Photographer Interview: Lola Flash

Photographer Lola Flash as Barack ObamaWhere are you from? Montclair, NJ

How did you get started in photography – any “formal” training?
Had a camera for as long as I can remember. Started off with a Minox and then in High School, my mom bought me a 35mm Yaschica. Went to Maryland Institute College of Art for BA in photography and later received my MA from London College of Communication

What cameras or techniques do you use?
I use a Toyo View camera – 4×5 format, film

Who are your mentors (in photography)?
Dawoud Bey, Carrie Mae Weems, Gordon Parks, David LaChappelle, Diane Arbus, Romare Bearden, Hank Willis Thomas, Renee Cox and Richard Avedon (to name a few)

Have you experienced any setbacks or different treatment along your photography career that you would attribute to being a photographer of color? (this question is optional)
Let’s just say that I am both optimistic and hopeful that the art world will become more inclusive before I R.I.P.

When did you realize you could make a living at photography? Describe your journey towards becoming a pro.
I have never come to this realization. I teach to buy film!

What do you hope to achieve with your photography?
I am a committed artist using photography to challenge stereotypes and offer ‘new ways of seeing’ – who brings many years of experience as a teacher, photographer, woman – a variety of diverse skills derived from engaging in high and low art, working with children, adolescents and adults from diverse cultural backgrounds, from traveling and enjoying life as such. My passion for the medium of photography and its ability to visually allure while initiating change and progress has brought me this far. I welcome sharing my ideas with those who are willing to not only look but see.

What’s your dream photography project?

At present, I would have to say that I have already begun my dream project, [sur]passsing. It is an on-going series based on a series of larger than life size color portraits that probe the impact skin pigmentation plays on black identity and consciousness. I have begun adding to my model base and shooting models that I admire who have risen above the “color-line”. I have already shot Carrie Mae Weems, this year I am shooting Henry Louise Gates, Jr AND hopefully Barack Obama!

What are you shooting now?

I’m working on a series of portraits called epicene, which challenges conventional notions of gender.

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