lyrical, thoughtful, and intensely powerful.  Bolinas, the body of work these two images and the ones I posted previously are from, is about the “deep integration between humans and nature” in an off-the-grid, unincorporated community near San Francisco first established in the 1960s.  Intrigued by the cross-section of reality and fantasy that converge here, as well as by the communal life with a resurgence of back to the land ideologies, Barrett was inspired to create Bolinas and a companion body of work called Josiah’s Farm.

"Brook" by Rachel Barrett

In keeping with one of our blog themes, I thought you may want to know a little bit more about Rachel Barrett.  Perhaps, 25 things more.

25 Things You Don’t Know About Me – Rachel Barrett:

01. I am craving a road trip.
02. I love making photographs on road trips.
03. I prefer to say “make” a photograph instead of “take” a photograph.
04. Even today after almost 20 years of making photographs it still feels like magic.
05. My first photography class was 17 years ago in seventh grade, my elementary school turned the chemistry lab into a darkroom. From the first time I pulled developed film out of the canister, I was hooked.
06. On that first roll of film were photographs of my best friend Jana, ever my subject and muse to today.
07. My father used to photograph my sister and myself constantly as young children. I credit him for instilling in me the value of photographs.
08. My father used to say to me “Rachel don’t make that face” as he was setting us up. I credit him for my desire to be behind the lens and the one in control.
09. Photography is about the balance of at once being in control and letting go.
10. Photography is about collecting – moments, places, people, the past.
11. I am a collector of many things including Polaroid cameras, of which I have 19.
12. I miss shooting Polaroid.
13. Shooting with my Lumix GF1 (thank you Drew…) is pure fun.
14. Shooting with my Mamiya 7II is pure love.
15. For me film and digital photography – like acrylic and oil paint – are simply not the same.
16. The mistakes are often the best part.
17. It’s working when I’m working from my mind + heart + gut.
18. I follow the light.
19. I don’t use flash.
20. Philip Perkis helped me find my way to become the photographer I am today.
21. I like to do it all on my own.
22. I can’t do it all on my own.
23. Sometimes you have to be a yes person and sometimes you have to be a no person. It’s about figuring out when to be which.
24. As a teacher I strongly feel that those who can do teach and those who teach can do better.
25. Since moving to New York City 12 years ago I have said I would leave when there’s somewhere else I want to live more. Finally I figured out where and I am making the move – to Brooklyn.

And there you have it – Rachel Barrett, newly represented, long-time rockstar.

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