Miranda Barnes is a photographer and blogger from New York. A woman of many talents, Miranda impressed us with her effortless photography style and with the work she's doing to support other females, particularly women of colour, in the creative industry. We talked with Miranda via email to learn more about her.
CM: Hey! So, lets start with something simple. Where do you come from?
Miranda: Hiya COZY! I'm from Brooklyn NY, raised in Long Island. I've lived in New York my entire life.
CM: When did you decide you wanted to be a photographer? Is that where it stops for you or do you have other aspirations?
M: I started to pursue photography my junior-senior year of high school. I received a digital camera for my 16th birthday, but opted to use disposable cameras in the following months. I've always thought I wanted to do just photography, but I'm studying Criminal Justice and Photography to ultimately get a job working as a forensic photographer, which will still give me the flexibility for freelance and any other art related jobs I want to pursue.
CM: Given that you're studying Criminal Justice at university- how do you think this impacted your perspective when photographing your “Black Lives Matter” series?
M: My love for criminal justice intertwines with that series because it's something I've become very passionate about and want more people who don't understand the movement to open their ears and eyes. I've always known America was built on racism, but after doing actual research for the criminal justice classes I had last year, it boggled my mind at how America has treated us and continues to do so. So yeah, criminal justice has definitely impacted my perspective and in the best way possible.
CM: What camera do you use?
M: I rotate between my olympus mju ii, contax t2, and disposable cameras. For digital, I use my canon rebel t5i.
CM: What’s your favourite thing to photograph?
M: Life, as cliche as that sounds. I carry my camera everywhere I go. I still enjoy the mystery film brings and only snap when I feel the moment is right.
CM: You seem like you love to travel, do you think that it’s important as an artist to do so?
M: Definitely. Whether it's going to school out of state, taking weekend road trips or making plans to visit different countries, I think it's important for the mind to grow and experience life outside of where you're from. In 2013, I promised myself to travel to at least one different place each year. I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had in the past to travel and I'm looking forward to where I will go next.
CM: Tell me more about your “Identity” series.
M: Identity is a series I started at the beginning of this year that focuses on the labels, particularly when it comes to hair, which society puts on black women. These labels unfortunately result in people identifying black women by nothing more than this. I decided to photograph products that women of colour know and use for their hair. Being biracial and attending a primarily all white school, I hated my hair and yearned for the texture my classmates had. It wasn't until 2 to 3 years ago I finally fell in love with my blackness and everything that comes with that. The series is a work in progress because I am still learning about the color of my skin and what it means to be a black woman in America.
CM: Do you think being a young black woman, it makes it tougher for you in the industry?
M: Yes. While in general for women, representation has gotten better over the years (still not where it should be), there's still a very visible under-representation when it comes to women of color in the art world. I know I am going to have a harder time in this field because of the color of my skin. But, I hope it's something that the next generation of black female artists don't have to go through. And that's what motivates me. If you don't know any black women in the art world, go out and find them. Support them. Because we are here.
CM: You also run a blog “Real Girls Doing Real Things”- what inspired you to start that and why do you think it’s important?
M: I was inspired to start RGDRT because I either knew or was meeting so many genuine girls that the internet was not familiar with. I felt it was important to start a blog that highlighted young women doing cool things because that's always inspirational. I feel great when there's a new feature because the website is not about me at all. Young women especially should be building one another up and this is just my little part to contribute to that.
CM: We also love your other blog, “Brown Girl Collective”- tell us more about what your plans are for that too!
M: BGC is something I'm really looking forward to building up this year! The idea stemmed from being super frustrated with the lack of diversity in art shows, online collectives, etc that I was witnessing last year. I thought, why not start a place where I can give a platform to fellow WOC artists to find each other as well as a space allowing them to showcase their work.
CM: Finally, where do you see yourself and your work in the future? Do you hope to continue with your other projects as well as photography?
M: I can't answer that question, but all I hope is it's somewhere positive. I do hope to continue the projects I've started for as long as I can because they are topics I will never not be passionate about.
FOLLOW MIRANDA'S JOURNEY HERE.
Interview led by Neela (@Foxyneela)