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Studio Visit - Jaimie Milner

Studio Visit - Jaimie Milner

Studio Visit - Jaimie Milner

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Studio Visit with Jaimie Milner

Jaimie Milner is a photographer based in Los Angeles who brings contemporary black life into focus by photographing men unguarded in moments of their life. Built on the want to create a change in perception of the men around her, she has spent the past eight years capturing their lively and talented souls, combining the practice of social commentary and visual art.

Q.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be an artist…


A.

My name is Jaimie Milner. I’m a woman obsessed with connection and people. I have an affinity for beautiful things and especially highlighting the beauty in people. I love finding all the things people try to cover up especially their insecurity. It makes them human and I find that to be beautiful.

Q.

What do you listen to when creating?


A.

I love instrumental music when I’m working. West African instrumentals are my go to. I love Ali Farka Toure and also west coast hip-hop instrumentals.

Q.

When do you make your best work?


A.

I make my best work when I’m in the comfort of my own home. I use to set up a backdrop in my parent's backyard and photograph my friends. That’s when I had the most fun. I could just explore without the pressure of delivering.

 

Jaimie Milner says

“I think the heart of who we are hasn’t fully been expressed. I’m not even sure if we’ve had time to express our hearts.”

Q.

Describe your work in three words...

A.

Emotional, intimate and heartfelt

 

Q.

What is your creative process?

A.

My creative process is spontaneous. The ideas just come, some implant themselves into my heart and just can’t be shaken. That’s how Gifted came to be. I just woke up one day with this massive pull to photograph black men around me. I think my heart was prepped for years but the idea came in a day. It was something I had to do. It didn’t feel like I had much choice in it. I’m just a vehicle to tell the story, a facilitator.

 

Q.

What draws you to photography?

A.

The intimacy of it. I love how personal it is. The image I capture is literally my perspective. You capture what’s personal to you. I used to think being a photographer wasn’t a big deal, partly because it just came naturally to me, but imagery is insanely powerful. It has the ability to influence and communicate with people unlike anything else. Before there were words people communicated through images so it’s deeply embedded into the way we relate to one another.

 

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

I want to share the heart of people, especially black people. I think today black people have more representation than ever, but there’s still so much to tell. I think the heart of who we are hasn’t fully been expressed. I’m not even sure if we’ve had time to express our hearts. Most of us are just trying to survive. I believe vulnerability is a gift, and I’m hoping to connect people to the beauty of it through my work.

 

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

Psalm 139. I think my greatest desire is to be fully known for the purity of my heart and Psalm 139 so beautifully articulates the depth to which God knows me. There are some days when I feel so unseen and in those moments I’m reminded that God knows me, more than I know myself.

“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence….”

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

Hank Willis Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Bruce Talomon and Awol Erizku

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

Lack of preparation

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

Everything, there’s so much possibility and room for fulfillment and joy, but you have to fight for it.

 

Q.

What influence does modern culture have on your work?

A.

Today’s current culture has a huge affect on my work. There’s such a shallowness in today’s culture, particularly pop culture that drives me crazy. All the selfies and the posing and self-consumption drives me nuts. I just can’t connect to it or understand how that’s fulfilling. I hope to create images that have depth to them, that aren’t just pretty but images that make you feel connected to yourself and to others. I also see a lot of disparity amongst men and women, especially black men and women and it has a huge impact on my work. I want to see a world where we’re thriving together and both feel loved and respected. If there was nothing I wanted to see change, I wouldn’t be doing the work I’m doing so it’s all a blessing.

 

 

Q.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

A.

I draw a lot of inspiration from my mind. My imagination is the biggest source of inspiration because it’s limitless. At the same time, there’s a lot of amazing photographers I draw inspiration from. Irving Penn was one of the first photographers I fell in love with. I loved how intimate and arresting his portraits were.

 

Q.

What is your relationship with social media?

A.

Ha! Horrible...I don’t enjoy it because there’s so much, I don’t know. The more I use it, the more I see it as a powerful tool to tell my story. I’m thankful for it.

 

Q.

What influence does living in Los Angeles have on your work?

A.

A huge one. Everyone is so spread out that it leaves you craving community. If what I wanted to see was all around me, I might not have the drive to create the work I’m creating

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

People lol. I could watch people for hours.

 

About Jaimie Milner

Jaimie Milner discovered photography through a high school elective. While studying the effects of media on identity and working towards a Bachelor’s in Communication at the University of Southern California, she began to establish her own photographic practice. Portraiture is the genre by which she celebrates and works to empower black culture.

 

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About Jaimie Milner

Jaimie Milner is a photographer based in Los Angeles who brings contemporary black life into focus by photographing men unguarded in moments of their life. Built on the want to create a change in perception of the men around her, she has spent the past eight years capturing their lively and talented souls, combining the practice of social commentary and visual art.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT 

Through my work, I aspire to capture, empower and inspire the spirit of the people of the African diaspora. I’m a graduate of the University of Southern California, and I use portrait photography as my primary medium through which to capture the essence of a people and their individual characteristics.

 

In my most recent collection, Gifted, I photograph creative and ingenious Black men in their most natural, unadulterated states and environments. The men photographed are a range of artists, musicians, actors, businessmen, filmmakers, etc, who have garnered recognition and accolades for their work. Most importantly, these men have transcended and combated through their craft, the negative stereotypes and skewed representations of Black men that circulate in society as a result of a very befouled, calamitous and tainted history of African people in the Americas.

 

The purpose of this collection is to honor the creative genius and profound contribution that these men have made to their communities and society as a whole. I firmly believe the visual documentation and exposure of these artists is a display of the strength and beauty of Black men to create and inspire tremendous work despite a period in history of emasculation and social denigration.

 

Gifted, is dedicated to my father, who continues to be the driving influence for my work. His prominent role as a strong, loving and dedicated father helped to shape my perspective of Black men from an early age. Through his example, I came to realize the strength, ingenuity, elegance, and excellence inherent in these men and it is through this lens I efficaciously reveal a very shrouded but profound truth.

BA Communications, USC

 

EDUCATION 

2010

BA Communications, USC

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018

“No Expiration Date” for LA Kitchen, United State of Women Summit, Los Angeles, CA

September 2016 - January 2017

“Gifted”, Residency Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016

“MOPLA x Photo Independent Exhibit”, Artist Corner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Photographer Jaimie Milner
 
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