Khalid

Flesh Tones: A Celebration of Flesh Decorations

My soul told me that I had to produce a beautiful, respectful art show that “celebrated” people with flesh decorations.  My soul told me that the goal had to be to improve the definition of the human family, to bring people together, to create new support groups, to make new friends, to improve understanding that would make first contact more loving.

These words are taken from Suellen Hozman about her latest photography exhibit at Art Alley in Lansing, MI. I had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremony two weeks ago and I left it in absolute awe of her work. Suellen is a Lansingite and a sweetheart with a loving personality. She is among the dying breed of photographers who are still shooting and developing film. I met her a year and a half ago at a lecture and I was immediately drawn to her way of making people feel comfortable. Suellen takes truly stunning and captivating portraits, and uses available light to capture her subject. The people she photographs seem incredibly at ease in front of her lens; however, this comes as no surprise since Suellen’s bubbly personality is the perfect ingredient for making insta-friends.

The Fleshtones exhibition is a perfect example at how skillfully Suellen is able to capture her subject’s personality. Her portraits are engaging and tell stories beyond what words can describe. This photography exhibit is a celebration of our flesh and how each of us live in our skin in unique ways. Each image in this show is a portrait of someone with skin decorations ranging from beards, wrinkles and tattoos to aleopecia and albinism.

The show is especially interesting because these portraits are accompanied by autobiographical profiles of each of the subjects about their life experiences in their flesh. Suellen told me that this is the subjects’ exhibit as much as it is hers. Each of these profiles are presented adjacent to the respective portraits and each subject use used their raw, unedited voice to describe what their flesh means to them.

Suellen hopes that this exhibit will give the audience a glimpse beyond a person’s skin. Almost everyone in the exhibit had gone through a transition when they abandoned influence by societal norms regarding what they should look like. This exhibit was a reawakening about our visually-centric judgements for people we see.

I highly recommend visiting this local exhibit. I feel fortunate to have visionaries like Suellen in Lansing and the luxury to see exhibitions like this just a few blocks from Downtown Lansing. The exhibit will be running until October 12 and the gallery can set up viewing times by appointment.

REO Art Alley
1133 South Washington Ave.
Lansing, MI 48910
Flesh Tones
September 2 – October 12, 2011
Gallery Hours
Mondays 10:00am – 3:00pm
Tuesdays 10:00am – 3:00pm
Other hours are by appointment.
Please contact dwilson@reoartalley.com or call Diane at 517-898-4046
NOTE: Suellen has is very respectful of people she photgrahs. She has asked that we also respect these digital versions of her image and not copy them.