Photographic Alphabet: R is for Lissa Rivera
Lissa Rivera is a photographer and curator based in Brooklyn, NY. Rivera received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, where she became fascinated with the social history of photography and the evolution of identity, sexuality and gender in relationship to material culture. ‘Beautiful Boy,’ Rivera’s latest project, takes her interest in photography’s connection with identity to a personal level, focusing on her domestic partner as muse.
The Silence of Spaces is a personal reckoning with the inescapable connections between religious faith, gender, and the body. The series is set in an isolated religious complex that has been home to multiple belief systems, with layers of history as palpable as its peeling layers of paint. Constructed as a male-only Catholic seminary, it has also been, at various times, a public junior high, an ‘alternative’ medicine resort, and the center of an evangelical ministry dedicated to promoting sexual purity for adolescent girls. The project’s portraits of myself and my partner BJ build on my previous series, Beautiful Boy, an investigation of feminine imagery from across the history of photography and cinema. Set in a series of ambiguous, often charged spaces that betray a multiplicity of pasts, the photographs explore the tension between the inherent shame that surrounds the feminine body in our culture, the literal deification of masculinity that frequently accompanies it, and the beauty and surprising androgyny of much religious imagery.
To find out more about Lissa Rivera’s work please click here.