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Photographer focuses on turning time into ‘Blur’
Melissa Alexander’s exhibit at CPCC Oct. 16-Dec. 12
Published Wednesday, August 14, 2019 10:50 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Melissa Alexander, whose photography inspired the exhibit “Bloom” in Atlanta, has a new exhibit, “Blur,” coming to Charlotte.

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Melissa Alexander is using her camera as a tool for empowerment.

The Atlanta-based photographer heads to Charlotte for her exhibit “Blur: A Community Portrait Project,” curated by Jonell Logan and housed in Central Piedmont Community College’s Ross Art Gallery Oct. 16-Dec. 12. Alexander will hold portrait sessions on Aug. 26-27 from 3-7 p.m.—space that has already been filled. The photographs will not be available for purchase, as they are for the exhibit.

“We’re trying to find—and we’re still in the process of that—objects that represent time,” Alexander said. “How can time not so much be manipulated, but more like appreciated?”

Said Logan: “She’s a great emerging photographer who is really interested in thinking about how to use photography, not to take people’s images, but to empower people through imagery.”

Alexander’s work plays on the literal and figurative in a thematic spectrum across future and previous works, such as “Bloom” at Spellman College.

“Spellman being a women’s college in Atlanta, she really kind of focused on women and young women, and the dynamics that kind of happen between them,” Logan said. “It was called ‘Bloom,’ so she used flowers as props, and really created these wonderful images that encouraged women to embrace their beauty and the things that make them unique.”

Said Alexander: “‘Bloom’ was very much into self-image and seeing yourself in the best light, which was similar to ‘Light Study,’ so ‘Blur’ might be a combination of the two in a way, just in that we are appreciating where we are now, and we’re seeing our inner light in a very celebratory kind of way.”

“Blur” emerged from their desire to examine time.

“Jonell and I have worked together before,” Alexander said. “She asked, ‘what are you feeling? What’s going on with you? What themes are you wanting to explore?’ We came around to this idea of ‘Blur,’ which is stopping time, because it does pass in a blur, and what does that blur look like? What does that moment in time look like? That is something to be celebrated. Something to be remembered.”

Said Logan: “Historically, part of my mission has been to work with and support emerging artists in real ways.  This is a great opportunity to actually do that—to support Melissa in her process and to introduce her work to a larger group of people. She’s well known in Atlanta. What is her impact here?”

Logan wants to expand the way photography is discussed.

“Who takes the image?” Logan asked. “Who has the rights to the image? How do we even go through that process of image making? It is very much about what kind of community and collective engagement, versus someone just kind of running up on a subject so to speak and taking their picture, and then disappearing. It’s so great to connect with CPCC, and support the work the gallery has been doing. They have an incredibly strong arts program at the school, period. It’s really nice to be able to connect and provide a creative space where we are collectively supporting what students can learn about the art process and supporting the continued program of connecting with contemporary artists.”

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