Misty Keasler

I first came across Misty’s photographs when I worked at Ricco/Maresca gallery (now Hasted/Hunt as far as the photography portion goes.) Born into the anti-abortion and anti-birth control world of communist Romania myself, I was fascinated that she was STILL interested in the vast numbers of children’s orphanages there. Not much was heard after the short period of heightened awareness surrounding the existence of these children and the problems that plague them, which coincided with the fall of socialist block in ’89 during and after the Romanian revolution. A few months passed, and both the news on television screens and headlines in the paper slowly moved away from the shock, horror, and urgency of the orphan situation, to whatever else was occuring closer to home. When Misty came in to show her work at the gallery, I couldn’t help but admire her hunger to tell these children’s stories, and specifically the way she wanted to tell them. She didn’t want to exploit them, shock the viewer into turning away, or shove any message or point of view into the viewer’s face. Instead, she wanted to tell the story she thought she should tell, which simply, was the story that told itself to her once she began photographing. They are quiet images. They are peaceful in their sense of calm, even when showing chaos.

Below are a few examples of a recent project in which Misty photographed a garbage dump in Guatemala. She took two separate trips, each a month long, documenting and visiting the people that inhabit, live, and make their lives in the dump. Countries without the kind of affluence that exists in the United States, don’t have the luxury to ship their trash to other places. Their dumps aren’t closed off and veiled in utter secrecy and surrounded by massive surveilance and security as they are here. Misty was thus able to get in and photograph the garbage itself, and the the people that live in it, as they have no other choice. The photographs are disheartening, and yet inspirational. They are disheartening because of the realization that these conditions do exist for many people. But they are inspiring because they cause awareness, and only with awareness can one do something about the situation in front of them. To see more examples of Misty’s work including many other projects, please visit her website.

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