Valerie J. Bower: ME & YOU (Signed)
Me & You
Valerie J. Bower
Published on the occasion of "ME & YOU" Exhibition By Mirrored Society
Limited Edition of 25
11” x 8.5”
I’ve always made something from nothing. When you don’t have a lot, you’re forced to become creative. The images I take are shot on a Minolta X700 SLR camera that my dad found at a swap meet, a Ricoh point and shoot camera I bought for five dollars at a thrift store, and filters also found at a thrift store. I started shooting with rolls of film I uncovered in a box at a 99 Cent store. Since then, I’m still buying “cheap” film, the lowest priced black and white film I could buy from B&H.
The people and places I photograph also represent “something from nothing”. Growing up in Wilmington, there is not a lot of light at the end of the tunnel, only neighborhoods surrounded by junk yards, warehouses, and refineries; divided into gang territories. After a few years of shooting subjects and themes of what I felt people expected to see, I decided to turn the camera inward and shoot what I know and show the beauty of everyday life in the neighborhood.
The photos in “Me & You” are images of the underrepresented areas of Los Angeles. All shot in my hometown of Wilmington, and similar neighborhoods from South Central to Long Beach, and everywhere in between. “Me & You”, inspired by the song of the same name by Brenton Wood, is an homage to these neighborhoods. A love letter dedicated to all the people living in or coming from areas like these. In my work, I hope they can feel some pride and nostalgia to remind them of home, regardless of where they come from, it is beautiful no matter what people say.
-Valerie J. Bower