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Interview - Maryxvi


February, 2017






Photographer ‘MMXVI’ AKA Mary (Instagram tag – @maryxvi) has had her work featured online for the wonderful SUKEBAN magazine. Translating from Japanese, the name for the magazine means GIRL BOSS and features work online and in print of many artists and photographers. Their section, ‘GIRLS BY GIRLS’ is where you can find Mary’s work, along with many other beautiful images of awesome women.

I contacted Mary to find out more about her collaboration with SUKEBAN, and what it means to her to have work featured in such an inclusive feminist magazine.









Sophie
What attracted you to working with a magazine like SUKEBAN in the first place?

Mary
What attracted me to SUKEBAN is the fact that it’s a beautiful, multicultural, femme, artistic and inclusive space. Girls by Girls was especially attractive to me because there are no rules regarding the pictures you submit except that they must be of girls and by girls. I submitted my work to Sukeban one night and got a reply the next morning from Erika saying my work was lovely and Yuki said they would put my pictures up on the site as soon as they could.

Sophie
The subjects in your series for SUKEBAN are all women of colour – what does it mean for you to have your work posted / celebrated by SUKEBAN?
Mary
Honestly, it means a lot to me, because there aren’t many platforms that would be willing to put up an amateur WOC photographer’s work. Especially when the subjects are made up entirely of women of colour. It made me really happy and proud of my pictures and I also found it very encouraging, it made me really excited to do more projects. If there is a platform ready to celebrate your work you are more likely to continue pursuing your craft. It’s like wow there are people out here ready to appreciate your work.

Sophie
As a visual artist, do you think heavily before engaging with people / projects in terms of similar morals and opinions you express?

Mary
For me, I definitely think heavily before engaging with people, I choose my subjects (depending on the project) based on morals and opinions because a lot of the time there is a message behind the images. For example, my ‘#BLACKLIVESMATTER’ series included subjects who were present at the rally. Before taking the photos, and while waiting for the polaroids to develop, we would talk. We would talk about where we came from, why we were there, what we wanted to gain from the experience… etc.

Sophie
What is the beauty in capturing film / polaroid photos vs. high quality digital photos? (And then to upload an analogue image to a digital platform!)

Mary
To me, shooting on film is really like magic. It’s a much more delicate process than shooting digital. Depending on the camera you choose (e.g. I use a Canon A-1 predominantly, which is a manual film camera) there is a lot to learn before you even begin using it. There is a lot of patience required, especially since you can’t see the finished product until you’ve taken the roll of film to be developed. There’s beauty in the struggle of trial and error. The first roll of film I ever got developed was a complete mess (I still laugh about it to this day) but when I look at the photos I take now, I’m really pleased with how far I’ve come. It’s a beautiful way of witnessing your own personal development. In regards to uploading analogue images to a digital platform; I, personally, do this because Instagram is where it’s at!! LOL. As an artist, to make use of opportunities such as being featured on SUKEBAN Magazine, you need to be present on social media platforms such as Instagram because this is how other people predominantly will get to see your work. One of the points included on the instructions of what to do upon submission is to tag everybody involved. This in itself really emphasises the fact that social media plays a big role in the whole process and that is why I choose to upload onto a digital platform.

Sophie
You’ve featured guys in some of your polaroid series AROUND THE WORLD IN 17 SHOTS – do you think your passion for celebrating diversity is about location or is photographing women a priority in your work? (Or both?)

Mary
I think my answer to this is both! Femininity is definitely a priority in my work but regarding my diversity project, location was the main factor in choosing subjects. Because we all attend university in the same northern, post-industrial city and all experience the same feeling of displacement sometimes. Gender wasn’t a main factor in choosing the subjects because we are all minority ethnicities experiencing the same narrative, and that’s the message I was really trying to get across in my project.

Sophie
What’s your thoughts on the power of belonging in an internet society?

Mary
For me it’s actually become very important, the sisterhood that I am part of now through the internet has actually been what has made fantastic opportunities happen for me in real life. Because really it’s a way of finding people similar to you, it’s a starting point. After this you meet in real life and that’s when the real magic happens.

Sophie
What is feminism for you?

Mary
The Feminism I exercise is intersectional and inclusive. It’s representative and truthful. It spans across and is respectful of all cultures. In other words it’s nothing like the mainstream white cis feminism that I always seem to see on the internet.

Sophie
How important is it to see powerhouses such as Erika Bowes and Yuki Haze being out there and publishing digital and printed media in the way that they do?
Mary
It’s very very very important. In using their massive following to create a platform for other creatives to portray their art to the world, they’ve done something really wonderful. It’s given a lot of people, like me, an opportunity that they otherwise would not have. It’s also inspiring because we look up to them as artists and it encourages you to work hard, be passionate and kick ass like them!!

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Find more of Mary's work here.

Find SUKEBAN on Instagram & Web.


Find Erika & Yuki.

SALE ITEMS: Laser Lippy, Who-Can? Toucan! pin, Introvert, Glammed Up, CUNT (both) & Hollywood

︎   ︎   ELLO

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