Creativity Talks: Pamela Viola

In January, I announced a new feature of my blog: Creativity Talks, short interviews with creative people about what drives them to create, how they work, what advice they might give us, and whatever else comes up…
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Pamela Viola is a photographer and mixed media artist who lives in Old Town Alexandria, not far from me. I met her about 14 years ago, in creative writing classes at Duke University, in North Carolina. I recently reconnected with her.
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About Face

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I’ve been doing test runs with different personas over the last 48-years, looking for aspects of identity I might use. I’ve built internal stories and altered my appearance to help me adapt to new places and people. Despite all the changing around, though, I’ve never wondered WHO I am. Every one of the personas, even those appearing only in a photograph, has been an expression of me. As the late Oliver Sachs said, “We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative — whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a “narrative,” and that this narrative is us, our identities.”
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Opening a Lens on Myself

This story starts when I was very young, before 10 years old. I’m in a darkroom and there is a red light above. My father is holding a small black box that smells very strongly of chemicals and he is showing me how to turn the dial on the top of the box two or three rotations every few minutes or so. Continue reading “Opening a Lens on Myself”