Carrie Mae Weems, "The Work Tells you what it Needs"

Carrie Mae Weems is a black, American, narrative photographer who is known for her documentary work on race, feminism, and identity. I have had the chance to present and research Weems for numerous class projects for the past ten weeks. I have been fascinated with the articles and books that has led me to understand her as a person as well as an artist. I was shocked to learn, that in 2013 she was the first Black woman photographer to have a solo photo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. In 2014, amongst many BET honorees she received the Visual Arts Award presented by Hip-Hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons.  

It is not easy as an up and coming photographer to know what your work will be categorized amongst viewers and other artists. I personally thrive off photographing clothing and products that promote fashion brands, yet have found myself more passionate about concepts that have purpose or symbolic meaning. Carrie Mae Weems' body of work The Kitchen Table Series contains black and white images that identify with women in different roles. A mother, a significant other, a friend, and balancing an internal relationship with yourself are subjects every woman can relate to. I found this series self-empowering, in my personal life as well as my role as an artist. 

 

Carrie Mae Weems' Fresh Talk at the National Museum of the Women in the Arts is a noble speech answering the question, " Can an artist inspire social change?" From that presentation I will always take this quote with me. 

 

“One important thing you learn as an artist, if you're focused, really, really focused, the work tells you what it needs, what it needs to be, and embedded in every project, is the beginning of the next project.”

 

-Carrie Mae Weems