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Pimpin' Ain't Easy: The Photography of Theresa Edmonds


Theresa Edmonds is a young photographer who recently completed her MFA from the International Center of Photography-Bard. Theresa was born and raised in New York; this is somehow very obvious in her photography. I think it’s mainly the claustrophobic compositions and gritty quality of her work since the east cost is an old, cramped and gritty place.

Theresa's photographs, which are usually shot indoors, expose people who have set the bar entirely too low. These are people who countless self-help books have called crazy-makers, saboteurs and a myriad of other names. Unsurprisingly, their natural surroundings tend to be small, dark, oppressive rooms, and that is where Theresa photographs them. Her choice of milieu allows Theresa to expose them as scared- and subsequently angry- people who truly believe that they were dealt a raw deck in this life.

Theresa holds nothing back, and these photographs are not of random people that she happens to encounter, they are literally her family. The photographs document her life: from her Manifesto outlining how to successfully acquire and dispose of ‘one-time-use’ sexual partners, to her drunk and violent father who became a paraplegic while showing off his back flip. These photographs draw you in like reality TV; we want the gruesome details. Praying on our voyeuristic tendencies, Theresa makes us want more. In response, she has obliged with a video containing 20 minutes of stories about her father told from the perspective of her mother, who, it would seem, has learned much since those days. A second video entitled, Hook Up Diaries, is of kids telling personal accounts of what appears to be "My Worst Hook Up" stories, all told with young pride.

Each of Theresa's photographs tell multiple stories that, as in life, cannot be entirely traced. The photographs are not romantic; they’re real.

Jeanette is a photograph of a girl sitting; riddled with fear, hiding behind Hollywood strength, cigarette in hand, completely stone-faced. She has learned so much of what she knows from the television.

Looking at Leave, we are overcome with the realization that we do not know the scale of this piece. The hat seems too big; the shadow is awkward, the doorknob is taking way too much importance, and everything seems alien. The writings on Galerie St George's website reveal that this is the last time Theresa saw her father.

I am looking forward to a time when Theresa sees real strength in both herself and the people with which she surrounds herself. Yes, these photographs will leave an impression on you; not very a hopeful one, but I don't feel that suburban America can offer us that kind of future.

I met Theresa through Gary Brant of Galerie St. George, who is Theresa's exclusive world wide manager. Brant says Theresa's work "portray(s) a depressed and alienated youth culture inside the confines of suburban sprawl, depicted as a dangerous outpost world." I agree wholeheartedly. If you are interested in purchasing any of Theresa's work, feel free to visit ThersaEdmonds.com and the website of Galerie St George, or call 917-378-2525.

I recently interviewed Theresa about her work and here is that interview in its entirety.
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All images used with permission of Galerie St George

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