An interview: Zoe Massey, Peruvian photographer.

From the series "Houses".
Mi Perú de Bolsillo, Zoe Massey.
From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.
Zoë P Massey is a Peruvian photographer working in visual arts since 1999; with numerous solo and group exhibitions today she share something about her and her work.



- What made you choose photography as medium of expression?  Any artistic background in the family?
I always liked arts, photography was a big hobby while growing up and signed in for short photo workshop and totally fell in love with it the first day we worked in the darkroom.
My father is an artist though I didn’t grow u with him, but my mother was an arts and life lover while gradma a great arts journalist.


 
- This images, are the product of experimentation?
I believe all arts are product of experimentation.
- Why a digital composition and not the representation of reality as it is?
What is reality? And why would that be a limit? Arts are a never ending source of exploring, playing, discovering tools. So I embrace that.

- So your approach to create something is more like lets’ see what happens if I do this or if I put this here?
I tend to let my imagination flow, experiment with materials and colors, digital or physical collages. Ideas go morphing as work starts evolving.

- What is the reason of these images?
No special reason, just all of them are free flying objects, just made a list of floating and flying images to recreate spaces.


- We have no balloons in Lima, neither airships, so why such alien objects?
There were balloons some not that far time ago maybe you weren’t here yet; and again why should we restrain ourselves only to what we see? That would be the biggest wall in an artistic life and work.

- So have you seen those in Lima or in old family photos? 
Yes of course, balloons here were used for bungee jumping as well as for tourism. You sound surprised about them, but as I said, restraining ourselves to work only with what we get to see in our lives would create a limit. And …the sky is the limit. Or maybe not even so.

- The circular frame, is just  for an aesthetic reason or has it some meaning/symbolism?
No symbolism, just playing with non-traditional formats it came up that circles are less static than squares or rectangles, helping the whole floating image and feeling to work better.



- You have a series of snapshots of garbage in your Facebook page. Don't you think it will be more interesting or  provocative to make good art works from it and exhibit it the same city? and why?
Not meant to be an art work, I am a writer in a local newspaper too, a communication person, so these were made in order to inform and report, that was the objective.
- So you write for a newspaper? What do you write about?
I write for Publimetro (Metro in other countries) on arts and cultural events in Lima.
I also write for Rumbos, a tourism online magazine on environmental issues, and sometimes collaborate with social campaigns Like “Glass is Life” in which different writers and bloggers support the use of glass instead of plastic.

- Do you think that as a photographer, you have some social responsibility, especially now that Peru is changing?
Not as photographer, teacher or writer but as Peruvian, we are all responsible.
Peru is not Lima, there is more money sure, but not for everyone. Segmentation, racism, poor education, health, security is still the same. I cannot say that Peru is changing positively; it's just turning into a much more consumerist country regardless of the past, present or future. Having more restaurants doesn’t mean there is a better country.
Young people have been protesting always. Been part of it before, support some of their causes today. As I mentioned its responsibility of all of us. 
From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

From the series "Mi Perú de Bolsillo" by Zoe Massey.

 - You have the sky as an important element in your images more accomplished images,in my opinion, why?
I like open spaces in daily living. The ocean, the sky, mountains, etc. Nature in general.

- And the sky is blue not grey as it is in Lima half of the year, do you like Lima? or is a way to escape?
I have no need to escape I’m lucky enough to be able to travel in Peru as much as possible and capture a bit of everything from those trips. That series is called “Mi Peru de Bolsillo” and are collages of different parts of Peru, coast, mountains and jungle. There are also some grey skies in those collages.

- So do you like Lima?
I love Peru, I don’t really like many  people from Lima, but you can't put everyone on the same bag, can you?
All places in Peru have a special thing to give, show and from which to learn. I don’t like chaos, noise and disrespectful selfish people so that is society not the city itself.

- You did a workshop for children with special needs, how was that experience and did it influence your work or some photographic series?
Probably one of the best working experiences so far and no, no influence in my pictures but a better understanding of their world and the way they see the rest of it, how we must trust, support and encourage special needs people and how there’s always more to learn from everyone.

- You have tattoos of dragonflies, why those insects?
Let’s just say. I really like them. Not much behind that. And not the only tattoos I have, they all represent some important stage of my life, or loved ones.

- So if they all represent some stage in your life it does have a meaning, even if is not an important one.
They are all important.

- What is the best lesson you remember from your days as a student of photography?
As natural learning, the importance of self-criticism and accepting and understanding opinions on my work in order to make it better.
As academic learning, the fact that you can work with several different formats and materials, that photography is not a one dimensional art limited to printing paper.

"It was not you, is me"
- Your show  "It was not you, is me"  is very different from the rest of your work that can be seen in your websites,  this is mainly eyes and mouths, what was behind this idea?
That is actually my 4th solo, and more than 10th group show. Its not that different as I had already worked in art installations and participative projects before. I like the idea of bringing the viewer to be part of the art show. In this case pictures were sent from dozens of people, known and unknown to me and from several parts of the world creating a sort of collective work.
It is a piece thought of being only of eyes as to change the perspective of the photographer-observer to become the one observed

- Are you working in some new series now?
Not now, I am focusing on environmental installations, taking part in art festivals related to this issue. Recently presented an art project on a festival parallel to COP20 in Lima and will do something similar in March again.

- What is the COP20?
Conference of the Parties number 20 as it was the 20th meeting since it was founded, being the most important international and annual meeting on worldwide environmental issues, control on gas emissions , etc. in 2014 it was held in Lima, next year it will be held in Paris. You can find out more here http://www.cop20lima.org

From the series "Houses".

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