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Photographer, Scholar Myra Greene to Join Spelman Faculty Share a Spelman College Press Release

Spelman College

Myra Green 4-17 (web)ATLANTA (June 12, 2017) -- Renowned photographer, artist and scholar Myra Greene will join the Spelman College Department of Art & Visual Culture faculty in fall 2017. She will oversee the new photography major in the department.

As a faculty member, Greene, who served as the 2016-2017 Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Spelman, will continue her creative use of photography and art to explore identity politics, perceptions of race, prejudice and culture.

“Myra Greene’s tenure as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar has helped us to deepen our understanding of each other, and past, and the future,” said Myra Burnett, Ph.D., Spelman vice president of institutional research, planning and effectiveness. “Her work is intriguing because it invites us on a philosophical and psychological journey to reinterpret the familiar, connecting on a deeper level to what we think and feel. We are delighted that she shares her monumental talents with the Spelman community.”

During her yearlong residency, Greene taught “Photographic Visions,” which introduced Spelman students to the technical skills of the craft while guiding them through the creative process of self-discovery through deconstructing African fabrics and other materials.

Myra Greene Culminating Event2 4-17In her culminating art exhibit and gallery talk at Spelman in April, Greene discussed her creative process. She presented new pieces that melded fabric, embroidery, technology and photography into layered collages, many of which were created with high-tech equipment in the College’s Innovation Lab.

“I’m really thinking about identity formation and what is seen and unseen when one considers identity,” Greene said of her work. “For me, it layers experiences and events – who we are and who we let others see and not see.”

Throughout her career, the New York City native has explored a range of photographic processes to engage issues about the body, memory, cultural immersion and the ever-shifting identity of African Americans.

For her book “My White Friends (2007-2013),” Greene created portraits of cross sections of white American life. In “Character Recognition,” she made a series of black glass ambrotypes, a historic photographic process linked to ethnographic classification, to repeatedly explore her ethnic features in a sequence of close-ups.

Greene’s introduction to Spelman came in 2009 when the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art became one of the first institutions to purchase her work. Photographs from her “Character Recognition” series were included in the Museum’s fall 2009 exhibition, “Undercover: Performing and Transforming Black Female Identities.”

In spring 2016, she made her first visit to the campus to discuss the residency. The “newness” of the opportunity – to create work in the College’s Innovation Lab and interact with Spelman students – was appealing, she said. “I think it is a very supportive space,” Greene said at the start of her residency last fall. “And I hope that allows for both my students and me to take risks, knowing they are in a safe space. Allowing a variety of voices is compelling.”

For Lexus Phillips, C’2017, who took “Photographic Visions” during the spring semester, the course offered another artistic medium with which to convey her experiences and create art that makes a political and social statement.

“Professor Greene has pushed me to do so much internal reflection on what it is that I want to convey to the world through my work, and in the process breaching a new kind of vulnerability within myself,” said Phillips, who received her degree in comparative women’s studies major in May. “She has been a catalyst for my creativity to breathe in a different way.”


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