MYRIAM ABDELAZIZ | NEW YORK NY, USA
Myriam Abdelaziz is a French/American photographer born in Cairo, Egypt.
She received a BA in Political Science; a Master in Journalism and a MBA specialized in International Marketing. Her career started in the corporate marketing world in which she worked for seven years before deciding to change gear and pursue a profession in Photography, her long lifetime passion.
Myriam graduated from the International Center of Photography in 2006 and has been based in New York City since.
She was named by the Magenta Foundation one of the 25 Emerging Photographers in the USA in 2009 and is a winner of the Lens Culture Emerging Talent prize and American Photography #24, as well as a finalist of La Bourse du Talent and PhotoEspana.
Myriam’s work tells the stories of its participants. Her inquiry into the tales of people takes her around the globe searching for narratives that overcome physical and cultural barriers and often reveal what we have in common: glimpses of solitude, hope, insecurity, dignity. Her work captures moments where something inner is revealed.
Her images have been published in prestigious magazines such as American Photography, Newsweek, Time Magazine, Smithsonian, Le Monde, Liberation, Courrier International, Marie-Claire, Eyemazing and the British Journal of Photography among many others as well as featured in various solo and group exhibitions in Europe, the Middle East and the USA.
What is your work about?
In August 2015, after 10 years of living in the United States, I received an email from my immigration attorney, asking me if I was ready to file for American citizenship. I soon realized that I didn’t know. Having lived in New York for a decade I knew I was ready to be called a New Yorker. But an American? A year later I still had my doubts, so I took the road and went to meet “The People.” I drove 10,000 miles in 3 months, photographing the ones I met.
I was welcomed. The People were eager to help me with my project, proposing itineraries, offering hospitality in their homes and contacts down the road. My doubts about fitting in as an American faded as a sense of belonging grew. A month after my last sortie, Donald Trump was elected as President, leaving the world aghast: Who voted for him? What did that mean? What was going to happen now?
‘We the People’ is a book project – a catalog of Americans from all paths of life, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, social class, political affiliation and sexual orientation. All portraits will be anonymous, and all excerpts from conversations with subjects will be scattered randomly throughout the book, preempting the attachment of any quote to any particular portrait. My aim is not to create yet another collection of individual biographies, but to sketch the outlines a national biography – through the faces and situations that make up “We, the people”.
How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
I have always used film, I never liked the digital tools, they don’t feel photographic enough to me.
My work is about capturing something that is revealed through portraiture, stopping the moment when someone tells me about who he or she is. It is about slowing down, connecting with the subject and shooting little but precisely. This approach fits better with an analog tool… the digital leads us often to shoot faster, to shoot more and less precisely, then editing to find the right frame. I feel that I need to edit when I click on the shutter.