For Immediate Release.
Date Insert Here : 05/26/2015
Maria Gagliardi has been a professional photographer for many years. A quick glance through her portfolio shows her to be an artist with a very wide range, encompassing everything from fine art to fashion photography to the famous (Nelly Fertado and Maestro Fresh Wes are just two of the very familiar faces) - all arresting, attention getting images no matter the subject.
But five years ago, Maria turned the eye of her camera in another direction; bringing the viewer into some very different worlds. Creating evocative, sometimes disturbing, but always truthful - and yet beautiful - images of people; she empowers both the viewers and her subjects. Shining a light into sometimes dark corners - through her art, she deepens our understanding about ourselves and our fellow human beings.
The project began when Maria felt the need to photograph something REAL - and human. Not the often contrived, posed photographs of models and celebrities in their best moments, but real people taken in the midst of crisis, or transition. She reached out to many people rarely seen in the world of fine art, and never in a museum exhibit. She photographed a hoarder; a woman that let her boyfriend put his cigarettes out on her back; a rape victim, and many others. Through her lens, the beauty in each of these people comes out, we see their humanity, she forces us to recognize ourselves in them.
Daniela Siggia, who was one of the first people she photographed, says, "It was right after my brain injury and my future was looking pretty bleak. ...She really believes that humanity unites through our tragedies, our frailties and our faults. What she does is hold space for people to tell their truth and accept themselves in an honest way...Maria believes that once you truly accept a negative part of yourself, you can love yourself to transcend it – and she's holding space for people to not only do this for themselves, but hopefully inspire others."
In recent years, the social zietgiest has caught up with Maria. Now we see the occasional billboard or ad campaign reminding us that mental illness can affect anyone, we hear of organizations and activists attempting to reduce the stigma and judgments so often directed at the mentally ill, which often further isolates people and discourages them from seeking out treatments. In this social climate, Maria feels it is important to expand this project into a Gallery exhibit and event, and hopes to attract the attention and participation of potential subjects to photograph, sponsors, and organizations.
It is an excellent opportunity for organizations, businesses, and other potential sponsors who share in the spirit of her mission - to put their name on a worthy, empowering project that will empower those who have lived through mental crisis' and inspire positive community conversation.
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