Artist Biographies : Brinkman, Shannon :
For the last twenty years, Shannon has chosen New Orleans as her home, a place that some people described as the only third world city in America. Most knew New Orleans as the city of Mardi Gras, but Shannon spent her time documenting the other fifty weeks of the year. A city made up of a melting pot of Creoles, Cajuns, African Americans, European Americans, Choctaw Indians and Asians, it had a culture unlike any other city in the country.
Whatever happens with the rebuilding, New Orleans will never be the same. A city made up of the
margins of culture, housing, immigrants and workers, Brinkman's photographs tell us the backstory of New Orleans. This is what went on for fifty weeks of the year, the photogrpahs of "any other day in New Orleans".
Following is Shannon's artist statement prior to hurricane Katrina
Borders are smudged here in New Orleans where the past overlaps the present. I have chosen my home in what some people describe as the only third world city in America. Creoles, Cajuns, African Americans, European Americans, Choctaw Indians, Asians and mixtures of all the races reside here. New Orleans is violent, loving and full of the unexpected. The unexpected is what delights and hold me spellbound. A freedom to cultivate yourself in whatever way you choose, no matter if you are a cigar smoking, androgenous person scantily clad in lingerie or a liberty-loving soul. The people I have befriended are recyclers of yesterday and the now. One of my favorite bands is called the Gas Tank Orchestra whose instruments are discarded automobile gas tanks. Every inch of New Orleans seems to hold some secret. Occasionally, she will set one free and it will appear in one of my photographs. I bike to the Quarter frequently on my 1930\'s cruiser with my Hasselblad looped around my neck searching for the transcendant image. Biking allows me to have a greater intimacy with my environment. I esteem photographers with strong art backgrounds and my actual style is probably the result of many years of drawing and painting. Overall though, painters charge my passions. Form, compostition and a broad tonal range are essential to reflect what I feel inside and out. I am challenged also by documentary photography. I like the surprise of coming upon an intriguing scene, not changing a fraction of it and instead exercising my drawing skills to make the photographs interesting. For years my photographs were not cropped because I felt I needed one control in my life: the fact the border was to be included. Recently, I have let go of this entrapment because edges are superimposed here in New Orleans and I too have learned to enjoy enigmatic grays.
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