Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

Posted at June 16, 2011 by Comments Off

Sroman 150x150 Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

“In a way, it asks why can’t a porta-potty be beautiful?” — Selina Roman talking about her photograph “Waiting.”

Selina Roman used to consider her photography to be more of a hobby while she worked as a journalist for a daily newspaper. It wasn’t until she left the daily grind of the newsroom and moved to Miami that she started taking her photography more seriously.

Six years later, Selina has completed several photo projects, and more are in the works. Some of them include “Ur in or Ur Out,” photos depicting glamorous models next to porta-pottys, and “The Burqa Project,” a series of photos of women dressed in burqas. Currently, she is working on her MFA degree at the University of South Florida and splits her time between Miami and Tampa. According to the Lucie Foundation, Selina’s photographs “document the remnants of human lives and tell a story of temporal beauty in unwanted places.”

Where does your fascination with porta-potties come from?Burqa Photo Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

My dad worked in construction so they’ve always been in my consciousness.

I got the idea to take a bunch of photos with porta-potties while working on a fashion shoot and saw a porta-potty all by its self. I just thought it’d be funny to take pictures of girls in these beautiful couture dresses waiting in line for the porta-potty. That’s the image that’s called “waiting.” In a way, it asks why can’t a porta-potty be beautiful?

Are u still working on your burqa photos?

Yea, that’s an ongoing thing.

Have you ever shared those at school?

Yea with the undergrads and the professors. So far everyone has been pretty OK with it. I haven’t really had an overt negative reaction, which I’m always bracing for. I reached out to the Islamic group here at school, and they were pretty cool with it. I wasn’t sure how they’d react—because, you know, I’m taking something that has a religious meaning and having my way with it—but they were really positive and supportive. They told me that they were really happy that somebody was looking at the burqa as this idea of veiling and beautiful. I know a lot of time it is portrayed as something that is only negative. It’s something that’s not going away. I used to always wonder if my work was relevant, and then I read news stories and I’m like yea, it’s relevant.

Do you feel like you want to change the way people see burqas?

I mean there’s definitely a negative side too. I wouldn’t want someone telling me that I have to wear this all the time, but at the same time, I don’t want someone telling me that I can’t wear this even if I want to. So I think it’s the same argument at work just a different end of it. I guess I’m just hoping that people will see that other side. And if anything, just to get them to think about it a little more.

Are you going to live in Miami after you graduate?

That’s the plan. The only reason that I’m not in Miami now is because I have to be in Tampa for school.

What do you love about Miami?

I know Miami still has a long way to go, but it is cosmopolitan on a lot of levels, and I think the art scene is really thriving. It doesn’t rival New York, but it’s definitely holding it’s own in the art world. I think it’s exciting that there are opportunities there for me as an artist.

What are some of those opportunities?

There are a lot of great artist assistant programs in Miami. I don’t know how it is now with the economic climate, but I know there have been grants for artists. Also, the access to galleries and events like the art walk is a big deal in that you’re able to have a dialogue with contemporary people in the art world. I’m not saying that anything will definitely come from it, but at least you have that as a resource. You can meet other artists and people that may eventually buy your work. I think that’s super important.

How do you connect with other local artists?

I’ve met a lot of local artists through the collective I’m with, Diaspora Vibe Gallery. The lady that runs the gallery, Rosie Gordon-Wallace, deals with contemporary Caribbean art. It’s amazing to see all of that talent and diversity from people with different backgrounds.

Where else do you show your work?

Once a year Rosie has an international exchange and we go to a Caribbean country. This year I got to show my work in Barbados, and last year we went to Puerto Rico. Going back to what you had asked about opportunities for artists, the grant that is needed to take that trip once a year is made possible by the county commissioners. They allot that money for us to take that trip and show our work. I don’t want it to sound like a plug, I’m just saying that when a county designates money for that it affects people in a good way and that’s why arts funding is so important.

You can check out Selina’s work at www.selinaroman.com.

 Q&A with Miami Photographer Selina Roman

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Category : Arts,Uncategorized
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