Oh the life of a skate wife, endless boo-boos to bandage, beer cans to pick up, decks, wheels, greasy bearings and the various ephemera of skating littering the house. But after military life and dealing with a serious back injury, anything is better than a drill sergeant yelling at you. The photography bug entered her system early and after her service she took the good that came from it and went to school. Today, she is a graduate of the New England School of Photography and is having a show at Orchard’s gallery. The work being featured in that show is a new series of her versions of the Roman Catholic saints cards and some of the semi-tacky renderings that have been mass produced over the years, “drawing inspiration from tchotchke style religious art such as hologram last suppers and light-up Virgin Marys.” A talented photographer with a humorous eye as well as skilled and insightful in the larger scope of the world, there is wisdom beyond her years in her work.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a Boston transplant from Albany, NY. I am a photographer, U.S. Veteran, loving wife of a grown ass skate rat, and mother of two rad cats.
Have you ever been to Canada?
I haven’t ventured over that border yet. But I might be into heading over to look for a few good saints.
The whole country is fairly saint-ish. When you were in the Army, did you hear any good Canadian jokes?
Sadly I did not hear any Canadian jokes in the Army. But maybe I will go in search of some sinners, that's the next project. Did you hear about that gay Canadian porn star that went walking dead on his boyfriend? I mean Canadian sinners have got to exist.
Weapons of choice?
Religion, dirty martinis, grenades, and gummy bears.
How did you get into shooting photos as something more than a pastime?
I think going back to school really pushed me to do it more than a past time. I guess really getting trained and gaining confidence that I could actually make money doing this.
You just graduated from school for photography, what is your degree in and what sort of work would you like to do with it? Aside from working at Starbucks.
I graduated from New England School of Photography with a concentration in Creative Imaging and Editorial Photography. I hope to get work with magazines and continue to exhibit my work, and not work at Starbucks!
You have a show coming up at the Extension Gallery that is above the Orchard shop. The photos that go with this interview are from it. What can you tell us about the photos, was there something that compelled you use religion as a theme?
The series, “Exceptional Holiness” was inspired by growing up Roman Catholic and having a fascination with religious art. The work is a modern take on traditional Roman Catholic Saint cards, drawing inspiration from tchotchke style religious art such as hologram last suppers and light-up Virgin Marys. I approached this work using a similar style where saints and holiness were portrayed. As I got further in this project I added humor to political and social issues and began to explore what modern holiness might look like.
Aside from the prints on the wall, I hear you are doing some other items?
To keep with the religious tchotchke style I made prayer candles, holograms, and wooden plaques with theses saintly images. I wanted to pay tribute to these different accessible mediums that played a big role in my early exposure to art.
You cast Erin (some really Irish last name) as Mary, is that because she lives with the devil known as Jad?
Of course! With every sinner there lies a saint.
On your web site, you have a section featuring older Veterans and you served in the US military. Thank you for your service. What was that experience like?
My experience was interesting. I went in the Army Reserves when I was 17, I got injured on active duty and got a medical discharge at 23. But being a disabled Vet has its perks! The VA paid for my tuition and photo equipment!
Were you shooting photos at the time?
I was; this was the time in my life where I really realized I wanted to be a photographer. My first series I did was at a seedy strip club in Albany. To get access I started bartending there. I still look back and think those photos are powerful and tell the story I wanted tell.
The subjects in your veteran series are Vietnamese vets. what was it about this subject matter that you wanted to photograph?
Vietnam Vets were my main focus for my veteran series. I think Veterans do not get enough recognition, and the Viatnamese vets get even less. These guys fought on our side for their freedom. I call my Vietnamese vets the "Burger King boys". Every morning they meet and have coffee at burger king. That's where I had my first photo shoot with them. They have made me a honorary member of their club. I have coffee with them at least once a week and they actually came to honor me at my graduation.
Where did you serve and what about it inspired you to shoot photos?
Honestly, this answer sucks, it’s long and only really says [that] I got screwed by my Recruiter and didn't get to have the photojournalism job I wanted.
You've been surrounded by skater's for a very very long time and have dealt with the antics of everyone from Fred Gall to bratty 12 year-olds high on Red Bull at demos. Without being specific, who has done the stupidest thing you've seen?
Ok, without being specific, that's hard. I think the stupidest and most amazing thing was when someone put his dick in my bean dip at our Christmas Party. I didn't know him too well at the point so it was definitely weird. But luckily I enjoy sick humor and now give him bean dip every Christmas.
Photographic inspiration: For creative image work I would say David LaChapelle and Jennifer Hudson. For editorial Tom Sanders and Rineke Dijkstra.
Any thank yous or fuck yous?
A special thanks to my loving and supportive husband Armin, my mom and dad, my brothers, Jackie, Diana, and all of my supportive friends. My professors at NESOP who inspired me: Dana Smith and Sue Anne Hodges. Oh and Orange Guy and Chicka for always staying fluffy.