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Collette V Fournier
Spring Valley, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant


ARTIST STATEMENT: Collette V. Fournier ~ Artist’s Statement © Collette Fournier Photography 2018 As a documentary photographer, I work in a series and generally photograph the African American community. Working in a series allows me to revisit genres and to study and focus the camera on my beloved portraiture. Photographs presented for the BRIC portfolio represent an archive that I’ve developed over the years. “VanDerZee” was an early image I made when shooting 35mm black and white photography. “Annie of Creole Gardens”, “Squeegee Man”, “Mike, Lower Ninth Ward”, and “Ms. Alma Series” represent my body of work on “Post Hurricane Katrina” documented in 2007. The Post Katrina series was produced from a Kamoinge/Soros Institute fellowship. I was in full control of that shoot and rated it the best shoot ever. I researched, interviewed and photographed the victims of Hurricane Katrina for two weeks. I worked closely with New Orleans organizations and an artist colleague Mouton from RIT who lived in Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans. My father’s paternal family hailed from Louisiana thus the Hurricane Katrina project was very personal to me. I’ve been documenting the Caribbean since 1972. Having maternal grandparents from Guyana, South America, traveling to The Caribbean was my way of connecting with my roots. The Caribbean series developed into an Artist In Residence grant in 1982 includes “One Way to JA”. After spending eight weeks in Jamaica those images that I processed, printed and framed were incorporated into a one-woman exhibition entitled “Jamaica Runnings” at the Eisenhart Museum and Science Center Gallery, Rochester, NY in October 1984. While shooting for about…time magazine (1983-1988) in Rochester, NY, I researched “A Ripple of Thunder” with writer/researcher Adolph Dupree. “Wink” and travels to document Black Motorcycle Clubs in America was one of many images from that series. “A Ripple of Thunder!” A multimedia documentation of black motorcyclists in America, with writer Adolph Dupree was exhibited at Pyramid Gallery, 1986; CEPA Gallery 1987; The exhibition was recognized in CEPA Winter/Spring Quarterly 1988 as best of show. Having documented Senegal and Mali, W. Africa in 1987-1988 it became apparent that the Caribbean was my stepping stone to Africa. I produced “Faces and Places of W. Africa”, a multi-media production of that experience with voiceover and sound effects. In 2007, 2010 and 2017, I visited Ghana, Togo and Benin. “African Horses”, “Atlantic Ocean”, “Chains and Candles”, “Elmina Castle”, “Squeegee Man”, “Ghana Women”, “Poverty in Africa”, “Queen Mother Ceremony”, “Queen Mother Monica” have been become signature photos from my travels. After the glory days of graduate school 2001-2003, I transitioned into digital photography in 2005 which led me to discover the scanner as another tool where I could incorporate mixed media of varying dimensions. I developed The Digital Family Series and one of my early images was “Roy Hargrove, Trumpeter”. That series developed into “African American Women in the Visual Arts”, using cowrie shells natural materials and fabric. I plan to revisit the “African American Women in the Visual Arts” theme. “Sankofa Six” is a representation of the Amistad Series: From Mystic Seaport to Nova Scotia, a project on the re-creation of The Amistad that I documented from 1999-2007. My latest project is “From the Old Neighborhood”, a project I’m just flushing out. I’m exploring transfer materials again and see a whole new wealth of imagery in creation.

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