The Photographic Alphabet: W is for Carrie Mae Weems
By Tyler Austin
Carrie mae Weems is an artist who often uses her political climate as inspiration for her artwork.
Navigating the world as a woman, let alone a woman of color, has created an experience that is often overlooked and brushed aside within the art world.
The creative mediums that she uses to express these experiences stretch well beyond the grasp of many of her peers: photography, fabric, audio, digital images, and video are just a few of the ones she frequents.
Photographing the pieces of life from the perspective that she's faced pushes those who relate with her experience to connect with her art on a deeper more intimate level and offers others a small window into the lives of people like her.
Her call to visibility extends beyond her art as well, to help in the fight against injustices she resides on the board for People for the American Way, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and The Gifford Foundation.
Weems caught much attention with the iconic stills from her project “The Kitchen Table Series,” which catalogs different moments in the life of a woman as seen from the perspective of her kitchen table. The photos range from intimate moments with a lover, a caring relationship with a young girl and even a few vulnerable moments with herself. The camera throughout the entire project is shot from the same position and is representative of the different relationships between groups.
She uses the kitchen to display these relationships because historically it has belonged to women, so any confrontation or interactions between these groups would likely happen there.
Weems speaks on the work, saying it depicts "the battle around the family ... monogamy ... and between the sexes."